Soon, the citizens may have the option to opt-out of Aadhaar and withdraw their biometrics and the data as the government following a proposal by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) begins move to amend the Aadhaar Act, 2016, to include an opt-out clause.
As per a news report in The Hindu, the government is in the last stages of finalizing a proposal to amend the Aadhaar Act, 2016.
The initial proposal prepared by the UIDAI submitted that “once a child turns 18, he/she will be given six months to decide if he/she wants to withdraw,” a senior official said.
This proposal was sent to the Law Ministry for vetting. “The Ministry further recommended that the option to withdraw be made available to all citizens, and not be limited to a particular group,” the official added.
The development comes after the Supreme Court judgment on September 26, 2018, upholding the validity of Aadhaar but junking Section 57 of the Act, which allowed private entities to use the unique identification number for verification.
The apex court had also declared linking of the unique number with bank accounts and SIM cards as unconstitutional. However, the court had upheld the linkage of PAN with Aadhaar. Hence, the proposal, which will now be sent to the Cabinet, is likely to benefit only those who do not have a PAN card or do not require one.
The cabinet note is expected to come up in the next 1-2 months.
Further, in line with the court order, the proposal seeks to appoint an adjudicating officer to decide whether a person’s Aadhaar-related data need to be disclosed in the interest of national security.
The court had also struck down Section 33(2) of the Act, which allowed disclosure of Aadhaar information for national security reasons on the orders of an officer not below Joint Secretary. It had said an officer above Joint Secretary should consult a judicial officer and together take a call.