In April 2023, the Indian Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology introduced Amendments to The Aadhaar Authentication for Good Governance (Social Welfare, Innovation, Knowledge) Rules, 2020, and opened the same for public consultation. The Amendment allows non-state actors to provide Aadhaar-enabled authentication services. This was done in furtherance of the government’s commitment to make Aadhaar people-friendly and enable ease of living for residents. The Amendment allows non-state actors, particularly for-profit entities, to provide Aadhaar-enabled authentication services, subject to approval by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).
IT for Change participated in the public consultation to highlight that the purposes of authentication in the 2020 Rules and the proposed amendment are over-broad, and pave the way for arbitrary action.
In our response, we highlighted the following concerns:
- The proposed Amendment falls outside the purview of delegated legislation, and can therefore be classified as excessive delegation of legislative powers;
- The Amendment fails the three-pronged proportionality test established by the Supreme Court in Justice K.S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India (2017);
- The proposed Amendment leaves citizens vulnerable to privacy and exclusion-related harms;
- The existing governance structures do not provide for effective and responsive accountability mechanisms; and
- The proposed Amendments do not provide for adequate safeguards against arbitrary action of non-state actors.
Read our full submission here.