However, in a clarification issued on Friday evening, the government noted that it would not be made mandatory to obtain a death certificate.
The home ministry had said that it would be applicable for the residents of all states except Jammu and Kashmir, Assam and Meghalaya, for which a date would be notified separately.
“The Aadhaar number will be required for the purpose of establishing the identity of the deceased for the purpose of death registration with effect from October 1,” a notification issued by the home ministry stated.
The office of the Registrar General, which functions under the home ministry, said the use of Aadhaar will result in ensuring accuracy of the details provided by the relatives or dependents or acquaintances of the deceased.
“It will provide an effective method to prevent identity fraud. It will also help in recording the identity of the deceased person. Further, it will obviate the need for producing multiple documents to prove the identity of the deceased person,” it said.
The Registrar General has directed all states and Union Territories to ensure compliance by the registration authorities concerned and send a confirmation on or before September 1.
Aadhaar Death 101
At what point of registering a death will an Aadhaar number be necessary?
It is applicable at two stages, according to the home ministry’s notification. Firstly, if an applicant is applying for a death certificate for the deceased, she will be required to provide the Aadhaar number or enrolment ID number of the deceased.
What happens if the deceased didn’t register for an Aadhaar number before death?
Contrary to some speculation, the office of the Registrar General of India (RGI) will not refuse to register a death or issue a certificate. If the deceased did indeed not apply for an Aadhaar number before death, the applicant will be required to provide a written undertaking that the “deceased person does not possess Aadhaar number”.
The notification points out that “any false declarations” will be “treated as an offence as per the provisions of the Aadhaar Act, 2016 and the Registration of Birth and Death Act, 1969”.
Perhaps the most onerous requirement is that if a person is applying for the death certificate of a deceased, the applicant’s Aadhaar number will also be collected along with the Aadhaar number of the deceased’s spouse and parents.
In its clarification on Friday evening, the government noted that Aadhaar would not be made mandatory. The phrasing of the notification – which states everywhere that “Applicants are required” or “Aadhaar numbers are required” – still remains confusing and perhaps contradictory.
Does the RGI and state chief registrars actually plan on checking?
The home ministry’s stated goal is to help cut down on death fraud and identity fraud in general. But does the central and state authorities plan on following through to make sure the Aadhaar number is accurate? They can do this in two ways. One, by verifying the deceased’s biometrics, which would be gruesome. Or two, by cross-checking through a number of parallel databases that several central government agencies are building.
With inputs from PTI
Note: This article was edited at 12 50 PM on Saturday. The government’s clarification on Friday evening that Aadhaar is not mandatory for obtaining a death certificate or for the death registration process was added.