Elderly scientist with disabled son petitions Supreme Court to delink biometric ID from Aadhaar for senior citizens

81-year-old P.V. Manoranjan Rao is a worried man. For 54 years, his son Chandrasekhar has not been able to move from his bed.

This is because Chandrasekhar was born with a 97% physical and mental disability. He cannot communicate with anyone and his parents have taken care of him all his life.

Mr Rao says his son is likely to live longer than him and wants to make arrangements so Chandrasekhar is provided for after he and his wife pass away.

However, all his attempts to make some arrangement have failed.

In 2017, Mr Rao tried to add his son's name to one of his bank accounts, so that Chandrasekhar could be looked after without Rao and his wife Anjali's active involvement.

But Mr Rao's fingerprints could not be read by the bank's biometric machine. As a result, he could not link his account to Aadhaar and add his son's name.

He tried to get an Aadhaar card for his son, but officials were unable to record Chandrasekhar's fingerprints and iris scan. Chandrasekhar's application for Aadhaar is still under process.

Biometric authentication is important for the Aadhaar card. Yet, most biometrics, especially fingerprints, degrade with age. This makes it hard for machines to recognize and match the prints of the elderly.

For senior citizens like Mr Rao, this means he and his disabled son could soon be locked out of their bank accounts.

Mr Rao has now petitioned the Supreme Court to allow Indians over 75 years of age to access Aadhaar services without biometric authentication. He has asked that senior citizens only produce a self-certified copy of their Aadhaar card to access services.

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