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Delhi High Court seeks response from Centre, UIDAI on petition seeking new number for existing Aadhaar holder

Counsel representing UIDAI Zoheb Hossain submitted that the moment an Aadhaar number is issued, the person concerned and the number are locked together for life.

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The Delhi High Court on Tuesday sought a response from the Centre and the Unique Identification Authority of India on a petition seeking mechanism and procedure for issuance of new Aadhaar numbers to existing ID holders.

Justice Rekha Palli issued notice in the plea filed by businessman Rajan Arora apprehending that his Aadhaar Card number can be misused for carrying out unlawful activities in his name like forgery or fraud, as he was informed that his Aadhar card number has been compromised and linked with two unidentified overseas entities without his authorization. 

Zoheb Hossain, the counsel representing UIDAI, submitted that the moment an Aadhaar number is issued, the person concerned and the number are locked together for life.

Upon this submission, the Bench questioned as to why, in such a case, power has been given to UIDAI under Section 23(n) of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other subsidies, benefits and services) Act of 2016, to lay down conditions and procedure for issuance of new Aadhaar number for existing holders.

The Bench noted: “You have the power……. It can be exercised in some manner.” The matter has been deferred to September 9. The petition has been filed through Advocates Sonal Anand and Surbhi Singh. The plea alleges that the petitioner, engaged in the business of garment export, in the month of January 2021, gained knowledge through one of his customers based in Europe that his Aadhaar Card had been linked or associated with certain overseas entities, with which the petitioner has no linkage. The petitioner fears his personal details including his Aadhaar Card number having been compromised.  

The plea seeks direction for the issuance of a new Aadhaar Card number to the petitioner in compliance with clause (n) of Section 23 of the Aadhaar Act, 2016. In addition, the plea seeks a mechanism and procedure for the issuance of new Aadhaar numbers to existing users as per S.23(n) of the Act. The plea also urges for protection of the fundamental right of privacy and preventing further breach or damages.  

Also Read: Supreme Court agrees to examine if smuggling gold can be termed terrorist act under UAPA

The plea avers that the petitioner served a letter upon the Deputy Director-General of Delhi on March 3, 2021, requesting issuance of a new Aadhaar card and made several phone calls thereafter. On March 15, 2021, the petitioner received a response from UIDAI that Aadhaar is a unique number, and no resident can have a duplicate Aadhaar Number. “This despite the fact that the Aadhar Act itself provides the same can be done,” the plea states.

The plea states: “Once if his Aadhaar information has already been compromised in the public domain the damage cannot be undone without issuing him a new Aadhaar and cancelling his old Aadhaar card. The same is not only vital for the petitioner but also required to prevent any perpetrators in India or overseas to use this information to commit some illegality.”

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