A Critique of the Aadhaar Legal Framework

31 NSLIR Rev 1-23 (2019)

23 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2019

See all articles by Vrinda Bhandari

Vrinda Bhandari


Renuka Sane

National Institute of Public Finance and Policy

Date Written: July 10, 2019


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 performance of the UIDAI difficult to measure. Regulations relating to grievance redressal and enforcement are also weak.

Keywords: Aadhaar, UIDAI, excessive delegation, accountability, grievance redress, privacy, India, digital identity, biometric, regulation

JEL Classification: K2, K4

Suggested Citation

Bhandari, Vrinda and Sane, Renuka, A Critique of the Aadhaar Legal Framework (July 10, 2019). 31 NSLIR Rev 1-23 (2019), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3417542

Renuka Sane

National Institute of Public Finance and Policy ( email )

18/2, Satsang Vihar Marg
New Delhi, 110067

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