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Aadhar card: scope,misuse, compromise

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Aadhar card is a 12 digit identification number issued by the concerned authority on behalf of the government of India. This number, also known as Unique Identity Number(UID), is linked with a number of demographic and biometric details. Any individual, of any age and gender, who is a resident of India, may by its own will and choice enroll to the obtainAadhaar number. Aadhaar card comprises of some important features such as the name of the individual, Father/Mother’s name, Date of Birth, Sex, address of the individual and biometric features such as photographs, fingerprints, and iris (eye) details. Issues have arisen that the government and agencies deny benefits to the consumers if adhaar not produced to them.

Apart from the issues with the establishment of adhaar various new things catering to the society has cropped up allowed the government to directly transfer social benefits to the person under various schemes, people who have been socially excluded now by having aaadhar can access various social benefits too. There has been a very wide controversy onadhaar in relation to hampering/violating the right to privacy of the individual for the simple reason for not having any formal statute/legislation. The UIDAI is also not responsible to the parliament if there is a failure in the system. There are so many private people who have engaged themselves in issuing adhaar even before the database goes to the CIDR. The threat to the right to privacy was that the UIDAI can share the biometric information of the citizens with the other government agencies.It was also assumed that by usage of biometric data, individuals can be tracked, harassed etc.

The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016 was passed by the Lok Sabha. Subsequently, the Bill was returned by the Rajya Sabha with five key amendments, but these were not taken into consideration and therefore Lok Sabha passed it as a Money Bill. TheAadhaar bill basically plans to use the identification number issued by the unique identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to provide subsidies of the state directly to the beneficiaries.The government has now made obligatory for every citizen of India to have an Anuradha card and also provided a precondition of providing services or social benefits after fulfillment for the same this condition was not mandatory earlier when the Aadhar bill of 2016was passed. SCOPE OF AADHAR The government of India has attached the Aadhaar card with various schemes and services provided, like subsidies for cooking gas, scholarship for schools, passports, bank accounts under the scheme of Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana(PMJDY), provident funds account,pensions, driving license, insurance policies, waiving loans, ATM Cash Transaction,reservation of railways, for PAN (Permanent Account Number) card, and income tax returns,mobile sim etc.

The recent news suggested that even UGC (University Grants Commission)has made it mandatory for the universities to include a photograph and Aadhaar number on the mark sheet as well as on the certificates. The reason is to improve consistency and transparency. The question as to whether the policies and schemes have caused a hindrance and violated the right to privacy of the citizens will have to be compared with its beneficiary impacts and prevention of corruption and other malpractices from the public before judging the nature of the scheme. After all greater good is a widely accepted principle in law of land. For this purpose we have divided various schemes of mandatory aadhar linking which may have a direct and indirect effect on the lifestyle of the public, according to which, a) Indian railwaysIndia railway is the only public sector in India which so far does not have the involvement of any private sector participation. As a matter of fact, the government is trying to improvise itsservice technology. The place where the individual had to go to the railway’s counters and wait for hours for any mode of support like reservation, inquiry, booking can now be done with one touch through the introduction of technologies such as Indian railways tourism and corporation ltds (IRTC).

Through this app, the public can book the tickets by sitting at home via online procedures.The most important concern via filling up the form for reservation of the ticket the individual is to fill up details like name, address, date of birth, mobile number, email id etc and then the person can either get a print out of the same or getting an SMS for the same too. But the most glaring factor of an hour is anyone can misuse this type of facility they can misuse the mobile number of the person for fraudulently travelling free of cost how would a person be identified in this manner so the government has basically now taken an initiative to provide the aadhaar number which on the trial basis for 3 months and also shows the aadhar to the concerned checking authority along with the SMS received. But this is notenough to prevent the fraudent acts of the individuals for more security some of the moreinitiatives would be taken on the platform by the government for the same.In a way, it can be concluded that for the security of the nation linking is necessary but what about those who are not residents of India. In the end, Aadhar represents a uniqueIndeentification Card for the residents or citizens thus foreigners who visit India would not able to travel by train. And it has been said that a travel in the luxury trains in India like royal Rajasthan on Wheel, Palace on Wheels etc., this can have an adverse effect on our tourism sector.b) bank accounts all know that the provisions for mandatory aadhar and linking were implemented recently, many may call it the dictatorship rule or arbitrariness of the ruling government. In the present scenario where the government has made it compulsory for all the individuals to link these aadhar number with their bank account non linked accounts holders and accounts are treated not existing.

Indeed this is done to curb the black money conversions in the binaminames and to curb the opening infinite number of accounts by a single person in the same bank with the purpose of depositing of a large amount of cash. Speaking from personal experience as a law student while I was doing my internship there was a person who had 14bank accounts and each account with a different name and with a huge sum of money.

