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Indian state court to consider unblocking biometrics to allow Aadhaar registration

biometric fingerprint data

The High Court of Assam, India in Gauhati will consider whether the biometrics of a father-son pair who petitioned the court must be unlocked to enable them to apply for an Aadhaar digital identity, the Hindustan Times reports.

The petitioner’s biometrics were blocked after being collected for the National Register of Citizens (NRC), as were those of the approximately 2,743,000 people in Assam collected during the claims and objections phase of process, according to the Times.

The petitioners filed applications, along with several other members of their household, which were submitted to the NRC in 2015, but they were not included in the Complete Draft published in 2018. They informed the NRC and their biometrics were collected during a hearing, but a supplementary list published on August 31, 2019 still did not include them.

In the petition Sanjoy Dey wrote that the locked biometrics, by preventing the issuance of Aadhaar, are depriving him and his family of basic rights.

That claim will be heard this week by Justice Manash Ranjan Pathak.

A similar lawsuit was rejected last year, with the same judge ruling that appeals must wait until the final NRC list for Assam has been published.

An NRC coordinator told the Hindustan Times that until the Registrar General of India approves the final NRC list, biometrics can only be unblocked by a decision from the Supreme Court which changes the applicable laws. An NRC coordinator had urged Assam’s government to unblock the biometrics of 3.8 million people who were excluded from Aadhaar as of late-2020.

In the meantime, the Registrar General’s office and the state of Assam have argued over the NRC deadline and funding to complete the process.

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