Aadhaar Amendment Bill 2019

The Lok Sabha has passed the Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019.

Features of the Bill
  • The bill provides for offline verification of an individual’s identity through modes specified by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) by regulations.
  • For the offline verification, the bill mandates the agency must obtain the consent of the individual, inform them of alternatives to sharing information, and not collect, use or store Aadhaar number or biometric information.
  • The Bill provides for an individual to voluntarily use his Aadhaar number to establish his identity, by authentication or offline verification.
  • The Bill also empowers the parliament to make Aadhaar authentication of an individual’s identity mandatory for the provision of any service by law.
  • The Bill amends the Telegraph Act, 1885 and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 to authorise persons with a license to maintain a telegraph, banking companies and financial institutions to verify the identity of their clients by: (i) authentication or offline verification of Aadhaar, (ii) passport, or (iii) any other documents notified by the central government.  However, the client has the choice to use either mode to verify his identity. The bill states that no person shall be denied any service for not having an Aadhaar number.
  • Under the bill, an entity may be allowed to perform authentication through Aadhaar, if the UIDAI is satisfied that it is: (i) compliant with certain standards of privacy and security, or (ii) permitted by law, or (iii) seeking authentication for a purpose specified by the central government in the interest of the State.
  • At the time of enrolling a child to obtain an Aadhaar number, the enrolling agency shall seek the consent of his parent or guardian and inform parent or guardian about the manner in which the information will be used.  After attaining eighteen years of age, the child may apply for cancellation of his Aadhaar.
  • The bill provides that the disclosure is pursuant to an order of High Court (or above) and also allows disclosure on directions of officers not below the rank of a Secretary.
  • The bill creates the Unique Identification Authority of India Fund to which all fees, grants, and charges received by the UIDAI shall be credited. The fund shall be used for expenses of the UIDAI, including salaries and allowances of its employees.
  • The Bill allows the individual to register complaints in certain cases, including impersonation or disclosure of their identity.
  • The bill empowers UIDAI to initiate a complaint against an entity in the Aadhaar ecosystem for failure to (i) comply with the Act or the UIDAI’s directions, and (ii) furnish information required by the UIDAI.
  • The bill provides Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal as an appellate authority against decisions of the Adjudicating Officer.

The bill intends to replaces an Ordinance promulgated on March 2, 2019.

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