Now the most glaring factor is from where the money is coming the business does not give so much of returns so by assumption it is a black money or the person is involved in some illegal business. So to curb such fraudulent acts of the people the linking of aadhar will allow the government to inquire into the occupation of the person to know how much returns the person is getting and also will help to know the number of accounts of the person which he/she has opened in various other banks.c) Liquefied Petroleum Gas Distributing agenesis: Earlier as we know that linking of aadhar was not mandatory to obtain subsidies for the same by the citizens but the government in the recent scenario has made compulsory to provide certain incentives on cooking gas for the household by proving subsidies for the same. Andfor this reason in order to obtain this linking of aadhar is an important creiteria and theprocedure for providing subsidies would directly go into the banks of the concerned person intheir account which would lead to less practice of fraudulent means. d) Public Distribution System (PDS) PDS was implemented in India in 1965 for the poor people who can have the food deliveredat a low cost or free of cost. In fact, the government bought the food grains from the farmer at procurement price and sell the food grains through the PDS.

In 1997, the universal PDSsystem (where each and every one was eligible, even rich people can opt for PDS for low costfood grains) was abolished, and the entire country was divided into two parts, APL (AbovePoverty Line) and BPL (Below Poverty Line). Now, only BPL citizens are only allowed tohave an access to the PDS at low or free of cost 26. Recently the government has a linkedAadhaar card with the PDS system to overcome the frauds. The major reason to implementAadhaar based PDS system is that there was an increase in the number of ‘Rice Mafia’, people who just use the rice from the government using fake ID’s and sell it outside to someone else for profit 27. It is to be noticed that in previous PDS, each citizen with ration card wereallotted with specific FPS (Fair Price Shop) or ration shops.

However linking of Aadhaar card provides the access of any nearby FSP’s or Ration Shops) foreign travelThe Times of India in its report stated in the year 2017 that next year that is 2018 that airports authority of India(a) will implement the government programme that is DIGI YATRA as one of the most important projects in the coming year of 2018 from basically three airports as per report stating that is Kolkata, Ahmedabad, and Vijayawada and then would implement in other airports of the cities.in this system of linking aadhar flyers have to use the biometrics in order to prove their identity in order to enter the terminal in this way their Aadhaar-linked airline database will show which flight they have booked and also linked airport databases will show they have been security screened and allowed access to boarding gate closer to the flight departure time. These three steps would subsequently exclude the need to show paperID cards, paper tickets and boarding cards. AAI chairman said that this solution provides thepassenger an option to enter aadhar number while booking the tickets.f) Mobile Number.As we all know that earlier before making the aadhar card linkage mandatory there are millions of people in the country like India would have access to buying of the new sim by showing very lenient documents without any problem. So of course by stating, the above facts people would and did, of course, indulged in the so-called impersonation, misuse of the number with an illegal intention to fraud anyone. But as we all know the government of the countrywould not see this mishap happening quietly had played a very smart move by linking theaadhar card with the mobile numbers of the person so thst it can easily trace the true identityof the individual if some mishap happens for that matter.

Protection of data and right to privacyLoopholes attatched to aadhar card as linking it with various services of the governmentAadhar Card has been a highlighted news recently for a lot of controversial reasons.manyaadhar card holders feel that the compulsory policy launched by the government thatbasically asked Indian citizens to link their aadhar card number with their bank accounts andPAN Card was a direct violation of their Legislative Right to Privacy.The loopholes in the aadhar card are as follows MISUSE OF bank details As radar makes obligatory for the Indians to link their bank account with the aadhar card, it can lead to some serious problem if users bank details are not protected and leaked or misused in any of the ways

COMPROMISING with the right to privacy of the citizens. Aadhar holds bio-metric data and residential information of each individual in the country. Now according to the government rules, the information is linked with the bank accounts of all the individuals including voter Id, PAN card etc. The assumption is made if all the user information is leaked or used for improper purposes by the government. We will not be able to refuse that the majority of the Government officers are corrupt and won’t mind manipulating the individual information for some extra income. Not an easy process to use/the usage is uneasy more than 30% population in India is not educated, and because of illiteracy, it is difficult for them to understand or operate properly by using an aadhar card. As we all know a country like India which is a developing one, of course, comprises of several rural areas where aadharcard centers or offices are not established. Not allowing these rural people from having an identity proof there have been multiple cases come up in which implementing aadhar had faced problems. The main purpose is to discuss the cases. According to The Times of India, there was a controversy on aadhar in which the Aadhaar card was being considered invalid on multiple grounds. The case was there was a senior citizen who got his card without any problem, but the problem cropped up when he got the Aadhaar card stating the ‘Year of Birth’ instead of ‘Date of Birth’ which was taken to be invalid.

