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What happens if you refuse a UID card?

By Vicky Nanjappa
October 08, 2010 10:55 IST
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What happens if you refuse a UID card because you believe it violates your civil liberties?

Can the government deny you your rights because of this?

Vicky Nanjappa finds out.

It is just a matter of time before every Indian possesses a 16-digit Unique Identification number that will set her/him apart from a billion fellow countrymen.

Questions have been raised if the Centre will make the card compulsory for every Indian citizen.

M N Vidyashankar, principal secretary, department of information and technology, explains to, "Every resident of India is entitled to a Unique Identification number. The procurement of the UID is subject to the fulfilment of certain procedural requirements. The Unique Identification Authority of India does not make it mandatory to have a UID number."

"It remains to be seen how the respective state governments will implement this project," Vidyashankar added.

"The decision to deny certain rights to a citizen who refuses a UID is completely at the state government's discretion," the principal secretary, IT, pointed out.

Article 21 of the Constitution clearly states that every citizen has the right to liberty.

The personal information furnished by citizens for the UID will be stored in a common government database, which could easily be misused.

The Union government, sources added, is in no hurry to assign UIDs and is planning a gradual implementation of the scheme.

The pace notwithstanding, the Centre would like to ensure that every Indian gets an identification number, which, some government officials believe, is imperative for security-related issues.

In due course, the government could ensure that a UID is required for even simple tasks like opening a bank account, filing income tax returns, applying for a passport or a driving licence.

The government plans to complete this entire process in the next five years.

After the government issues a circular in local newspapers citizens will need to go to the enrolment office with evidence that they are Indian citizens, and proof of their age etc.

S/he will be fingerprinted and photographed at the enrolment office.

The UID card will be issued in 20 days.

ALSO SEE: The first UID holders and their stories
Why the UID number project must be scrapped
UID: All you want to know about and how to apply for it
Meet the nation's first UID holders

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Vicky Nanjappa