PIB Press Release Error Made Aadhaar Mandatory for Driving Licence

Press Information Bureau admitted its error in stating that Aadhaar has been made mandatory, and rectified it. 

Updated02 Aug 2019, 08:01 AM IST
Tech and Auto
2 min read

On 31 July, after the Rajya Sabha passed the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2019, as per protocol, an official press release followed. Issued by the Press Information Bureau, the document was perfectly routine until one scrolled down to the portion which officially announced the Aadhaar having been made mandatory to obtain driving licences.

Under a section titled ‘Reforms in Driving Licences’, the press release mentioned, “provision of online identity verification Aadhar Card has been made mandatory for making Driving Licences.”

However, when The Quint analysed the amended Bill, it found no such provision specifying the mandatory nature of Aadhaar. Moreover, in the Supreme Court verdict on Aadhaar’s Constitutional validity, a five-judge Bench had pronounced that Aadhaar cannot be made mandatory for anything other than subsidies and taxes.

So, where did this come from?

When The Quint contacted the Press Information Bureau (PIB) seeking clarification, a senior official admitted that the sentence had been erroneously inserted. 
The original press release on 31 July announcing the mandatory identity verification for driving licences using Aadhaar.
The original press release on 31 July announcing the mandatory identity verification for driving licences using Aadhaar.
(Photo Courtesy: PIB)

While it is hardly a secret that Aadhaar will eventually be adopted by the Ministry, the officer, admitting to the error, said that it had been an inadvertent oversight by the staff and will be rectified.

Around 6 pm on Thursday, the same press release, Rajya Sabha passes Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2019, was updated with the mention of Aadhaar having been removed.

Clarifying further, the officer said that identity verification of applicants has been made mandatory under the amended Motor Vehicles Bill but admitted that the Bill does not specify anything about Aadhaar.

“In a hurry to get the press release out, the portion about Aadhaar got inadvertently mentioned. It should have been deleted,” the officer told The Quint.

Referring to some repetitions in the press release, the officer added, “However, if you look at the press release, the same point about online identity verification has been stated in a different section but without the mention of Aadhaar.”

What the Motor Vehicle Amendment Actually Says

The amended Motor Vehicles Bill provides for the Central government to make rules for verifying identity of driving licence applicants. It is likely that Aadhaar will be used for this purpose but the move is yet to formalised and notified.

Moreover, even if Aadhaar is used for identity verification purposes, it cannot be made mandatory because there is no state subsidy or benefit involved.

The Bill amends Section 27 of the Motor Vehicles Act by inserting the clause “The manner in which a licensing authority may verify the identity of the applicant under the third proviso to sub-section (6) of section 8.”

Section 8 of the Motor Vehicles Act grants Power of Central Government to make rules.

Minister for Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari had mentioned in the Lok Sabha on 15 July that once the President of India gives his assent to the Aadhaar Amendment Bill, “Our department will also link Aadhaar” with the e-governance provisions of the Bill. 

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Published: 01 Aug 2019, 03:08 PM IST
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