Subsequently the Secretary of State (Mumbai) IT Department considered it to be valid as the senior citizens who were born before the year 1989, can use Year of Birth as they didn’t have the provision for birth certificate during that period of time. Recently, Aadhaar has been made mandatory to be linked with PAN card, since then various cases of mismatching names on PAN card and Aadhaar card have also been reported 44. The main reason is that Aadhaar does not require to disclose the name of the citizen without initials whereas the PAN requires the disclosure of full name with the initials. Because of this, many people are unable to link PAN with Aadhaar card. As per the finance act 2017, Aadhaar is made compulsory for applying a fresh PAN application and for filing Income Tax returns. The government is also saying that the existing PAN would be canceled if Aadhaar has not been linked with it; the reason is to regulate the escape of taxation and exclude multiple PAN’s. In this, the linkage of Aadhaar to PAN is a good initiative but name of Aadhaar card has not paid much attention while implementing this project. Though such types of problems are occurring, it is to be noticed that Income Tax department made mandatory to link Aadhaar card with bank accounts by 30 April 2017 to self-certify them to comply with FACTA (Foreign Tax Compliance Act) regulations 44.3.3 Lack of Awareness There are many cases where the security threats are due to the lack of awareness in the people.

The objective of this section is to discuss such cases. Recently it has been observed by the UIDAI that there are various e-commerce websites who are charging to print Aadhaar data on a plastic card 48. In fact, some entities were charging Rs.50 to Rs.200 and making fool of the customers stating that Aadhaar printed on the plastic card are said to be ‘Smart Card’. However, UIDAI has stated that “There is no such concept called Smart Card, and Aadhaar data printed on a normal sheet of paper is enough as a proof.” It cautioned the Government as the websites may not be only interested in this scheme but the sensitive data in the hands of the e-commerce website can be misused. Therefore UIDAI warned several e-commerce websites like E-Bay, Flipkart, Amazon etc. that printing Aadhaar card on the plastic card and charging for it is a punishable offence, and the e-commerce firms are liable to pay for it and may lead to imprisonment too under the IPC (Indian Penal Code), and also under Chapter VI of Aadhaar Act (Aadhaar Act 2016) which states that “The Authority shall take all necessary measures to ensure that the information in the possession or control of the Authority, including information stored in the CIDR (Central Identities Data Repository), is secured and protected against access, use or disclosure not permitted under this Act or regulations made thereunder, and against accidental or intentional destruction, loss or damage”.

Also, according to the sources of India Times 49, UIDAI asked the Play store to take down 12 of the fraudulent applications which violated Aadhaar act 2016. UIDAI stated that the application owners without the permission of UIDAI were giving the services like downloading Aadhaar card, generating Aadhaar statuses like service which led them to get the access to user’s sensitive data and enrolment number. It is also to be noticed that UIDAI has not authorized any of these firms to extend any Aadhaar related services.

Therefore UIDAI asked the Google play store to shut down all those applications. Further, a warning was also given to using the Aadhaar logo in any of the application, which is again illegal according to theAadhaar Act and Copyright Act. 4 Supreme Court of India’s Findings Aadhaar card is a major concern for the nation which led the Supreme Court of India interferes. The objective of this section is to present the findings of the court. On 20th November of 2012, the legislative and the state knocked the door of Supreme Court of India where the court observes the arguments against National Identification Authority of India Bill2010 which possibly overlaps the Article 73 of Constitution of India which states “Extent of the executive power of the Union, states that, Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the executive power of the Union shall extend to the matters with respect to which Parliament has the power to make laws and to the exercise of such rights, authority and jurisdiction as are exercisable by the Government of India by virtue of any treaty or agreement”. On 23rd September of 2013, the Supreme Court of India held by three-judge bench ordered that the Central Govt. cannot refuse to give subsidies to the person who does not possess an Aadhaar card.

Therefore, the court admitted that Aadhaar is voluntary but not mandatory. But in 2016, the Supreme Court of India extended the use of Aadhaar Card to MGNREGA, pension schemes, EPF (Employee Provident Fund) and PMJDY though Aadhaar was first only restricted to Cooking Gas subsidies and PDS distribution system. On 7th February of 2017, the Supreme Court of India ordered to link mobile number with Aadhaar card as well as reminds that the government cannot make Aadhaar mandatory for welfare schemes. It is to be noticed that in January 2017-March 2017 alone the government of India has made possession of an Aadhaar card mandatory for availing over 30 central schemes.

On 27th March 2017, the court again reiterated that government cannot make Aadhaar mandatory for welfare schemes 30. However, the court has not stopped the government to make Aadhaar mandatory for other schemes. Recently Supreme Court of India has also started hearing on a batch of petitions challenging Section 139AA of Income Tax Act which made mandatory linking of Aadhaar with IT Returns. Senior Advocate Aravind Datar argued that the Section 139AA of Income Tax Act is contrary to the orders of the Supreme Court, and further the section violates Article14 and 19(1)(g) of the constitution of India. A similar type of petition was also filed by the former Kerala minister and CPI leader Binoy Viswam stating that section 139 AA(1) is ‘illegal and subjective’ and violates Article 14 and Article 21 of Constitution of India 50.

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