Before accepting Aadhaar either in physical or electronic form as the proof of identity of an individual, entities should verify if it is genuine, the UIDAI said on Thursday.
The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) said the verification of Aadhaar number, following the consent of the Aadhaar holder, is the right step to establish the genuineness of any form of Aadhaar (Aadhaar letter, e-Aadhaar, Aadhaar PVC card, and m-Aadhaar) presented by the individual concerned.
In a statement, the Union ministry of Electronics and IT said verification of Aadhaar prohibits 'unscrupulous elements and anti-social elements' from indulging in any possible misuse of the identification document. It also promotes usage hygiene and reasserts the UIDAI's stand that any 12-digit number is not Aadhaar.
Tampering with Aadhaar documents can be detected through offline verification, the statement said, adding that tampering is a punishable offence and liable to penalties under Section 35 of the Aadhaar Act.
The UIDAI has also stressed the need for verification before usage, urging states to issue necessary directions so that whenever Aadhaar is submitted as a proof of identity, authentication or verification of the holder is done by the entity concerned.
The Authority has also issued circular asking entities authorised to carry out authentication verification. It has also emphasised on the necessity of verification while specifying the protocol to be followed, according to the statement.
Further, according to the statement, any form of Aadhaar -- Aadhaar letter, e-Aadhaar, Aadhaar PVC card, and m-Aadhaar -- can be verified using the QR codes on them, using the mAadhaar application or Aadhaar QR code scanner. The QR code scanner is available for free downloads on Android and iOS-based mobile phones, as well as window-based applications.
Residents may also voluntarily use their Aadhaar numbers to establish their identity by presenting their Aadhaar-- in either paper or electronic form -- the statement said, adding that UIDAI had already issued dos and don'ts for residents to prevent misuse of the identification document.
(With Inputs from ANI)