The provision of Aadhaar is not mandatory for the registration of births and deaths, the Registrar General of India (RGI) has clarified in a recent reply to an RTI request. If Aadhaar is provided voluntarily, it must not be printed on any document or stored in any database of births and deaths in full form, according to an RGI circular cited in the RTI response.
Visakhapatnam-based advocate M.V.S. Anil Kumar Rajagiri had filed an RTI request asking whether Aadhaar was mandatory for the registration of death or not. In its reply last week, posted on Twitter by LiveLaw, the RGI referred to an April 2019 circular to clarify that “the requirement of Aadhaar number is not mandatory for the registration of birth and death.”
It noted that registration of births and deaths was done under the Registration of Births and Deaths (RBD) Act, 1969, which was a Central law. “However, the implementation of the provisions of the said Act lies with the State/UT governments,” it added.
Supreme Court judgment
In 2017, the RGI had decreed that Aadhaar number would be required for the purpose of establishing the identity of the deceased for the purpose of death registration. However, a 2018 Supreme Court judgment changed the situation.
In its 2019 circular, the RGI noted that “the portion of Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act which enables body corporate and individual to seek authentication was held to be unconstitutional” by the Supreme Court. The RBD Act also had no provision “which permits the use of Aadhaar for establishing the identity of an individual for the purpose of registration of birth and death”, it said.
The circular was sent to the Chief Registrars of births and deaths of all States directing them to ensure that local registering authorities did not demand Aadhaar as a mandatory requirement. They could accept Aadhaar as one of the acceptable documents, if provided on a voluntary basis. However, the first eight digits of the Aadhaar number were to be masked with black ink. The full number was not to be stored in any database of births and deaths or printed on any document, added the circular.