India moves to make Aadhaar-based authentication mandatory for real estate deals

In an effort to combat fraudulent transactions and the use of black market money in real estate agreements, the Indian government is planning to make Aadhaar-based authentication mandatory when signing documents such as agreement for sale, power of attorney and will, according to a report by The Indian Express.

The government has also established plans to enable electronic registration of properties, for which Aadhaar authentication will be a necessary requirement

According to sources, the government plans to amend Sections 32 and 32A of the Registration Act, 1908, to support Aadhaar-enabled authentication of documents.

Sources said a draft of the amendments will be sent to the Union Cabinet and Parliament for approval.

“Every person presenting a document at the property registration office for registration, shall, whether executing or claiming under the same, undergo Aadhaar authentication,” said a source.

The new move is intended to ensure ironclad property titles for buyers, as well as reduce the number of fraudulent and benami transactions.

The department of land resources, under the Ministry of Rural Development, has already written to state governments and Union Territories, ordering them to alert participants of the rules mandating “consent-based Aadhaar authentication” when registering documents.

The Aadhaar law allows the Central Identities Data Repository, under the UIDAI, to offer authentication services.

“The Authority shall perform authentication of the Aadhaar number of an Aadhaar number holder submitted by any requesting entity, in relation to his biometric information or demographic information, subject to such conditions and on payment of such fees and in such manner as may be specified by regulations,” according to Section 8 of The Aadhaar Act, 2016.

In late July, India’s Supreme Court heard from several petitions challenging the legality of the Aadhaar project in order to determine whether citizens are entitled to privacy as a fundamental right.

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