Aadhaar may soon be optional.
The Central government is finalising an amendment to Aadhaar Act that would allow citizens to withdraw their Aadhaar number, including biometrics and data if they so wish, said a report in The Hindu.
The move follows the Supreme Court’s Constitution bench judgment in September that upheld the validity of Aadhaar but struck down Section 57 of the Act that allows private entities to use the unique number for verification.
The Bench also held that seeking to link Aadhaar with bank accounts and SIM cards was unconstitutional.
About the change to the Act being considered, The Hindu quoted a senior official as saying, “The initial proposal was prepared by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). It submitted that once a child turns 18, he/she will be given six months to decide if he/she wants to withdraw.”
The proposal had been 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 told The Hindu.
However, the proposal, which will be sent to the Cabinet, is likely to benefit only those who do not have a PAN card or do not require one, as the court had upheld the linkage of PAN with Aadhaar.
Over 37.50 crore PANs have been issued till March 12, 2018. Of these, the number of PANs issued to individuals stood at more than 36.54 crore, of which about 16.84 crore have been linked with Aadhaar.
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), 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.