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Bill to allow voluntary use of Aadhaar ID introduced

Union Law and Justice Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad speaks in the Lok Sabha during Winter Session of Parliament in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Union Law and Justice Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad speaks in the Lok Sabha during Winter Session of Parliament in New Delhi on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday introduced a Bill in the Lok Sabha that will provide legal backing for voluntary seeding of biometric Aadhaar ID with mobile numbers and bank accounts after the Supreme Court barred mandatory use of the 12-digit unique identifier by private firms.

‘No privacy violation’

He said the proposed amendment Bill was in compliance with the Supreme Court’s judgment and that there would be no infringement of privacy.

He also said the government was ready with a data protection Bill and it would soon be introduced. “It [the linking] is voluntary and not mandatory at all,” Mr. Prasad said. The parallel authentication norms were there to safeguard privacy, he added. Objections were raised by Shashi Tharoor of the Congress, Saugata Roy of the Trinamool and N.K. Premachandran of the RSP.

Opposing the Bill, Mr. Roy said the proposed amendments infringe the Supreme Court judgment. He said it should have been introduced after consulting the stakeholders and asked that “the Bill not be introduced.”

Call to withdraw Bill

Mr. Tharoor said it violated the ruling that held the right to privacy to be a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution. “The Bill is premature because first we need enactment of data protection law. Where is the draft data protection law? The Bill must be withdrawn and revised,” he said. His colleague from Kerala, Mr. Premachandran endorsed his views.

Calling these apprehensions as ‘misplaced,’ the Bill to amend the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 and another Bill to amend the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 and Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002 were introduced in the House amid protests by members of the AIADMK and the TDP over various issues.

The two Acts are being changed to allow voluntary sharing of the 12-digit identification number for obtaining new mobile phone connections and for the opening of bank accounts.

Under the proposed changes, an Aadhaar holder can opt for offline verification using a QR scan and will not require to share the actual Aadhaar number.

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Printable version | Aug 6, 2020 12:32:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/govt-introduces-amendment-to-make-linking-of-aadhaar-voluntary-in-lok-sabha/article25889847.ece

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