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Aadhaar Is A National Asset; Sharing Information May Affect Security Interests: CIC [Read Order]

15 Sep 2019 4:40 AM GMT
Aadhaar Is A National Asset; Sharing Information May Affect Security Interests: CIC [Read Order]
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The Central Information Commission has held that Aadhaar is a national asset and sharing information pertaining to it can affect the security interest of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and may lead to incitement of an offence.

The Complainant, one Anupam Saraph, had sought the following information from the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) of the UIDAI by filing an RTI application:

  1. A complete directory with names, designations and roles of staff involved in designing and developing the Central Identities Data Repository (CIDR) database and the Application Programming Interface (API).
  2. A statement of agencies, licensees, partners and contractors, involved in design or development of the CIDR and the API with link to the URL having a copy of the contracts.
  3. A copy of the licence agreement and usage terms of API.
  4. A list of third parties providing API and a copy of the MoU/ license agreements of UIDAI with such parties.

The CPIO refused to disclose the aforesaid information and claimed exemption under Section 8 of the RTI Act, 2005. The same was upheld by the First Appellate Authority and hence the Complainant approached the CIC.

In this second appeal treated as a complaint, the Information Commissioner, Vanaja N. Sarna, declined the Complainant's request to adjourn the matter and went on to observe that the CPIO had rightly claimed exemption under Section 8(1)(a) of the RTI Act, 2005.

Section 8(1)(a) prescribes that there shall be no obligation to give any citizen information, disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State, relation with foreign State or lead to incitement of an offence.

The Commission concurred with the submissions made by the CPIO that "Aadhaar data contains Personal Identifiable Information including Biometric details of Indian residents which is highly sensitive in nature. Aadhaar data being a national asset, therefore sharing the requested information can affect the security interest of the UIDAI and may lead to incitement of an offence. Also, clause 7 of the Aadhaar (Data Security) Regulations, 2018 categorically prohibits sharing of the information related to CIDR, application details, contractual agreements etc. and hence, the requested information could not be disclosed". 

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