New Delhi, Aug. 4: The Centre has made Aadhaar cards mandatory for the registration of deaths in all states barring Jammu and Kashmir, Assam and Meghalaya from October 1 to prevent "identity fraud".
Other than the Aadhaar number of the deceased, the same data of the applicant and the spouse or parents of the dead will also be required for the collection of the death certificate.
"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 Union home ministry said.
It said the use of the Aadhaar numbers or the enrolment IDs while applying for a death certificate would help ensure the accuracy of the details provided by relatives, dependants or acquaintances.
"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," the ministry notification said.
The ministry said the date for making Aadhaar cards mandatory for obtaining death certificates in Jammu and Kashmir, Meghalaya and Assam would be notified separately.
If the deceased did not possess an Aadhaar number or an enrolment ID, or the applicant lacks the data, he or she would have to submit an undertaking to this effect, the ministry said.
"Any false declaration given by the applicant in this regard will be treated as an offence as per the provisions of the Aadhaar Act, 2016, and also the Registration of Birth and Death Act, 1969," the notification added.
The maximum punishment for a false declaration will be a jail term of one to three years or a fine between Rs 10,000 and Rs 1 lakh.
The office of the registrar-general, which functions under the home ministry, has directed all the states and Union territories to confirm compliance by the registration authorities on or before September 1.
The order comes at a time the Supreme Court is hearing a batch of petitions assailing the Centre's efforts to make Aadhaar mandatory in almost all spheres of life.
The court is also looking into the question whether the right to privacy is a fundamental right.
The Centre's decision evoked frenzied activity on Twitter, with many users mocking the move with wisecracks and pictorial jokes.
"Please die before 30th September 2017, in case you don't have an Aadhaar card," one user tweeted.
"October 2: Man not acknowledged as dead for failing to provide #aadhaar number after dying," another tweet read.
"You can't die without Aadhaar. We have solved immortality, guys!" quipped yet another.
"If you didn't have Aadhaar when you died, you need to come back to life, get Aadhaar, then die again," a Twitter user wrote.
Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act, 2016, permits the use of the Aadhaar number to establish the identity of an individual for any purpose pursuant to any law or any contract.
The registration of births and deaths are done under the provisions of the Registration of Births and Deaths (RBD) Act, 1969, and the corresponding Rules introduced by the state governments.