After much hue and cry over government making mandatory for the use of Aadhaar number to register deaths to prevent “identity fraud”, now it looks like the government is pulling its hands back on the move as it fears of privacy being compromised is yet to be put to rest.
The Registrar General India (RGI), in a notification, state that the Aadhaar-linked death registration will start from October 1.
The government, taking its move back, clarified that it was not mandatory. If in the case where the deceased family members are not aware of the Aadhaar number or Enrolment ID Number (EID), he or she required providing a certificate that the deceased person did not possess Aadhaar number to the best of their knowledge.
For all unaware, Aadhaar is a unique 12-digit biometric number that is used for accurate identification of all individuals in the country.
In a statement, the home ministry said the use of Aadhaar number for death certificate will help establish the identity of the deceased and ensure the accuracy of details provided by relatives or dependents of the deceased and obviate the need for producing multiple documents.
“Any false declaration given by the applicant in this regard will be treated as an offence as per the provisions of the Aadhaar Act, 2016 and also Registration of Birth and Death Act, 1969,” the statement said, adding that the Aadhaar number of the applicant and his/her spouse and parents shall also be collected.
The RGI, which falls under the Home Ministry, has directed its departments in states and in Union Territories, responsible for registration of births and deaths, to ensure compliance by concerned authorities, and sought its confirmation by September 1.
The move comes at a time when the Supreme Court is hearing a petition over threat to privacy arising from the is of the digital identification numbers. Hacking or leaking of Aadhaar data has also been reported several times recently.