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India’s high court requests UIDAI to use Aadhaar biometrics to ID accident victims

India’s high court requests UIDAI to use Aadhaar biometrics to ID accident victims

India’s High Court (HC) is asking the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) as well as the Delhi city government to help with the identification of victims of road accidents using the biometric information held by the Central Identities Data Repository (CIDR).

The CIDR, a database under the authority of the UIDAI, is responsible for managing the biometric information used for the Aadhaar biometric ID system.

According to many Indian news portals, the HC wants UIDAI in the matter as amicus curiae – an individual or organization not directly involved in a lawsuit, but who can be invited to advise a court on issues related to an ongoing case.

The UIDAI has had similar requests in the past, but has expressed unwillingness to collaborate. It remains unclear if it will respect the HC order and file the response before the next session of the case billed for 27 September, 2022, reports The Print.

UIDAI has been refusing to collaborate on this request, banking on the provisions of Sections 29 and 33 of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidiaries Benefits and Service) Act 2016 as amended by Aadhaar (and other laws) Amendment Act 2019, the outlet writes.

In the court order issued on 17 August, the judges, who acted following a reference from the presiding officer of the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal (MACT), Kamini Lau, says “in view of the legal issue involved, vis-à-vis identification of unidentified dead bodies at the time of motor accidents, Prashanto Chandra Sen, senior advocate is requested to appear as Amicus Curiae and assist this court.”

The MACT is requesting clarification on certain issues on the identification of road accident using specific characteristics, apparently biometric, held by the CIDR. This, as most often, they have had to deal with contentious situations while handling accident claim cases, often related to the clear identity of the victim(s), notes The Print.

“In cases of victims of crime particularly where a person has expired in an accident, the right relating to benefit of insurance accrues for the dependents of the deceased and hence, there is a need to ensure that the benefit of insurance is duly secured for the dependents of the deceased victim,” reads the reference statement from MACT, as quoted by The Print.

The statement says that thus far, the tribunals have been hindered by “the complete non-cooperation of UIDAI.”

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