“It will be like a fancy number plate of a car,” said counsel Zoheb Hossain, representing UIDAI before Justice Rekha Palli who was hearing a plea alleging that the petitioner's personal details including Aadhaar number have been compromised.
The counsel stated that the existing framework provided “layers of safeguard” to Aadhaar cardholders and if allowed, “there will be a large number of people” seeking change of their Aadhaar numbers.
He also suggested that the petitioner update his mobile and email address to ensure the exclusive use of his present Aadhaar number.
On an earlier occasion, UIDAI had said that the moment an Aadhaar number is issued, the person concerned and the number are “locked together for life”.
The court had, however, responded that had that been the case, power would not have been given to UIDAI under Section 23(n) of the Aadhaar (Targeted delivery of Financial and other subsidies, benefits and services) Act of 2016 to lay down conditions and procedure for issuance of new Aadhaar number for exiting holders.
It had nonetheless agreed that an Aadhaar number could not be changed “at the whims and fancies” of a user.
The petitioner, a businessman, had approached the court for the issuance of a new Aadhaar number, saying that he was facing difficulties in his business on account of the existing Aadhaar being linked to the overseas entity.
In the petition filed through advocates Sonal Anand and Surabhi Singh, the petitioner informed the court that his Aadhaar number was found to be linked with certain overseas entities unknown to him.
The petitioner also prayed for mechanism and procedure for issuance of a new number to existing cardholders, directions for protection of the fundamental right of privacy and prevention of further breach and damages.
The petitioner said that he requested UIDAI to issue him a new Aadhaar number in light of a serious threat to his identity, which was turned down on the ground that no resident could have a duplicate Aadhaar number and that there was no process for issuance of a new Aadhaar number to any citizen.
The matter would be heard next in January.