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October 17, 2020

Aadhaar Not Mandatory for Birth and Death Registration – Home Ministry

by CA Shivam Jaiswal in Legal Court Judgement

Aadhaar Not Mandatory for Birth and Death Registration – Home Ministry

An Aadhaar card is a unique number issued to every citizen in India and is a centralised and universal identification number. The Aadhar card is a biometric document that stores an individual’s personal details in a government database, and is fast becoming the government’s base for public welfare and citizen services. It can be used for a number of purposes, making it a universally acceptable government-issued card, without needing to register or apply for a separate card for each of these services.

Is Aadhaar number required while registering for births and deaths in India? The Registrar General of India (RGI) in response to an RTI, has clarified that Aadhaar number was not mandatory for the registration of births and deaths.

What documents are required to obtain a birth certificate in India?

Documents required to apply for birth certificate of a child are proof of birth letter in hospital (provided by concerned hospital), parents’ birth certificates and marriage certificate, identity proof of parents and address proof (Voter-ID, electricity/gas/water/telephone bill, passport, ration card, etc.).

What documents are needed to register a death?

The following documents are required to register a death:

  • The medical certificate of the cause of death
  • NHS Card (also known as the medical card)
  • Birth certificate of the deceased
  • Driving license of the deceased (if any)
  • Marriage or civil partnership certificate (if applicable)
  • Passport of the deceased
  • Proof of address (e.g. utility bills)

The following information about the deceased is required by the Registrar before registering the death:

  • Date and place of the death
  • The address of the deceased
  • The full names (including the maiden name of a married woman). Any former married name or other names by which the deceased was known.
  • His/her occupation
  • Details of their wife or husband or civil partner
  • Whether he/she had any Government pension or other benefits

What are the documents required for getting a Death Certificate?

The documents required by the Registrar in a State to obtain the death certificate of an individual are as follows:

  • A proof relating to the birth and age of the deceased – For example the birth certificate, matriculation certificate, PAN Card, Voter ID Card, etc. 
  • An affidavit specifying the date and time of death.
  • Proof of death – For example the crematorium receipt, hospital letter, etc.
  • A copy of the ration card of the deceased.
  • The required fee in the form of court fee stamps.
  • Address proof of the deceased – For example electricity bills, water bills, etc.
  • Additionally, the person who wants to obtain a death certificate from the Registrar may also be required to give evidence of his relation with the deceased, his complete address and proof of nationality.
  • Form 2 i.e. the Death Report to be filled up by the applicant
  • Authorisation letter in case of an authorised person with Photo ID, PAN Card, etc.

What was the RTI filed about?

Visakhapatnam-based advocate M.V.S. Anil Kumar Rajagiri had filed an RTI request asking whether Aadhaar was mandatory for the registration of death or not. In its reply the RGI referred to an April 2019 circular to clarify that “the requirement of Aadhaar number was not mandatory for the registration of birth and death.”

It was also noted that registration of births and deaths was done under the Registration of Births and Deaths (RBD) Act, 1969, which was a Central law. However, the implementation of the provisions of the said Act lies with the State/UT governments.

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Reference to Earlier Supreme Court Judgement

In 2017, the RGI had prescribed that Aadhaar number would be required for the purpose of establishing the identity of the deceased for the purpose of death registration.

However, a 2018 Supreme Court judgment changed the situation. In a writ petition of Justice K.S Puttaswamy (retired) and another vs Union of India and Others, the apex court struck down Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act as “unconstitutional”. This meant that no company or private entity could seek Aadhaar identification from you.

Supreme Court had observed that:

  • Section 57 provided that the Aadhaar Act would not prevent the use of Aadhaar number for establishing the identity of an individual for any purpose.
  • Apart from authorising the state, any body-corporate or person is authorised to avail authentication services, which can be on the basis of agreement between an individual and such body corporate or person.
  • Even if SC presumed that the legislature did not intend so, the impact of the aforesaid features would be to enable commercial exploitation of an individual’s biometric and demographic information by the private entities.
  • Thus, this part of the provision, which enabled body corporate and individuals also to seek authentication, that too on the basis of a contract between the individual and such body corporate or person, would hit upon the right to privacy of such individuals.
  • Therefore, this part of section 57 was declared unconstitutional.

This clearly means that although Aadhaar is used as an identity proof, it cannot be used as a means to prove an individual’s authentication, as per the Indian Constitution.

RGI later also ruled that use of Aadhaar for establishing the identity of an individual for the purpose of registration of birth and death was not mandatory

In its 2019 circular, the RGI noted that “the portion of Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act which enables body corporate and individual to seek authentication was held to be unconstitutional” by the Supreme Court. The RBD Act also had no provision which permitted the use of Aadhaar for establishing the identity of an individual for the purpose of registration of birth and death.

The circular was sent to the Chief Registrars of births and deaths of all States directing them to ensure that local registering authorities did not demand Aadhaar as a mandatory requirement.

The Ministry further provided that an applicant may provide the physical copy of Aadhaar number or Enrolment ID number for establishing the identity of an individual for the purpose of registration of birth and death on voluntary basis, as one of the acceptable documents. However, the first eight digits of the Aadhaar number were to be masked with black ink. The full number was also not to be stored in any database of births and deaths or printed on any document.

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