The High Court of Karnataka has directed the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to furnish information and documents submitted for securing Aadhaar by 12 Bangladesh nationals, some of whom are already convicted in a gang rape case, and some are facing trial in human trafficking and illegal immigration cases before a trial court in the city.
Justice Krishna S. Dixit issued the directions to the UIDAI while allowing a petition filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
The NIA had approached the court as UIDAI had declined to provide the information and documents sought for, as Section 33 mandates that confidential information/ authentication documents, which are prohibited from being revealed, can be disclosed in certain cases only by an order of the court not inferior to a judge of the High Court.
While directing UIDAI to hand over all the documents and information, the court also directed NIA not use such details for any purpose alien to investigation of the offences and prosecution of the offenders.
The NIA had sought details of Ashraful Mondal alias Ashraful Islam, Sobuj Shaik, Hridoy Babo alias Rifadul Islam Ruda, Rakibul Islam Sagar , Mohammad Babu, Rafsan Mondal alias Alami Hussain, Samit alias Dailm Ahamed Jillion, Mohammad Azim Choryor, Mohammad Jamal, Raihan Shaik, Rasul Khan, and Rocky Khan.
They were arrested in June last year from a rented house in Ramamurthynagar police station limits after a video of gang-rape of a Bangladeshi woman went viral in Bangladesh and in Assam.
While a sessions court convicted some of them in May 2022 for gang rape based on the chargesheet filed by the city police, NIA, which took over the investigation on human trafficking and illegal immigration, filed a chargesheet against all of them.
The NIA, which expanded the scope of investigation to a larger conspiracy, sought information and documents from UIDIA for ascertaining the genuineness of the information and documents that led to generation of Aadhaar.
The High Court said that UIDAI was required to provide the details as NIA was probing the case that related to cross-border human trafficking and forcing vulnerable women from Bangladesh to prostitution in India by creating fake identification documents.
The court also pointed out that the Aadhaar Act, 2016, only mandated the court to hear the UIDAI before granting permission to provide confidential details; and there was no such compulsion in the Act to hear the persons concerned whose information was sought. “Insisting upon consent of the persons whose information is sought for, can be metaphorically equated to mosquitoes insisting upon consent for combat against malaria,” the court observed.
All 12 Bangladesh nationals are at present lodged in Bengaluru Central Prison but they did not respond to the court’s notice.