In yet another clarification, the UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India) has asked all those concerned to delete the use of Aadhaar as proof of date of birth (DoB) from the list of acceptable documents. UIDAI says it observed that authentication user agencies (AUAs) and know-your-customer (KYC) user agencies (KUAs) are considering and accepting Aadhaar or e-Aadhaar as one of the acceptable documents for proof of date of birth. Following UIDAI circular, the employees provident fund organisation (EPFO) decided to remove Aadhaar as proof of date of birth from its list of acceptable documents.
A circular issued on 22 December 2023 by Sanjeev Yadav, director (the authentication and verification division) and shared by the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO)
says, "At the time of enrolment or updation, UIDAI records DoB as claimed by the resident, on the basis of documents submitted by them as specified under the list of supporting documents for Aadhaar enrolment..."
The circular also refers to an office memorandum issued by the Union ministry of electronics & information technology (MeitY) on 20 December 2018, which states: "An Aadhaar number can be used for establishing the identity of an individual subject to authentication and thereby, per se, it's not a proof of date of birth."
Mr Yadav also refers to various court judgements, including one from the Bombay high court (HC) in July last year. The Maharashtra government took UIDAI to court to share or disclose information, including the identity, information, authentication data, and authenticity of the Aadhaar of one of the accused in a murder case, who had submitted two Aadhaars.
In that case, UIDAI submitted that "when a date of birth is not provided by a resident, his/her date of birth is recorded as declared or approximate. It is further stated that in toto the capturing of date of birth is entirely based on information submitted by the resident and hence, the burden of proving the date of birth of any person lies with the concerned resident."
Dismissing the plea filed by the state government, the HC says, "It is always open for the prosecution to make an endeavour to obtain the birth certificate of respondent no3 from the appropriate forum or authority to prove his date of birth, since Aadhaar is not used as proof of date of birth of any individual."
In his series of tweets, one @kingslyj raises questions on the validation of non-biometric data collected by UIDAI for issuing Aadhaar. He refers to a 2019 judgement in the Parvati Kumari vs State of Uttar Pradesh (UP) case, where the court observed, "This Court being intrigued by a large number of cases wherein Aadhaar cards declare the date of birth as 1st of January of a particular calendar year, and in some cases, only the year of birth is given..."
The judgement is more explicit in the next paragraph that Aadhaar data is neither proof of address nor proof of date of birth under the Evidence Act, he says quoting from the court judgement, which states: "...it stands demonstrated that in case a person relies on entries in Aadhaar card in regard to address, and date of birth on the basis of the Aadhaar card, under the Evidence Act it cannot be said that the entries in those regards are conclusive proof of those facts. If the question in these regards arises, the source of giving date of birth are required to be verified in the process of investigation in criminal cases."
In October 2020, contrary to claims of several government departments and local bodies, the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) clarified that Aadhaar is not required as proof of identity for registration of births and deaths.
"...the registration of births and deaths in the country is being done under the provisions of registration of births and deaths (RBD) Act, 1969 and there is no provision in the RBD Act, which permits the use of Aadhaar for establishing the identity of an individual for the purpose of registration of birth and death. There being no law framed for such use of Aadhaar, section 57 (of Aadhaar Act) is not attracted, therefore, the requirement of Aadhaar for registration of births and deaths are not mandatory," a circular (F. No1/12/2018-VS (CRS)/385-386) issued by the MHA on 3 April 2019 says. (Read: Aadhaar Not Needed for Registration of Births and Deaths, Clarifies Home Ministry
Even during the Aadhaar case hearing, senior counsel Shyam Divan pointed out before the Supreme Court that Aadhaar is essentially a self-certification-based identity and nobody from the government has ever verified it, as admitted by UIDAI in writing. Submitting his rejoinder in the Aadhaar case, the senior counsel informed the apex court about almost all affirmative responses he received from the UIDAI.
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