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New Delhi: It is welcome news that any insistence by private entities such as telecom companies and banks on Aadhaar as the sole identity and address proof rather than allowing customers to use their ration card or passport will attract punitive action, including a fine of up to Rs 1 crore and jail sentences for employees concerned — ranging from three to 10 years, says report.

The daily further mentioned that the penalty for misuse of the national biometric ID has been proposed in the amendments cleared by the Union Cabinet on Monday.

In the wake of the landmark Supreme Court ruling that imposed restrictions on use of Aadhaar by private companies, the Cabinet on Monday cleared a proposal to amend the Telegraph Act and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) to give legal backing to ‘voluntary’ linking of mobile numbers and bank accounts to Aadhaar as one of the “know your customer” (KYC) methods.

The amendments are likely to be introduced in Parliament during the ongoing winter session, which is slated till January 8. Many analysts say the amendments will give Aadhaar-issuing authority UIDAI more powers to clamp down on violation.

The publication quoted a source as saying, “Aadhaar is a platform that has gained public trust and promotes good governance. The amendments protect security and privacy. They set out rules for consent in case of minor and opt-out option at age 18. There are strict punishments for any attempt to tamper with core biometrics.

It may be noted that the Supreme Court, which upheld the constitutional validity of Aadhaar with riders, in September struck down Section 57 of the Aadhaar act which allowed private companies to access Aadhaar data.

The apex court upheld the use of Aadhaar in availing benefits of government-run social welfare schemes, in filing of income tax returns and allotment of Permanent Account Numbers (PAN). At present, India has enrolled more than 1.22 billion people under Aadhaar.
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