UIDAI seeks proof of citizenship

A resident of the old city of Hyderabad who was reportedly asked to prove his Indian citizenship by the Unique Identification Authority of India is all set to move the High Court once the first hearing concludes.

An association of lawyers which came to the resident’s defence claimed that UIDAI had sent similar notices to over 1,000 individuals.


Rule 30

Mohammed Sattar Khan, a resident of Bhavani Nagar in Talabkatta, a carpenter and autorickshaw driver, received the notice under Rule 30 of Aadhaar (Enrolment and Updates) Regulations, 2016 at home on February 16, his counsel Muzaffar Ullah Khan said. Section 30 deals with communication to a cardholder of deactivation of the card.

“Mr. Khan is an Indian citizen. He has never left the country. He was born here, his parents were born here. In fact, his father worked for Hyderabad Allwyn Limited,” the lawyer said.

The notice, signed by Hyderabad Regional Office Deputy Director Amita Bindroo, informed him of a complaint which alleged that Mr. Khan was not an Indian citizen and that his Aadhaar card was obtained by furnishing false documents.

The notice further directed him to appear before her at a function hall in Balapur, an area which houses Rohingya camps, in Rangareddy district with “all the necessary documents in original to prove all your claims of citizenship”.

The notice directed Mr. Khan to prove that he had entered the country legally and his stay is valid if he is a foreign national. In case Mr. Khan failed to appear, the matter would be decided suo motu.

“The UIDAI has no powers to ask any person to prove citizenship. What it can do is deactivate Aadhaar under Section 33 A. We are going to appear before the Deputy Director and will approach the High Court once the order is given,” the counsel said, adding that two others who had received the notice had approached him.

Notice condemned

Earlier on Tuesday, the Advocates Joint Action Committee condemned the notice and announced free legal aid to those who had received the notices.

Speaking to The Hindu, JAC convener Mohd. Vali-ur Rahman said, “Once we got to know of this notice, we started our own inquiries. People by the dozens started calling us, this is why we can say that around 1,000 notices have been sent. People are afraid to come out, which is why we are offering free legal aid and representation.”

UIDAI clarifies

The UIDAI, in a release, said that Aadhaar has got nothing to do with citizenship.

It said the UIDAI regional office, Hyderabad, received reports from the police that 127 people had obtained Aadhaar on false pretences because they were found to be illegal immigrants. Such Aadhaar numbers are liable to cancellation. Therefore, the regional office had asked them to appear before the Deputy Director on February 20.

Since they may need more time to collect original documents, the UIDAI has postponed the hearing to May.

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