The UIDAI has taken two successive governments in India and the entire world for a ride. It identifies nothing. It is not unique. The entire UID data has never been verified and audited. The UID cannot be used for governance, financial databases or anything. It’s use is the biggest threat to national security since independence. – Anupam Saraph 2018

When I opposed Aadhaar in 2010 , I was called a BJP stooge. In 2016 I am still opposing Aadhaar for the same reasons and I am told I am a Congress die hard. No one wants to see why I oppose Aadhaar as it is too difficult. Plus Aadhaar is FREE so why not get one ? Ram Krishnaswamy

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.-Mahatma Gandhi

In matters of conscience, the law of the majority has no place.Mahatma Gandhi

“The invasion of privacy is of no consequence because privacy is not a fundamental right and has no meaning under Article 21. The right to privacy is not a guaranteed under the constitution, because privacy is not a fundamental right.” Article 21 of the Indian constitution refers to the right to life and liberty -Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi

“There is merit in the complaints. You are unwittingly allowing snooping, harassment and commercial exploitation. The information about an individual obtained by the UIDAI while issuing an Aadhaar card shall not be used for any other purpose, save as above, except as may be directed by a court for the purpose of criminal investigation.”-A three judge bench headed by Justice J Chelameswar said in an interim order.

Legal scholarUsha Ramanathandescribes UID as an inverse of sunshine laws like the Right to Information. While the RTI makes the state transparent to the citizen, the UID does the inverse: it makes the citizen transparent to the state, she says.

Good idea gone bad
I have written earlier that UID/Aadhaar was a poorly designed, unreliable and expensive solution to the really good idea of providing national identification for over a billion Indians. My petition contends that UID in its current form violates the right to privacy of a citizen, guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. This is because sensitive biometric and demographic information of citizens are with enrolment agencies, registrars and sub-registrars who have no legal liability for any misuse of this data. This petition has opened up the larger discussion on privacy rights for Indians. The current Article 21 interpretation by the Supreme Court was done decades ago, before the advent of internet and today’s technology and all the new privacy challenges that have arisen as a consequence.Rajeev Chandrasekhar, MP Rajya Sabha

“What is Aadhaar? There is enormous confusion. That Aadhaar will identify people who are entitled for subsidy. No. Aadhaar doesn’t determine who is eligible and who isn’t,” Jairam Ramesh

But Aadhaar has been mythologised during the previous government by its creators into some technology super force that will transform governance in a miraculous manner. I even read an article recently that compared Aadhaar to some revolution and quoted a 1930s historian, Will Durant.Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Rajya Sabha MP

“I know you will say that it is not mandatory. But, it is compulsorily mandatorily voluntary,” Jairam Ramesh, Rajya Saba April 2017.

August 24, 2017: The nine-judge Constitution Bench rules that right to privacy is “intrinsic to life and liberty”and is inherently protected under the various fundamental freedoms enshrined under Part III of the Indian Constitution

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the World; indeed it's the only thing that ever has"

“Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.” -Edward Snowden

In the Supreme Court, Meenakshi Arora, one of the senior counsel in the case, compared it to living under a general, perpetual, nation-wide criminal warrant.

Had never thought of it that way, but living in the Aadhaar universe is like living in a prison. All of us are treated like criminals with barely any rights or recourse and gatekeepers have absolute power on you and your life.

Announcing the launch of the#BreakAadhaarChainscampaign, culminating with events in multiple cities on 12th Jan. This is the last opportunity to make your voice heard before the Supreme Court hearings start on 17th Jan 2018. In collaboration with @no2uidand@rozi_roti.

UIDAI's security seems to be founded on four time tested pillars of security idiocy

1) Denial

2) Issue fiats and point finger

3) Shoot messenger

4) Bury head in sand.

God Save India

Saturday, February 17, 2018

12828 - The protest by the four judges did little except turn SC into a den of gossip and intrigue - The Print

APURVA VISHWANATH 16 February, 2018

SC judge Jasti Chelameswar along with other judges addresses a press conference | PTI by Ravi Choudhary

Unless larger reforms are brought in, the only consequence of the press conference will be the loss of public trust in the judiciary.

It was a dramatic and unprecedented call-out event in the Indian judiciary when four senior judges held a press conference. But a month later, no big change has come about. Instead, the apex court has turned into a den of scandal, gossip, and insidious whispers.

The judges—J. Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B. Lokur and Kurian Joseph— invoked the nation’s conscience that the judiciary needs to get its house in order. But since then, the public has learnt little about what happened and even the judges have gone back to maintaining a stoic silence on what will follow if the issues are not addressed.

The controversy will not die just because the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra doesn’t officially respond. Except for what has appeared in the media, there is really no communication with the bar or the public. The only conversation in legal circles then has been reduced to speculation and rumour.

On 12 January, the four judges dramatically rose from the court at 11.45 am instead of the usual 2 pm and went to Justice Chelameswar’s residence. A crowd gathered in the corridor and saw the lights on the display board dim suddenly.

Four days after that Justice Chelameswar’s unannounced leave of absence added to the crisis. The usual protocol is that lawyers whose cases are listed before the judge who takes leave are informed in advance. It turned out that the judge had taken a sick leave but for a few hours it left everyone wondering if the judge was boycotting court.

In the following days, every action of the judge — from the time he entered the courtroom to the time he was allotted a case — was analysed in the context of the tussle between them.
After negotiations for a couple of weeks, the CJI did make public the roster for allocating work to judges. He also took it upon himself to hear all important cases, corking the issue of cases curiously being assigned to a particular judge.

