Aadhaar Bill Passed In Lok Sabha For Voluntary Linkage

The Lok Sabha passed a bill to voluntary link the aadhaar with mobile phone numbers and bank accounts.

The passed bill amends three laws to provide legal support to the government’s decision to link aadhaar. Many opposition leaders have claimed that the amendment bill infringes Supreme Court’s order.

The Supreme Court to India upheld the validity of Aadhaar with certain restrictions. It ruled out the mandatory linking of Aadhaar, baring private entities from using the 12-digit number for customer authentication.

The top court struck down sections of the Aadhaar act citing privacy concerns.

However the bill now will be voluntary and customers who do not want to use Aadhaar for authentication can use other documents.

Also individual unwilling to share Aadhaar information cannot be denied services like opening a bank account or obtaining a mobile phone SIM card. Other government documents like Passport, Voter ID, PAN Card or driving licence for authentication are still valid.

The aadhaar draft amendment bill permits offline verification of Aadhaar number holders through QR codes instead of any biometric verification.

The amendment bill proposes to penalise third-party firms for violating Aadhaar authentication rules. Penalty of up to INR₹ 1 crore can be imposed on entities that violate provisions related to authenticating customers using Aadhaar without consent.

Also the bill clearly states that the collection, usage and storage of Aadhaar number or biometric information of any individual are other violations that can attract a penalty.

The bill now goes to the upper house, i.e Rajya Sabha for approval. The Congress and Trinamool Congress opposed the bill in the lower house.

Senior Congress leader and Lok Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor said that the government first needs to introduce a data protections bill and then make amendments to the aadhaar act.