Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 1 crore penalty to be imposed on violators of Aadhaar rules by UIDAI

UIDAI can now levy huge fines of up to Rs. 1 crore on fraudsters for violating Aadhaar rules or unauthorized access.

Aadhaar card is one of the most important documents to identify a citizen in India. The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) issues a 12-digit verifiable identification number for every man, woman and child in the country. It serves multiple purposes, from verifying identity to registering on various portals and even accessing various government grants. However, with so many services, there have been instances where people have been found abusing the Aadhaar card. To deal with the violation of Aadhaar rules and to make the card completely safe and secure, UIDAI recently got permission to levy huge fines on fraudsters. Aadhaar card data, in the form of fingerprints and iris scans, is captured by biometric devices of all who obtain the unique identifier. Any fraudulent intervention will lead to massive penalties now.

The government introduced the UIDAI (Adjudication of Sanctions) Rules 2021 on November 2 under which the UIDAI can impose a sanction against any unauthorized access or violation of the law or UIDAI instructions. Arbitration officers appointed by the UIDAI will be responsible for such matters, and may impose penalties of up to 1 crore on these entities.

The Telecommunications Dispute Resolution and Appeals Tribunal is the appeal authority against the arbitrator’s decisions. Notably, the legislation enacting the UIDAI (Adjudication of Sanctions) Rules, 2021 was passed in 2019, however, there was no provision for the UIDAI to take enforcement action against errant entities in the Aadhaar ecosystem. Therefore, a new chapter has been added to the Aadhaar law to provide for civil penalties. The provisions stated: “Penalty for failure to comply with the provisions of this Act, rules, regulations and directives [Section 33A] – up to Rs. 1 crore for each offence.

Not only that, UIDAI will also charge a penalty of Rs. 10,000 and three years imprisonment for identity theft or providing false demographic or biometric information. The official statement reads: “It is an offense to impersonate an Aadhaar number holder’s identity by altering or attempting to alter an Aadhaar number holder’s demographic and biometric information – 3 years imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 10,000.

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