The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has given time till May 2020 to 127 people living in Hyderabad to depose before an inquiry officer and submit original documents to prove they were not availed under “false pretenses”. In a statement issued late Tuesday evening, it asserted that the exercise has nothing to do with citizenship.
On February 15, an auto driver had received a notice from UIDAI, under rule 30(chapter VI) of Aadhaar (enrolment and update) regulations, 2016, which stated that a complaint was received against him that he is not an Indian national. “This office has received a complaint/allegation that you are not an Indian National and you have obtained Aadhaar through false pretenses, making false claims and submitting false documents.” The regional office of UIDAI in a notice dated February 3, signed by Deputy Director/Inquiry Officer Amita Bindroo, read an inquiry has been ordered in order to ascertain the veracity of a complaint against him.
It may be noted that the RO 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. 6/n
— Aadhaar (@UIDAI) February 19, 2020
Citing recent news reports, the Aadhaar authority said it had received such complaints from the State police “which suspect them of being illegal immigrants.”
“The RO Hyderabad received reports from the State Police that 127 people have obtained Aadhaar on false pretenses as in their preliminary inquiry, they were found illegal immigrants who were not qualified to obtain an Aadhaar number. As per the Aadhaar Act, such Aadhaar numbers are liable to be cancelled. Therefore, the RO Hyderabad has sent notices to them to appear in person and to substantiate their claims for getting an Aadhaar number,” it said.
After examining the responses, if it will be proved that any of them has obtained Aadhaar by submitting false documents or through false pretenses, then their Aadhaar is liable to be cancelled or suspended depending on the severity of the transgression. Severe errors like forged documents, etc., it said, will lead to appropriate actions, including suspending /cancelling the Aadhaar.
However, it clarified that Aadhaar has got nothing to do with the citizenship issue. “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. Also, the Supreme Court of India in its landmark decision has directed UIDAI not to issue Aadhaar to illegal immigrants,” it added.
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Asaduddin Owaisi slams UIDAI, says it has no power to verify citizenship
Hours after UIDAI’s tweet, AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi said the Aadhaar body “abused its powers”, and “did not follow due procedure”. In a series of tweets, he added that UIDAI has no power to verifiy citizenship. “Request @UIDAI &@TelanganaPolice to tell us how many of those 127 listed people are Muslim & Dalit @TelanganaPolice please stop asking for Aadhaar during your ‘search & cordon’ operations. You’re not legally permitted to do so (sic),” he tweeted. “The words used in the notice is verification of citizenship (not validity of aadhaar). So will @UIDAI suspend the Deputy Director who issued this notice? They clearly exceeded their powers by issuing this notice. It was a bad faith & biased exercise of their powers (sic),” another tweet read.
According to the statement, the 127 residents in Hyderabad were asked to appear before the Deputy Director on February 20 for a personal hearing, but now, it has been postponed to May 2020. “Since it may take them some more time to collect the 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 said.
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