The government has overruled the opinion of its top law officer that the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) should be able to “execute powers independently” of Parliament, and asked the authority to draft a new bill in consonance with the views of a parliamentary committee.
There has been a lot of debate on the UIDAI’s authority to collect citizens’ biometric information for the issuance of a unique identity (Aadhaar) number without legislative backing, considering that issues such as security of data and privacy of individuals were involved.
Attorney general GE Vahanvati had told the government that there was nothing in the law against the UIDAI functioning as an executive authority.
A parliamentary standing committee had asked the government to bring a new bill before the Parliament to define the body’s powers, functions and responsibilities. It had also pointed out several deficiencies in the functioning of the authority.
Considering the panel’s views, the government asked the UIDAI to draft a new bill.