The Union Cabinet on 28 February (2019) approved the promulgation of an ordinance to make establishing identity through Aadhaar voluntary unless required by a law made by the Parliament.
The Ordinance makes amendments to the Aadhaar Act 2016 to “provide for voluntary use of Aadhaar number in physical or electronic form by authentication or offline verification with the consent of Aadhaar number holder...The amendments would enable UIDAI to have a more robust mechanism to serve the public interest and restrain the misuse of Aadhaar.”
Also, to protect privacy, citizens can use twelve-digit Aadhaar number and its alternative virtual identity to conceal their actual Aadhaar number.
“The amendments also permit the entities to perform authentication only when they are compliant with the standards of privacy and security specified by the Authority; and the authentication is permitted under any law made by Parliament or is prescribed to be in the interest of State by the Central Government,” added a government release.
In Line With SC’s Judgement
The 26 Septemebr (2018) SC Judgement held the Aadhaar Act to be constitutionally valid. However, it made the use of Aadhaar to establish identity to avail government services voluntary unless otherwise specified by the Parliament. The new Ordinance is also in consonance with Justice B N Srikrishna committee on data protection.
Though Lok Sabha passed Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018 in January 2019, it could not be taken up by Rajya Sabha. Hence the need to move the Ordinance.
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