Various government departments are exploring their strategies around the use of Aadhaar, after the SC verdict.
By Kiran Rathee
The government is examining if mandatory use of Aadhaar number for issuance of out-of-turn or instant passport under the Tatkaal scheme can be continued or it should be made voluntary in the wake of Supreme Court verdict.
The Supreme Court, in its decision on September 26, had made it clear that Aadhaar cannot be made mandatory by the government and its agencies for various schemes.
The apex court had also debarred private companies from seeking Aadhaar-based authentication, terming it as ‘unconstitutional’.
Simplifying the procedure for issue of out of turn passports, the government in January this year had notified that a person can submit Aadhaar number along with two other document proofs for verification. The use of Aadhaar is mandatory but another two proofs could be chosen from a list of 12 documents including ration card, voter ID card, driving licence etc.
For those who did not have Aadhaar number at the time of applying of passport, the 28-digit Aadhaar enrollment ID has to be submitted.
“Post the verdict of Supreme Court, the law ministry is examining if mandatory use of Aadhaar can be continued. A decision will be taken in this regard soon. For the time being, Aadhaar has to be submitted,” a government official said.
For other categories of passports, submission of Aadhaar is already voluntary. The Aadhaar is one of the documents that can be used as a proof of address and identity.
It must be mentioned that the various government departments are exploring their strategy around the use of Aadhaar, post the verdict of Supreme Court. The department of telecommunications (DoT) is looking at developing a solution for online authentication of telecom customers.
Similarly, the banks and fintech firms are in talks with RBI for finalising a mechanism for doing electronic know your customer (KYC). All of these players have been doing online authentication through Aadhaar.