The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016 has put in black and white what was earlier being done on the sly. The following two provisions in the Bill virtually make it untenable for anyone to continue resisting enrolment:
Clause 7: …as a condition for receipt of a subsidy, benefit or service for which the expenditure is incurred from, or the receipt therefrom forms part of, the Consolidated Fund of India…
Clause 57: Nothing contained in this Act shall prevent the use of Aadhaar number for establishing the identity of an individual for any purpose, whether by the State or any body corporate or person…
Clause 7 covers any interface that one may have with any govt. department, as least of all the salary of the staff is paid for from the Consolidated Fund of India. Clause 57 removes any remaining loophole that one may find in Clause 7.
There couldn’t be a threat more direct than this, to disenfranchise anyone who refuses to fall in line. The warning shots are already fired – http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-karnataka/training-in-mobile-phone-repairs/article8325330.ece. Here is a govt. sponsored vocational programme for which Aadhaar is a precondition. Next in line is university admissions? And then there is the routine harassment of school-going children – http://www.dnaindia.com/bangalore/report-bengaluru-no-aadhaar-card-no-sitting-for-exams-schools-tell-students-2134633.
The govt. must spell out clearly the rights of a citizen who chooses not to enrol, as also of those who have enrolled but wish to take the non-Aadhaar channel. The Bill is deliberately silent on these aspects. RTI query DOEAF/R/2016/80218 is filed for the same; text below. Curiously, the editor on the RTI website https://rtionline.gov.in/ does not allow ‘?’ sign (probably meaning ‘no questions asked’?). Please read ‘/’ below as ‘?’.
Regarding the recent passage of the Aadhaar Bill in the Lok Sabha, I would like the below clarifications with regards to the position of an ordinary citizen of this country vis-à-vis Aadhaar. I am posting the below queries to the Department of Economic Affairs as the Aadhaar Bill has been presented as a money bill.
1) Is it mandatory for every citizen of this country to enrol into Aadhaar, or does he reserve the right to choose not to enrol/
2) The provisions of the Bill leave open the scope for Aadhaar to be used for any service (by any public or private entity), not just for delivery of benefits or subsidies. It might not thus be practical for a citizen to continue leading a normal life, should he not enrol into Aadhaar and the same is made mandatory for a particular purpose (like say Passport or Driving Licence or mobile phone connection or university admissions). In such a scenario, what are the rights of a citizen who chooses not to enrol into Aadhaar/ After the enactment of this Bill, is such a person condemned to the life of a second class citizen, with diminished rights as compared to a citizen possessing Aadhaar/
3) Is a person already enrolled into Aadhaar mandatorily required to use the Aadhaar channel for availing of a benefit or service that may be linked to it/ In other words, does enrolment into Aadhaar automatically mean that the concerned citizen is in a permanent bind to produce his Aadhaar no. or subject himself to Aadhaar verification on demand/ Does such a person retain the right to use the non-Aadhaar channel for availing of the same benefit or service should be wish to/