The Telangana High Court on Tuesday directed the state government not to collect details such as Aadhaar, caste, etc for the registration and updation of land records in the Dharani website. According to reports, it is mandatory for the public to upload their Aadhaar number in order to continue with the registration of the land on Dharani. Dharani is a web portal, launched by the Telangana government recently for the maintenance of digital records of agricultural and non-agricultural lands in Telangana.
According to Times of India , the court told the government that it cannot insist on people furnishing data such as Aadhaar, caste, details of family members etc. The court observed that there are existing instructions from the Supreme Court that authorities should not collect details of Aadhaar, caste etc and the same is against the Aadhaar Act as well.
As registrations through Dharani have already begun, the Court has also directed that the government that the data shared so far by the public should not be shared with any third party. It stated that the government should ensure that the data is not compromised, which is a threat to the right to privacy of the public.
According to media reports, the court was hearing two separate Public Interest litigation (PILs) one of them is filed by advocates Gopal Sharma and Saketh Kasibhatla and another writ petition filed by K Anand Kumar. The PILs were challenging the legal validity of the collection of personal details by the Dharani portal. According to a New Indian Express report, petitioner Gopal Sharma also informed the court that there is no provision in the New Revenue Act to collect Aadhaar and other details for land records.
As per the TOI report, the court has also referred to media reports saying that Dharani website was hacked and questioned the government, how would the details of the public would be protected in such circumstances.
The court has given two weeks time to the state to detail what safety mechanisms are in place to protect the data submitted by the public.