Volume 31 > No 4

A Critique of the Aadhaar Legal Framework

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—Vrinda Bhandari and Renuka Sane*

This paper critically examines the legal framework consisting of the Aadhaar Act, the Aadhaar Ordinance, and the Aadhaar Regulations from the perspective of accountability, delegation, and grievance redressal and enforcement. The paper finds that much is delegated to the Unique Identification Authority of India (‘UIDAI’) without adequate checks and balances. The UIDAI has further delegated the setting of several standards and procedures to its future self, suggesting that the process is operating in a legal vacuum. The accountability framework of the UIDAI remains weak and beset with conflict of interest, as there are no statutorily mandated accountability standards. This makes the perfor- mance of the UIDAI difficult to measure. Regulations relating to grievance redressal and enforcement are also weak.

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