NEW DELHI: Union IT and Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday said that there are enough provisions in the Aadhaar Act that forbids private entities from using the data collected by them for purposes other than authentication.
“Any authentication done by a private company is done for a specific purpose. They are required to maintain the sanctity of that storage. Any misuse of that storage is punishable with three years of imprisonment and `10 lakh in fine,” Prasad said.
When asked whether people will have the right to delete their Aadhaar data lying with the companies, the minister said they will examine the implication of the judgment and take action thereafter.
However, a source in the IT Ministry clarified that people who want to delete their data with banks or telcos can surely ask the companies to do it. “In light of the judgement, they can surely withdraw it. The method will be decided by the Department of Telecom,” said the official who did not want to be identified.
The official said that they will also decide what would be done with companies (read-PayTm and Jio) that have taken only Aadhaar numbers for verifications. “Authentication via Aadhaar is easy and it saves a lot of paper. The government will see if there is a provision to push Aadhaar adaptation in the system after carefully going through the 1,500 page judgment,” he said.
Rajan S Mathews, head of telecom operator body COAI, said that they are going to review the judgement and its implications. “We shall await further orders and instructions from DoT. Our member operators as always will definitely comply with the law,” he said.
Meanwhile, Prasad also bashed out at the Congress, saying that they did not do enough with Aadhaar. “Congress’ Aadhaar was useless. They could only link 6.7 crore bank accounts with Aadhaar, where as we took it to 97 crore. It helps us to send the benefits directly to poor, cutting the middlemen,” he said.
Terming the Wednesday’s verdict as historic, Prasad maintained that Aadhaar empowers people and any allegation that it is used for surveillance was meaningless.