In a statement published on Friday, the Home Ministry of India made the possession of an Aadhar card a ‘requirement’ for registration of death. The move requires quoting the individual’s Aadhar number for death registration with effect from October 1.
With heated debates surrounding the ongoing Aadhar row that questions the privacy violating nature of the Aadhar, making the Aadhar a ‘requirement’ for death registration is further going to fuel the debate. The government issued a notification that announced the measure being adopted “for the purpose of establishing the identity of the deceased.”
The government also stated that it would be applicable for the residents of all states except Jammu and Kashmir, Assam and Meghalaya, for which a date would be notified separately. More than 1.16 billion people and nearly every adult have been enrolled in Aadhar.
A press release from the government stated, “An Applicant applying for a death certificate is required to provide Aadhar number or Enrolment ID Number (EID) of the deceased and other details as sought in the application for the death certificate for the purpose of establishing the identity of the deceased.”
Those not aware of the Aadhar number or Enrolment ID Number (EID) of the deceased have to provide a certificate that the deceased person does not possess the number to the best of their knowledge. Any false declaration given by the applicant in this regard will be treated as an offence as per the provisions of the Aadhar Act, 2016 and also Registration of Birth and Death Act, 1969.
The Ministry said in a comment, “It will provide an effective method to prevent identity fraud. It will also help in recording the identity of the deceased person. Further, it will obviate the need for producing multiple documents to prove the identity of the deceased person.”
Here’s the catch…
This news has sparked outrage among individuals as well as several new agencies. Several even accused PTI of “misleading”.
In a notification issued by the government, it stated that, “The use of Aadhar for the applicants of Death Certificate will result in ensuring accuracy of the details provided by the relatives/dependents/ acquaintances of the deceased (herein referred to as the Applicant). It will provide an effective method to prevent identity fraud.”
It was however misinterpreted by PTI who claimed that the Aadhar was made “mandatory” for registration of death.
— #GauravPradhan 🇮🇳 (@DrGPradhan) August 4, 2017
Those who are making #Aadhar mandatory for death certificate will for sure make death mandatory for Aadhar certificate!
— Samar (@Samar_Anarya) August 5, 2017
The government later issued a clarification in which they stated, “PTI story regarding Aadhar number ‘mandatory’ for registration of death of an individual, is totally incorrect. It is not mandatory.” Following the clarification PTI had revised the story.
This, as claimed by most is not a regressive step citing the “Official Gazette, Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act 2016 permits the use of Aadhar number for establishing the identity of an individual for any purpose pursuant to any law or any contract to this effect.”
This only indicates that the Aadhar is already ‘mandatory’ to register birth and death of citizens.