Transformative Bill

Aadhar Amendment Bill: A Transformative Bill

Articles, News

The government on 2nd January 2019 has introduced Aadhar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill 2018 for modification in the existing Aadhar Act, 2016 to tune with the judgement of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in K.S Puttaswamy v Union of India.

The government on 2nd January 2019 has introduced Aadhar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill 2018 for modification in the existing Aadhar Act, 2016 to tune with the judgement of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in K.S Puttaswamy v Union of India.

The constitution bench of SC on 26th September 2018 upheld the constitutional validity of the Aadhar Act by the majority of 4:1 along with specifying certain restrictions and changes that were required to be made in the act.

The major move by the court was striking down Aadhar card as a mandatory identity for getting mobile connections and bank accounts and have made it a voluntary choice of the public. This clause has been included in the amendment bill. The compulsory use of Aadhar based KYC for mobile connections and bank accounts was also prohibited by the court.

The bill has been tabled by Union Minister for Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad in Lok Sabha. The Bill permits enrolment of children to the scheme with the consent of their parents or guardian at that time and has also got a provision where children may seek cancellation of their Aadhar number on attaining majority.

These were the explicit directions made by the apex court to the government for bringing in the modifications in the Aadhar Act,2016.

Other Salient Features of the Bill are-

  • Offline verification- The bill permits the offline verification of Aadhar number for identification instead of the electronic authentication as per the present act.
  • Virtual ID- The bill proposes the change in the definition of ‘Aadhar number’ and to include ‘virtual ID’ in addition to the twelve digit number on the card.
  • Amendment in section 33(1) of the Act for changing the authority to order disclosure of Aadhar information from ‘District Judge’ to ‘High court Judge’.
  • The bill states that the Aadhar number holder has a right to be heard before the order for disclosure of Aadhar information.
  • The Secretary has competent authority to issue an order of disclosure of Aadhar information for the interest of national security, the bill thus proposes an amendment in section 33(2) from ‘Joint Secretary’ to ‘Secretary’.
  • There cannot be the denial of services because of failure of authentication.
  • Imposition of stricter civil penalties for hampering with Aadhar information.
  • TDSAT has been made appellate authority for considering civil actions and SC to be the appellate authority from TDSAT orders.
  • The omission of section 57

The Bill proposes amendments in Indian Telegraph Act,1855 and Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The introduction of the bill has been done for filling up the gaps in the present act and to abide by the directions of the Supreme Court of India.

The discussion on the bill is still in place with the Lok Sabha but passing the bill will reframe the Aadhar Act,2016 for a better and beneficial one.

By- Tanishka Grover
Student Reporter, INBA

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