No Provision in Law to Opt Out of Aadhaar, Says Government
The current government gave it more teeth and made it mandatory for everyone to link Aadhaar with various schemes and instruments.

New Delhi: A campaign to ‘opt out’ of Aadhaar might be gathering steam in Meghalaya but the fact is there is no provision under the law letting one to be forgotten by the UID database.

On Wednesday, the Central government informed the Parliament that the 2016 Aadhaar Act lacks any provision which would allow people to get their Aadhaar cards deactivated and the details removed from the biometric database.

“There is no provision in the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 for citizens to opt out of the Aadhaar scheme,” stated a government reply in Lok Sabha.

Union Minister of State in Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology Alphons Kannanthanam laid out the answer to a question by BJD MP Kalikesh Narayan Singh Deo.

Deo had sought to know “whether a provision has been made for citizens to opt out of the Aadhaar scheme, especially for those not receiving any welfare benefit from the Government”.

Responding, the Ministry maintained that the Act does not make for any provision to opt out of the Aadhaar scheme after enrolment.

The government further refrained from answering as to whether they have received any memorandum from citizens asking for their information to be deleted from the Aadhaar database and their Aadhaar cards be cancelled.

The reply only said that all requests are dealt with under the Aadhaar (Enrolment & Update) Regulations, 2016. Without apprising the Lower House about receipt of requests for cancellation, the Ministry said that these have to be adjudicated under the regulations, which, notably, gives UID officers the authority to suspend or cancel an Aadhaar card in cases of issues with biometrics, duplication or lack of valid documents. There is no provision how to deal with an application if one decides to move out of the Aadhaar scheme.

Recently, a group of citizens in Meghalaya signed up for a campaign to ‘opt out’ of Aadhaar. In letters written to the UIDAI, they stated that they no longer consent to be registered on the Aadhaar database.

The draft of the letter sent to the UIDAI asks it to “delete all the biometric, demographic, authentication and any other data that is on the UIDAI data base, and inform [me] when this is done; inform me of any places where my UID number has been ‘seeded’; inform any agency where my UID number has been seeded that they are to delete the number from their data base… and that I do not consent to my data being used by you or any third party, or be shared with any third party, and any consent that may be recorded as having been given by me stands withdrawn forthwith”.

Led by the Meghalaya People's Committee on Aadhaar, the campaign was organised by representatives of the powerful Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) and civil society collective Thma U Rangli-Juki (TUR).