unique identification

No, you don’t need Aadhaar to be declared dead – but you can’t get a death certificate without one

The Ministry of Home Affairs says the measure will help prevent identity fraud.

The Home Ministry on Friday issued a notification saying Aadhaar would be mandatory for the registration of deaths, starting October 1. The ministry said that this rule will “provide an effective method to prevent identity fraud” and ordered the provisions to come into effect for all states excepting Jammu & Kashmir, Assam and Meghalaya, for which the rules will be notified later.

Aadhaar, the Indian government’s massive project to provide every resident with a 12-digit unique identity number attached to their biometric data, has become mandatory for a huge number of government services over the past year. This is despite the validity of the project and its impact on privacy being challenged in the Supreme Court.The government now requires the 12-digit number for everything from bank accounts to kerosene subsidies to TB patients who are due cash assistance. In Haryana, it has become virtually mandatory for birth certificates. And now, it seems, the government has extended Aadhaar from the cradle to the grave as well.

Online, there was plenty of discussion over what this means – and particularly what would happen if a dead person does not have Aadhaar.

The actual text of the notification however, is a little more nuanced. You can indeed die without an Aadhaar, but it will be difficult for your next of kin or guardians to get a death certificate if they do not have the 12-digit unique identity.

“An applicant applying for death certificate is required to provide Aadhaar number or Enrolment ID Number (EID) of the deceased and other details as sought in the application for death certificate for the purpose of establishing the identity of the deceased.” 

Simply put, if you are trying to get a death certificate, you need to provide the Aadhaar number or Aadhaar enrollment number of the person who has died. But what if they don’t have the unique ID, or you do not know their number?

“An applicant who is not aware of the Aadhaar number or Enrolment ID Number (EID) of the deceased will be required to provide a certificate that the deceased person does not possess Aadhaar to the best of his/her knowledge and it should be duly informed and also prescribed that any false declaration given by the applicant in this regard will be treated as offence as per provisions of the Aadhaar Act 2016, and also Registration of Birth and Death Act, 1969.” 

So if you do not know the person’s Aadhaar, or they don’t have one, you need to put this down in writing before you can get the death certificate. And if you are found to have lied about this, that counts as a legal offence.

“Applicant’s Aadhaar number shall also be collected along with the Aadhaar number of the spouse or parents.” 

This is the actual mandatory part. Anyone applying for a death certificate must provide their Aadhaar number. There is no option to get one without an Aadhaar, and the applicant is require to provide the Aadhaar of deceased’s spouse or parents as well. The notification doesn’t however say what will happen if the applicant doesn’t provide Aadhaar, though it does use the word ‘shall’ indicating that it is mandatory.

According to a report by the Central Bureau of Health Intelligence dating back to 2006, it is estimated that of the 9 million deaths that occur in India every year, only about 48% are registered. That is true despite it being mandatory under law, via the Registration of Births & Deaths Act, 1969, for every death to be registered within 21 days of it occurrence.

Now that requirement has become even more exacting, since it will require the quoting of, for the most part, the Aadhaar of both the person who is applying for the certificate as well as that of the deceased. The notification says it will be an offence for anyone who deliberately hides the Aadhaar number of the dead person while applying for the certificate, but it is yet unclear how the government will verify if someone had knowledge of a family member’s possession of Aadhaar.

The Unique Identity Authority of India, which oversees the Aadhaar scheme, has in the past told people not to share their document number or a printed copy of the UID with “anyone,” though it now seems nearly mandatory for family members or spouses to share their Aadhaar with each other.

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Advice from an ex-robber on how to keep your home safe

Tips on a more hands-on approach of keeping your house secure.

Home, a space that is entirely ours, holds together our entire world. Where our children grow-up, parents grow old and we collect a lifetime of memories, home is a feeling as much as it’s a place. So, what do you do when your home is eyed by miscreants who prowl the neighbourhood night and day, plotting to break in? Here are a few pre-emptive measures you can take to make your home safe from burglars:

1. Get inside the mind of a burglar

Before I break the lock of a home, first I bolt the doors of the neighbouring homes. So that, even if someone hears some noise, they can’t come to help.

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Burglars study the neighbourhood to keep a check on the ins and outs of residents and target homes that can be easily accessed. Understanding how the mind of a burglar works might give insights that can be used to ward off such danger. For instance, burglars judge a house by its front doors. A house with a sturdy door, secured by an alarm system or an intimidating lock, doesn’t end up on the burglar’s target list. Upgrade the locks on your doors to the latest technology to leave a strong impression.

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2. Survey your house from inside out to scout out weaknesses

Whether it’s a dodgy back door, a misaligned window in your parent’s room or the easily accessible balcony of your kid’s room, identify signs of weakness in your home and fix them. Any sign of neglect can give burglars the idea that the house can be easily robbed because of lax internal security.

3. Think like Kevin McCallister from Home Alone

You don’t need to plant intricate booby traps like the ones in the Home Alone movies, but try to stay one step ahead of thieves. Keep your car keys on your bed-stand in the night so that you can activate the car alarm in case of unwanted visitors. When out on a vacation, convince the burglars that the house is not empty by using smart light bulbs that can be remotely controlled and switched on at night. Make sure that your newspapers don’t pile up in front of the main-door (a clear indication that the house is empty).

4. Protect your home from the outside

Collaborate with your neighbours to increase the lighting around your house and on the street – a well-lit neighbourhood makes it difficult for burglars to get-away, deterring them from targeting the area. Make sure that the police verification of your hired help is done and that he/she is trustworthy.

While many of us take home security for granted, it’s important to be proactive to eliminate even the slight chance of a robbery. As the above videos show, robbers come up with ingenious ways to break in to homes. So, take their advice and invest in a good set of locks to protect your doors. Godrej Locks offer a range of innovative locks that are un-pickable and un-duplicable. To secure your house, see here.

The article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Godrej Locks and not by the Scroll editorial team.