Tamil Nadu

Madras HC directs UIDAI to share 35 Aadhaar card details with ‘Q’ Branch-CID

Madras High Court. File

Madras High Court. File

In a significant order, the Madras High Court has directed Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to furnish to ‘Q’ Branch-Criminal Investigation Department (CID) the ‘identity information’ related to 35 Aadhaar cards reportedly issued to Sri Lankan nationals.

Justice G. Jayachandran allowed a petition filed by the Deputy Superintendent of Police, ‘Q’ Branch-CID, Chennai city and directed the Deputy Director of UIDAI in Bengaluru to share the information within three weeks since it was required for investigation of crime.

The judge agreed with Government Advocate (criminal side) S. Santhosh that the UIDAI was not justified in refusing to part with the information on the ground of infringing the right to privacy and by citing Supreme Court’s verdict in the famous Justice K.S. Puttaswamy’s case.

“The intention of the petitioner herein [‘Q’ Branch-CID] is primarily to ascertain whether the Aadhaar cards seized by them in the course of the investigation are genuine or not and thereafter to ascertain on what basis those Aadhaar Cards were issued to foreign nationals.

“Furnishing these details have not been prohibited by the judgment of the honourable Supreme Court... It does not amount to disclosure of the privacy details of any individual but only to probe whether there is any such individual at all,” the judge observed in his order.

He also pointed out that a 2019 amendment made to Section 33(1) of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act of 2016 empowers the High Court to order disclosure of information including the identity and authentication information of Aadhaar Card holders.

“If the Aadhaar card itself is not genuine, it is open to the respondent to inform the petitioner herein that the Aadhaar Card is a fake document and not issued by them. By refusing to furnish the details sought for by the investigating agency, which is permissible under law, the due process of investigation of a serious crime gets stale,” the judge wrote.

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Printable version | Jun 20, 2022 11:28:03 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/madras-hc-directs-uidai-to-share-35-aadhaar-card-details-with-q-branch-cid/article65375275.ece