Letter to Telangana Government Against Mandatory Aadhaar Data for Non-Agricultural Land Records


As Telangana's Dharani Portal goes live today, we wrote to Government of Telangana against mandatory Aadhaar requirement and caste details for updating non-agricultural property records. These details have to be updated on Telangana State Non Agricultural Property Book mobile application. The manual for this application also provides for mandatory updation of Aadhaar and caste details of persons. The said steps have been undertaken under the newly passed Revenue Bill, 2020 by the Telangana Assembly which is yet to receive Governor's assent.

We wrote to Government to Telangana that they are in violation of the judgment of the Supreme Court in Justice Puttaswamy v. Union of India (2019 (1) SCC 1)wherein it was held that Aadhaar is mandatory only for:

a. filing IT returns; and

b.for availing government subsidies from the Consolidated Fund of India.

The Supreme Court also struck down S. 57 of the Aadhaar Act which permitted use of Aadhaar by the State or any body corporate or person, in pursuance to any contract. The Supreme Court categorically recognized certain data protection principles such as data minimization, purpose limitation , data retention and data security as relevant factors in determining whether the provisions of particular legislation are in conformance with an individual's right to privacy. The State of Telangana has not justified this in the terms of any of these principles.

It is also unclear as to why and how caste data, even though required in broad categories, is relevant in the context of digitisation of non-agricultural property records. 

Through this letter, we have urged the government of Telangana to reconsider these steps and to follow principles of data proportionality and minimisation.