Aadhaar biometric data will not be used for the purpose of investigating a crime.
In a major development, it has been clarified that biometric data collected by Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) cannot be used for any other purpose except for generating Aadhaar and authenticating the identity of cardholders.
Invoking section 29 of the Act, the UIDAI issued a statement after reports emerged about the purported use of Aadhaar biometric data for the purpose of investigating a crime.
However, section 33 of the Aadhaar Act allows a very limited exception and permits the use of or access to Aadhaar biometric data in cases involving national security after pre-authorisation by an oversight committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary.
“This is also the consistent stand taken by the Union of India in the ongoing Aadhaar case in the Supreme Court. It may be noted that based on this legal position, UIDAI has never shared any biometric data with any crime investigating agency. It may be underlined here that when Mumbai High Court gave orders to share biometric data with an investigating agency in a particular case, the matter was taken up to the Supreme Court which stayed that order,” UIDAI said in the statement.
On Thursday, National Crime Records Bureau Director Ish Kumar had favoured limited access to Aadhaar data to be given to police for the purpose of catching first-time offenders and for identification of unidentified bodies.
Following are the restrictions on sharing information that are placed under Section 29 of the Aadhaar (Targeted delivery of financial and other subsidies, benefits and services) Act, 2016:
(1) No core biometric information, collected or created under this Act, shall be—(a) shared with anyone for any reason whatsoever; or (b) used for any purpose other than generation of Aadhaar numbers and authentication under this Act.
(2) The identity information, other than core biometric information, collected or created under this Act may be shared only in accordance with the provisions of this Act and in such manner as may be specified by regulations.
(3) No identity information available with a requesting entity shall be—(a) used for any purpose, other than that specified to the individual at the time of submitting any identity information for authentication; or (b) disclosed further, except with the prior consent of the individual to whom such information relates.
(4) No Aadhaar number or core biometric information collected or created under this Act in respect of an Aadhaar number holder shall be published, displayed or posted publicly, except for the purposes as may be specified by regulations.