By Elton Gomes
The Supreme Court was told on Wednesday that the Centre will soon introduce a plan linking driving licenses with Aadhar cards in an attempt to do away with fake licenses. A software for the move to take shape is under preparation.
A court-appointed committee on road safety headed by Justice K. S. Radhakrishnan informed the Supreme Court bench comprising Justices Madan Lokur and Deepak Gupta about the development.
Union Minister for Law and Justice and Information Technology, Ravi Shankar Prasad, stated that the Centre is assessing the plan to link driving licenses with Aadhar and will introduce it soon. The Union Minister is in talks with highway minister Nitin Gadkari about the same.
The Union Minister was of the opinion that a drunk driver would be caught easily if his or her driver’s license is linked to their Aadhar cards. “I am in conversation with Union Minister Nitin Gadkari to link Aadhaar card with (driving) licence, so that if a drunk driver escapes from one state to another by killing people, he would be caught. A person can change name not his/her fingerprints,” Prasad told the media.
The Aadhar debate
In 2017, speaking at the Digital Haryana Summit, Prasad justified the Centre’s decision to link Aadhar with PAN cards, “Aadhaar is a digital identity not a physical identity. Digital identity confirms physical identity. We linked PAN card to Aadhaar to stop money laundering.”
However, the general public was dissatisfied as the government sought to make Aadhar linking compulsory to avail several services. More importantly, the public’s private data was at stake here. In January 2018, a report in the Tribune alleged that the government had given over 1 lakh service providers access to private Aadhar details.
The linking of Aadhar card with various services has produced significant debate, with several privacy concerns being raised in the process. The Indian government has mandated the linking of Aadhar cards to avail a host of services. However, as of March 14, linking Aadhar with bank accounts, SIM cards, and other financial services was not mandatory after the Supreme Court “indefinitely” extended this deadline.
However, an Aadhar card is still be needed for availing government subsidies, opening a new bank account, and for applying for tatkal passports.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius.