The Allahabad High Court recently enquired how it is possible for a fair price shop dealer to change the Aadhaar number in the data base which is accessible only to the National Informatics Centre (NIC).
The Single Bench of Justice Manoj Kumar Gupta asked the Principal Secretary, Food & Civil Supply Department, of the UP Government to file a personal affidavit and explain how a private individual could manipulate the data maintained by a Central authority.
The Court was hearing a writ petition filed by one Awadhesh Kumar, a fair price shop dealer, whose licence was cancelled by the District Magistrate, on the ground of interpolation in the data base of the beneficiaries.
It was alleged that the fair shop dealer changed the Aadhaar card numbers of the beneficiaries through an unknown technical operator, by seeding mechanism and thereafter by using bio-metric of other persons who are not actual beneficiaries, the essential commodities were distributed.
At this juncture, the Court was constrained to remark,
"how it is possible for a fair price shop dealer to change the Adhaar number in the data base which is accessible only to NIC?"
The order is significant as it raises an important question of data privacy.
The Petitioner on the other hand had contended that the allegations against him is based on "pure conjectures" and is not technically possible.
"The allegation is also vague in as much as it is not specified in the order that with whose collusion the alleged manipulation had taken place. The order itself recites that the same was got done with the help of unknown technical operator," Advocates Vibhu Rai, Abhinav Gaur and Abhishek Shukla argued on behalf of the Petitioner.
They pointed out that seeding of Aadhar number is done by NIC and that E-Pose machine cannot be altered by fair price shop dealers.
It was submitted that the login ID/ password is generated by NIC, Lucknow and it is not possible for fair price shop dealer to change the same and that in no circumstance it is possible for the fair price shop dealer to alter the Aadhaar number fed in the E-Pose machine through the NIC Central Server.
The matter will now be taken up on October 22, 2020.