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#India- Aadhaar For Birth, Marriage And Death #UID

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By S.G.Vombatkere
25 March, 2013
Extant law makes it mandatory for every citizen to formally register births, marriages and deaths in the family. A birth certificate is proof of age and a death certificate is proof that a person has died and, for example, his/her name is to be deleted from a Voter’s List. A marriage certificate shows that a man and a woman are legally married, their living together is socially acceptable and their progeny are legitimate. The civic body recording these events issues birth, marriage and death certificates, which are legal, primary civic documents concerning biological persons for identity, legal liability and inheritance, besides other legal, social and welfare purposes.
Government of Delhi (GoD) has very recently announced [http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/uid-number-aadhar-scheme-identification-crisis/1/259075.html “With 95 per cent registrations in order, to soon switch to UID numbers for utility services”] that “[f]rom paying bills to getting a driving licence, Delhiites will soon have to depend on a unique identification (UID) number to avail a host of utility services”. The Chandigarh UT administration had made the UID- number mandatory for registration of motor vehicles and for obtaining driving licences. The order was challenged in the Punjab & Haryana High Court, and was withdrawn. GoD now passing a similar order in ignorance of the Chandigarh case, will result in coercing citizens to enroll for the Aadhaar number or to engage in unnecessary litigation. Demanding an Aadhaar number for transactions (paying bills, driving licence, etc) where the citizen is paying for the service rendered with no loss to the state, is without logical or legal strength – it appears to be a crude ploy to force people into enrolling for .
Administrations appear to be ignorant of the basis of civic documentation, because they are even making the UID-Aadhaar number mandatory for citizens to obtain basic civic documents like birth, marriage and death certificates, as GoD has done. How would a birth certificate be issued in respect of an infant whose parents do not have Aadhaar numbers? How would the death certificate be issued in respect of a person whose death is reported by his progeny if the deceased or his progeny do not have an Aadhaar number? There are other questions, but suffice it to say that birth, marriage and death are the most fundamental events for biological persons, and when responsibly reported to civic authorities as mandated by law, the civic authorities are duty bound to unconditionally register these events. Possession of certificates recording these events are the right of every citizen.
If issue of birth and death certificates are made subject to UID-Aadhaar, it is entirely possible that numbers of people may be demographically excluded because they were not able to obtain those certificates for want of the Aadhaar number. To carry the argument a bit further, if a man and a woman without Aadhaar numbers marry, they will not be able to get a marriage certificate, without which their children will be technically illegitimate. Also, their children will not be able to get birth certificates. Thus, the whole family will become non-persons. In fact, such a couple without a UID number would be well advised to use an IUD or other contraceptive device, and produce no children!
Civic authorities demanding a UID-Aadhaar number (which is not covered by any extant law) as a pre-condition for issue of a primary civic document which is mandated by law, puts bureaucratic ignorance and callousness on display. The political executive which is finally responsible cannot plead ignorance. The coercive mission of UIDAI is being pushed to ridiculous lengths by political-bureaucratic incompetence.
Major General S.G. Vombatkere retired as the Additional Director General, Discipline & Vigilance in Army HQ, New Delhi. The President of India awarded him the Visishta Seva Medal in 1993 for distinguished service rendered over 5 years in Ladakh. He holds a PhD degree in Structural Dynamics from IIT, Madras. He is Adjunct Associate Professor of the University of Iowa, USA, and is a member of NAPM and PUCL. He writes on strategic and development-related issues.

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