The Aadhaar Act, 2016
The Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSPs) of Indian Constitution mandates government to provide various kinds of welfare measures to the people. These initiatives like old age pension, scholarships, food supply at cheap prices suffered from issues of leakages in absence of proper universal identification tool. Aadhaar initiative uses the advancements in technical fields to sort out the legacy issues of exclusion, corruption and provide many other ancillary benefits. The Aadhaar Act gives statutory backing to whole process.
The Act intends to provide for targeted delivery of subsidies and services to individuals residing in India by assigning them unique identity numbers, called Aadhaar numbers.
• Every resident shall be entitled to obtain an Aadhaar number. A resident is a person who has resided in India for 182 days, in the one year preceding the date of application for enrolment for Aadhaar.
• To obtain an Aadhaar number, an individual has to submit his, (i) biometric (photograph, finger print, iris scan) and (ii) demographic (name, date of birth, address) information.
• The key functions of the UID authority include, (i) specifying demographic and biometric information to be collected during enrolment, (ii) assigning Aadhaar numbers to individuals, (iii) authenticating Aadhaar numbers, and (iv) specifying the usage of Aadhaar numbers for delivery of subsidies and services.
• The UID authority will consist of a chairperson, two part-time members and a chief executive officer. The chairperson and members are required to have experience of at least ten years in matters such as technology, governance, etc.
• iometric information such as an individual’s finger print, iris scan and other biological attributes (specified by regulations) will be used only for Aadhaar enrolment and authentication, and for no other purpose.
• In two cases, information may be revealed:
a) In the interest of national security, a Joint Secretary in the central government may issue a direction for revealing, (i) Aadhaar number, (ii) biometric information (iris scan, finger print and other biological attributes specified by regulations), (iii) demographic information, and (iv) photograph. Such a decision will be reviewed by an Oversight Committee (comprising Cabinet Secretary, Secretaries of Legal Affairs and Electronics and Information Technology) and will be valid for six months.
b) On the order of a court, (i) an individual’s Aadhaar number, (ii) photograph, and (iii) demographic information, may be revealed.
• A person may be punished with imprisonment upto three years and minimum fine of Rs 10 lakh for unauthorised access to the centralized data-base, including revealing any information stored in it.
• No court shall take cognizance of any offence except on a complaint made by the UID authority or a person authorised by it.