#ParliamentUpdate: The Registration of Births and Deaths (Amendment) Bill, 2023 passed in the Lok Sabha

The Registration of Births and Deaths (Amendment) Bill, 2023 passed in the Lok Sabha today at 3:24 PM after only 22 minutes of being taken up for consideration.

Sangeeta Azad, MP highlighted case studies from her constituency where alive persons were declared dead and owing to interlinking of government data, they were excluded from gaining access to benefits from government schemes.

Asaduddin Owaisi, MP opposed the bill as it does not support transparency & violates right to privacy. As the bill proposes to establish a central database to be utilised by all govt. scheme it does not meet the purpose limitation standard laid down under the Puttaswamy judgement.

He further said that data collected under the Aadhaar Act, Passport Act, Motor Vehicle Act etc. are limited to a specific purpose and interlinking of such diverse databases also violates purpose limitation which is at the heart of the right to privacy.

Puttaswamy judgment requires a statute to be in place for any state action to collect data, he said that there exists no statute for the population register & this was an attempt to introduce the National Register for Citizens through the backdoor & thus unconstitutional.

The MP further claimed that linking of databases created under the bill is likely to lead to voter suppression and targeted disenfranchisement. The bill did not meet the 3-fold test of legality, necessity and proportionality laid down in the Puttaswamy judgement.

Such a centralised database will lead to the creation of mass surveillance infrastructure and will be used for profiling, targeting and discrimination against Indian citizens.

He also said that since 38% of children under the age of 5 do not have a birth certificate & only 56.4% people have registered births in rural areas as per the 4th National Family Survey, the bill will make access to govt. schemes more difficult for those in rural areas.

Lastly, the MP said that the bill will allow the govt. to target and delete genuine voters creating an exclusive criterion for 2026 delimitation. Based on the aforementioned, the MP wished the bill be sent to the relevant Parliamentary Standing Committee.