New Delhi, August 25, 2017

Linking of PAN with biometric identifier Aadhaar will continue as previously directed and so will quoting of the 12-digit ID number for availing . various government subsidies, UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey said today.

The Supreme Court verdict holding privacy as a fundamental right has in no way stopped quoting of Aadhaar for various schemes as well as filing of income tax returns, Pandey said.

The Aadhaar Act — which entails its quoting for services ranging from getting subsidised cooking gas to opening bank account and obtaining a new phone number — had been drafted keeping in mind privacy as a fundamental right, he said. “We are very confident the Act will pass the test of privacy being a fundamental right,” Pandey told PTI.

Today’s Supreme Court “judgement has not said anything about the Aadhaar Act so the Aadhaar Act is a valid Act passed by the Parliament (and) is the law of the land,” he said. Section 7 of the act “prescribes that for getting certain subsidy or benefit the government can insist on an Aadhaar number. That position holds today,” he added.

Asked if anyone can refuse to give their details in the backdrop of today’s order, he said, “As of today, no. Because Aadhaar Act is a valid Act and this judgement has not commented anything on Aadhaar Act.” Pandey said Aadhaar enrolment will continue unhindered. On the linking of Aadhaar with Permanent Account Number (PAN) alloted to income tax payers, he said such a linkage has been mandated by an amendment to the Income Tax Act.

The “linking will continue under that Act and law. There is no change in that,” he said. Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act entails requirement of the 12-digit unique number for availing government benefits or services and that “continues”, he said adding the deadlines prescribed for such linkages would continue to be valid as well. “Those deadlines have been prescribed in pursuance of provisions in Aadhaar Act or Income Tax Act or money laundering rules. Since those laws are valid therefore those deadlines will also have to be adhered to,” he said.

The UIDAI CEO added that Aadhaar Act protects privacy of people as a fundamental right and its provisions provide for safeguarding of personal data and how such data can be used. “The data will not be shared without the consent of the person. So there are number of privacy protection provisions inbuilt into the Aadhaar Act itself,” he said. He noted that “core biometric can never be shared with anyone for any reason whatsoever, except in particular circumstances which too has to be cleared by a committee headed by cabinet secretary”.

[The Financial Express]