Press Trust of India

Is UIDAI Looking For A Loophole In The Aadhaar Verdict? 

The Supreme Court ruled the use of Aadhaar by private companies for authentication unconstitutional. But chief executive officer of the Unique Identification Authority of India that issues the 12-digit number thinks there may still be a way for fintech firms and startups to continue using the biometric ID.

Ajay Bhushan Pandey, who heads UIDAI, said in a series of tweets that paperless offline KYC and QR codes are good options for private companies or individuals who wish to continue using Aadhaar.

Raman Chima, Policy Director at Access Now, a group that defends digital rights, however, said policy by tweet is just not an option in the Indian republic. The UIDAI should clarify any policy change in the public domain and explain under what legal authority such announcements are being made, he said in an interview with BloombergQuint, adding that using Aadhaar in an “offline” mode would be a legal grey area for companies.

It is using Aadhaar ecosystem and demographic information for private sector purposes in the absence of law.
Raman Chima, Policy Director, Access Now

Nikhil Kumar, head of developer ecosystem who works at India Stack-iSPIRT, doesn’t agree. He argues that using the QR code that is found on every updated Aadhaar card would allow the use of the unique ID without flouting the Supreme Court orders.

The provision in section 57 talks about access to authentication services. It doesn’t talk about the usage of Aadhaar card or offline services or information that the user holds by himself.
Nikhil Kumar, Fellow and Head of Developer Ecosystem, India Stack-iSPIRT 

Watch the full debate here: