Mumbai: Show me your Aadhaar card, Khar hospital tells parents of newborn
When parents refused to provide details for birth certificate, city-based hospital told them to sign a declaration form saying they don't have it.
From getting a gas cylinder connection to donating blood, Aadhaar card is the sole proof of identification that counts, and now it's important for getting a birth certificate issued as well. While the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has kept it optional, Hinduja Healthcare Hospital in Khar, however, is quite insistent on getting the Aadhaar details of parents of newborn babies to issue birth certificates. If they can't, then they are asked to sign a declaration form that they do not have the identification card, and if the declaration turns out to be false, it is treated as an offence under the provisions of Aadhaar Act 2016 and The Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969.
Parents who don't wish to give out their Aadhaar details consider this rule to be unfair. Similar was the case of Candice Martins, who delivered a baby girl last week. Her whole experience at the hospital ended on a sour note when the administration insisted that the parents of the child should provide their Aadhaar details.
When Martins and her husband voiced their reluctance to do so, the hospital asked them to sign a form that says that they don't have Aadhaar cards and "if the above declaration is false, it will be treated as an offence under the provision of Aadhaar Act 2016 and also The Registration of Births and Deaths Act".
"We have never been comfortable sharing our Aadhaar details unless it's absolutely necessary. It was quite inconvenient since the administration staff told my husband that he would have to personally go to the ward office and give a letter that he doesn't want to share the Aadhaar details. Why should the hospital ask for it when the rule says it's not compulsory?" she said, adding that it was an unfortunate experience since she was happy with the quality of healthcare the hospital provided.
Civic officials from the Public Health department confirmed that providing Aadhaar card details for birth certificate was not mandatory. However, hospitals have been instructed to ask for Aadhaar details as per the government's directions.
"There is no such form for parents of newborn babies. We have a form for taking the details of deceased people so that records can be updated for deletion. For birth certificates, we just require the name of the parents," said the official. Another senior official from the health department said that the government had tried to include Aadhaar details in birth certificates but later backed out of it after objections were raised.
When contacted, Sushil Menon, head of marketing of Hinduja Healthcare, said that they ask for Aadhaar details as the BMC asks for the information. "The patient's comfort is of utmost importance. If there is anything that is brought to our notice, it will be addressed. Since the Aadhaar details were part of the BMC form, the same was being asked for. On checking with the civic authorities, we were informed that it is optional and the same has been conveyed to our team members. We are more than happy to go by the understanding of the BMC authorities and implement the same as part of our process," he said.
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