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MCA21 registration: Law Ministry asks Centre to defer making Aadhaar compulsory

It suggested the postponement of mandatory linking of Aadhaar “to avoid any controversy which may lead to embarrassment from the concerned quarters”.

Aadhaar, aadhaar card, aadhaar compulsory, right to privacy, aadhaar hearing, apply aadhaar card, get aadhaar card, aadhaar card validity While refusing to give a legal opinion “since the various provisions of the Aadhaar Act were sub judice”, it advised the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) to “await the final decision of the Supreme Court in this regard”.

Following the Supreme Court ruling that states Right to Privacy as a fundamental right, the law ministry has told the government to defer its plan to make submission of Aadhaar details compulsory for corporate stakeholders in the e-business register MCA21.

While refusing to give a legal opinion “since the various provisions of the Aadhaar Act were sub judice”, it advised the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) to “await the final decision of the Supreme Court in this regard”.

It suggested the postponement of mandatory linking of Aadhaar “to avoid any controversy which may lead to embarrassment from the concerned quarters”.

The caution came five days after a nine-judge constitution bench of the apex court ruled on August 24 that privacy was intrinsic to freedom of life and personal liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. The matter was referred by a five-judge bench hearing a clutch of petitions challenging the Aadhaar Act.

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In April, the MCA posted on its website that it was “actively considering Aadhaar integration for availing various MCA21 related services” and asked DIN holders, directors, managerial personnel, company secretaries and chartered accountants to obtain Aadhaar “as early as possible for integrating their details with MCA21”.

“When implemented, all MCA21 services shall be available based on Aadhaar-based authentication only. The date of Aadhaar integration with MCA21 would be announced shortly …,” it said. The move was aimed to weed out bogus entities and identify shell companies suspected to be used for laundering illicit funds.

However, five months later, MCA developed cold feet following the realisation that Aadhaar details on “MCA21” — the public portal that serves as the registry for the Registrar of Companies — would be freely accessible to the public as the Companies Act stipulates that any person can inspect these documents and obtain their certified copies to submit as “evidence in Court of Law”.

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The MCA asked Legal Affairs Department to advise whether the personal information and documents on the MCA21 could continue to be disclosed on the public platform in spite of the Aadhaar and the Information Technology acts that do not allow sharing of personal information of individuals with the public.

The second query was whether it could term the Aadhaar number as “sensitive” data or information to bar public access considering that the IT (Reasonable Security Practices, Procedures and Sensitive Personal Data or Information) Rules forbid any information that is freely available or accessible in public domain or furnished under the RTI Act to be termed as “sensitive”.

First published on: 19-09-2017 at 04:01:37 am
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