When a Young Father Is Denied Alleged Updated Aadhaar Details of Minor Daughter under RTI
The Right to Information (RTI) Act is not only invoked for civic and social issues; more and more applications are being filed for information related to marital discord. For example, details of income tax returns and property tax of the estranged spouse are common and are often denied and now, a father’s bid to procure the alleged updated Aadhaar details of his little daughter has come a cropper.
 
Central information commissioner Heeralal Samariya, last fortnight, dismissing the father’s request (whose wife is separated and is living in her parents’ home along with their daughter) for information under section 6 of the RTI Act, ordered that “RTI Act is not the proper law for redressal of grievances/ disputes and there are other appropriate forum (s) for resolving such matters.”
 
The applicant (name withheld)’s argument that the RTI Act overrules the Aadhar Act of 2016 (amended in 2019) was stonewalled by CIC Samariya. He explained in his order that the RTI applicant argued that under section 22 of the RTI Act, the sunshine law overrides other laws. 
 
CIC Samariya referred to a Supreme Court (SC) decision in the case of Bank of India vs Ketan Prakash, in which the SC noted that if two laws have conflicting provisions and there is no direct contradiction, the provisions of the newer law take precedence. Therefore, the Aadhaar Act of 2016 (amended in 2019), being the newer law, should take priority over the older RTI Act of 2005, he observed.
 
Earlier, after the CPIO (central public information officer) of the unique identification authority of India (UIDAI), Chandigarh on 4 December 2022 denied the information, the RTI applicant approached the first appellate authority (FAA). The FAA, upholding the PIO’s denial, stated that “The information sought cannot be disclosed as per section 28 (5) of the Aadhaar Act, 2016.” 
 
The appellant was also advised to approach an appropriate forum for redressal of his personal grievances.
 
During the second appeal hearing on 6 June 2024, CIC Samariya also referred to a similar requisition to the UIDAI regional office of Mumbai which upheld the submission of the CPIO and found the denial of furnishing information justified and apt even under Section  8(1)(j) of the RTI Act, 2005. 
 
The CIC observed that “The question regarding disclosure of information of minor child could not be decided solely on the basis of the legal rights of the parties but on the sole criterion of the interest and welfare of the minor and it was also considered in the case as to who had the physical custody of the minor. In the instant case, at the time of replying to the first appeal, it was learnt that there is a court case pending before the appropriate court regarding the custody of the minor child and the mother had the physical custody of the child.”
 
CIC Samariya also noted in his order that “Such documents carry the address of the resident. Notwithstanding that UIDAI regulation 28 (5) do not permit the sharing of data stored in CIDR: had such information been shared with anyone, it would have also attracted sections 8 (1)(g) and 8 (1) (j) of RTI Act, 2005 as such disclosure would be an invasion of some other resident’s privacy.”
 
The appellant filed an RTI application with the CPIO, UIDAI, Chandigarh on 4 December 2022, seeking information on several points:
1. Whether the address in his minor daughter xxxxxxx’s Aadhaar no. xxxxxxxxx has been changed and, if so, to provide the new address along with a copy of the Aadhaar.

2. Whether the mobile number linked to his daughter’s Aadhaar has been altered and, if so, to provide the new mobile number now linked with the card.

3. Whether it is possible to change the name of the living father and head of the family in the Aadhaar of a minor/ unmarried daughter, and under what circumstances the name of the living father, who is the natural guardian, can be changed in the minor child's Aadhaar.

4. Who can replace the living father and head of the family in the Aadhaar of a minor unmarried daughter, and what documents are needed to effect changes of address, mobile number, and the head of the family in the minor child's Aadhaar.

5. Who applied for the changes/alterations, what changes/alterations were made in the Aadhaar of his minor daughter, and what documents were submitted with the application for these changes/alterations.

6. Whether it is true that an application for biometrics and changes/ alterations to address, mobile number, and head of family in the Aadhaar of his daughter xxxxxxxx was made on 1 October 2022.

7. Whether it is true that no OTP is sent to the registered mobile or email linked to the Aadhaar of a minor while undertaking the first-time biometrics (when the biometrics were not previously taken because the child was below five years old).

8. Whether it is true that no OTP is sent to the registered mobile or email linked to the Aadhaar of a minor while making changes/alterations to the address, mobile number and head of family in the Aadhaar.

9. Who is the responsible person in UIDAI for making these changes in the Aadhaar, and to provide the name and designation of the authorised person in UIDAI regarding this matter.
 
 
(Vinita Deshmukh is consulting editor of Moneylife. She is also the convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting, which she won twice in 1998 and 2005 and the Chameli Devi Jain Award for outstanding media person for her investigation series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book "To The Last Bullet - The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte" with Vinita Kamte and is the author of "The Mighty Fall".)
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