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'People Have Given Us Right to Undo Court Orders': Ravi Shankar Prasad on Aadhaar Amendment Bill

The Aadhaar Amendment Bill was passed to allow voluntary use of Aadhaar as proof of identity for opening bank accounts and procuring mobile phone.

News18.com

Updated:July 4, 2019, 9:05 PM IST
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'People Have Given Us Right to Undo Court Orders': Ravi Shankar Prasad on Aadhaar Amendment Bill
File photo of Union Communications and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. (Image: LSTV/PTI)

New Delhi: Asserting that Parliament not only had the "right to make laws" but to also "undo judgments", Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad moved the Aadhaar and Other Laws Amendment Bill, 2019 in the House for consideration.

Prasad said that Aadhaar had led to saving Rs 7.48 lakh crores in past 5 years and responded to criticism that the amendment was going against the orders of the apex court. He said, "The people of the country have given us the right to make laws and we should use that right and this House has a right to undo judgments, we can make changes."

Prasad added that the amendments that we are bringing are compliant with Supreme Court orders, voluntary and its based on consent of the owner of the card and private entities are injuncted from taking Aadhaar data and there is a penal provision in the bill which stipulating both fine and incarceration.

Congress MP Manish Tewari countered and said that the government should first think about privacy and take into account a citizen's "right to be forgotten".

Meanwhile, Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury criticised the government for using the ordinance route to bring legislation. He accused the government of "resorting to the ordinance route without any rhyme and reason".

TMC MP Mahua Moitra also attacked the government and said, "There is no standard of privacy and security today. There is no Data Protection Act. In the absence of data protection, how can you ask me to give up my information to a private agency? This is integral to the Bill, you can’t have the cart before the horse."

The bill was later passed to allow voluntary use of Aadhaar as proof of identity for opening bank accounts and procuring mobile phone. Prasad assured the House that Aadhaar is voluntary and informed consent of the biometric identity holder has to be obtained before it is used.

"The amendments address the privacy and security concerns. It provides that no service or benefit of any scheme will be denied for lack of Aadhaar," Prasad said. The amended bill also provides for a stiff Rs 1 crore penalty and a jail term for private entities for storing Aadhaar data.

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