HYDERABAD: Over 120 citizens of the city were sent notices by Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) urging them to prove their citizenship while alleging that they obtained Aadhar through illegal means.
The notices were issued after reports from the police, UIDAI said.
"Aadhaar is not a document of citizenship and UIDAI has been mandated under the Aadhaar Act to ascertain residency of a person in India for 182 days prior to applying for Aadhaar," the nodal body, which issues the 12-digit biometric ID, said in a statement.
The Supreme Court, in its landmark decision, has directed the UIDAI not to issue Aadhaar to illegal immigrants, it said.
Recipients are now planning to approach the High Court in order to challenge the notices.
One of the notices sent to a Mohammed Sattar, a resident of Talab Katta in the Old City area, stated that the recipient allegedly 'obtained Aadhar through false pretences' and that he was not an 'Indian national'.
It said, "Whereas this Office has received a complaint/allegation that you are not an Indian National and you have obtained Aadhaar through false pretences, making false claims and submitting false documents. An enquiry has been ordered by the Regional office, UIDAI, Hyderabad, to ascertain the veracity of the complaint/allegation."
UIDAI further directed Sattar to appear before an officer in Balapur "to prove all your claims of citizenship and if you are not a stay is valid Indian National, to prove that you have entered the territory of Indian legal and your stay is valid."
UIDAI warned that if Sattar does not appear and produce the required documents "the matter shall be decided suo motu".
The document was signed by Amita Bindroo, deputy director of UIDAI Hyderabad.
"It may be noted that the regional office Hyderabad received reports from the state police that 127 people have obtained Aadhaar on false pretences, as in their preliminary enquiry they were found illegal immigrants who were not qualified to obtain an Aadhaar number," the UIDAI said.
As per the Aadhaar Act, such Aadhaar numbers are liable to be cancelled.
"Therefore, the regional office Hyderabad has sent notices to them to appear in person and to substantiate their claims for getting an Aadhaar number," it said.
The UIDAI, however, emphasised that these notices have "nothing to do with citizenship and cancellation of Aadhaar number is in no way related to the nationality of any resident".
In case it is found and proved that any of them obtained Aadhaar by submitting false documents or through false pretences, their Aadhaar is liable to be cancelled or suspended depending on the severity of the transgression, UIDAI said.
"Severe errors like forged documents, etc., will lead to appropriate actions, including suspending /cancelling the Aadhaar," it cautioned.
"Sometimes it becomes necessary to cancel the Aadhaar number when it is found that a resident has obtained it by submitting false biometrics or documents. It is a routine quality improvement process that the UIDAI takes up regularly," the authority said.
Additional time has been given to allow them to collect the requisite documents, "Since it may take them some more time to collect their original documents that they had submitted for obtaining Aadhaar, as informed by the state police, the UIDAI has postponed the personal hearing to May 2020," it added.
Sattar's lawyer Muzzafer Ullah Khan said that his client would attend the enquiry as per the notice on February 20.
Khan further said that UIDAI's notice would be challenged in High Court.
In the wake of this action, the Aadhaar issuing authority has come under sharp criticism.
AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said, "Section 9 of Aadhaar Act says that it isn’t proof of citizenship. On what legal authority, does UIDAI, UIDAI Hyderabad have to demand proof of citizenship? The notices don’t even mention the grounds on which they were issued. This is illegal and unacceptable."
Lawyers from Telangana Advocates JAC have raised objections to this and questioned its jurisdiction.
The JAC termed the action as unconstitutional and arbitrary.
(With PTI Inputs)