While these measures may have ensured that the controversy did not swell further, it has no real or lasting effect on the systemic issues plaguing the judiciary.

For instance, there is still no protocol put in place for dealing with complaints against the office of the chief justice.
Unless larger reforms are brought in, the only consequence of the press conference will be the loss of public trust in the judiciary. Lawyers and even judges now talk in whispers in courtrooms on the events that followed the press conference.

As a result, the discourtesy, which is rare in the exchange between the bar and the bench, has never been sharper.

Some senior advocates would have brusque conversations with judges once in a while, but now almost every big case before the CJI now witnesses at least one hearing laced with commotion and rude commentary.

During the hearing on judge B.H. Loya’s death, senior advocate Dushyant Dave told the CJI that his case had “randomly been assigned to court 10 and was for some reason brought before the CJI again”. He was referring to the chief’s role in assigning this case to Arun Mishra first — an issue that perhaps was the latest trigger for holding the press conference.

The CJI did not engage with Dave on it but the collective sigh in the courtroom and awkward glances between other lawyers was hard to miss.

In another instance, Justice Misra had remarked that he is only a “junior judge who hears less significant cases”, when his courtroom was crowded on a particular day. His sarcastic remark was actually a pot-shot at the senior judges who complained that important cases were being assigned to him out of turn.

Justice Chandrachud has had to tell lawyers on several occasions to drop the banter. He has commented on lawyers being irreverent to the sanctity of a courtroom and lowering the discourse to that of a fish market.

But just days before he made the ‘fish market’ remark, senior lawyer Shyam Divan had said before a constitution bench hearing the cases related to the legality of Aadhaar that the judges who will rule in favour of the government will henceforth be known as “Aadhaar judges”.

Chandrachud, on that bench, was quick to retort that he would not mind being called a “nationalist judge” and then went on to add that lawyers cannot browbeat judges into giving favourable decisions.

This is a time when the attorney general K.K. Venugopal, also a senior member of the bar, should have taken a bigger role in forging a consensus. But his slipshod statements that the crisis has been resolved by his intervention, which he retracted a day later, only made the situation worse.

While judges still don’t trust other judges and the chief justice to safeguard the institution, they are quickly losing their own credibility. Each passing day is more ammunition to tarnish the judiciary. The judges have no choice but to act before it is too late.

12827 - Shiv Sena taunts BJP: Make Nirav Modi RBI Governor to finish off the country - Free Press Journal

— By IANS | Feb 17, 2018 03:30 pm

Mumbai: Taunting ruling ally Bharatiya Janata Party, the Shiv Sena on Saturday said absconding scamster Nirav Modi “should be made Reserve Bank of India Governor to finish off the country”. Referring to the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud which came to light this week, the Sena said it is “clear that Nirav Modi and his family had fled” the country early last month.

“However, just recently (last week of January), this gentleman was seen and photographed with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Davos (Switzerland),” the Sena said in stinging editorials in the party mouthpieces ‘Saamana’ and ‘Dopahar Ka Saamana’ today. Nirav was a sympathizer of the BJP and played a leading role in collecting funds for it during the elections, it added.

“However, we are not implying that he managed to loot the (PNB) bank with the blessings of BJP leaders or that a share of it (loot) even went to the party coffers. But, Nirav always strived for the BJP’s financial prosperity and helped it win elections with the mountains of cash he built,” the Sena said sarcastically. That these monies belonged to the national exchequer which he blatantly plundered, has now been exposed by this scam, and lays hollow Prime Minister Modi’s famed slogan – “Na Khaunga, Na Khane Dunga”, the edit noted.

“We want to know how he managed to turn up with the group of industrialists who met PM in Davos when a complaint against him had already been lodged by PNB? Perhaps, if his Aadhaar Card had been linked to the bank accounts, this could have been clear,” the Sena said, in another jibe. The tragedy is that the common man cannot get hospital treatment or even a funeral without an Aadhaar Card, but a man like Nirav Modi could siphon off Rs 11,500 crore from a bank without an Aadhaar Card, it pointed out.

The Enforcement Directorate and other agencies swooped on Nirav’s properties and reportedly laid hands on Rs 5,100 crore worth of diamonds and jewels, but even the Kingfisher Airlines chief Vijay Mallya and Lalit Modi left behind huge properties before fleeing the country, the Sena said. “Several political leaders have landed up in jails based on half-truths or false charges like (former Railway Minister) Lalu Prasad Yadav or (former Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister) Chhagan Bhujbal. But, (ex-Maharashtra Minister and Congressman) Kripa Shankar Singh managed to emerge unscathed, very much like Nirav,” the Sena observed.

During the 2014 elections, many rich industrialists stood behind the BJP, but with this scam their characters are laid bare, while the tall claims of a “transparent and corruption-free government” have been blown to tatters in the past four years, it said. “In contrast, poor farmers who cannot repay loans of Rs 100-500 are forced to commit suicides and their lands are seized, but the industrialists who have committed a dacoity of over Rs 150,000-crore on the country are scott free with the blessings of the government,” the Sena said sharply.

The country is being run on advertisements and image-building for which crores of rupees are being spent, but when a person like (ex-RBI Governor) Raghuram Rajan spoke about the loot perpetrated in the country, he was shunted out. “Now, install only Nirav Modi as the RBI Governor to finish off the country,” the Sena signed off.

12826 - Shiv Sena slams BJP over PNB fraud case, asks why different rules for Nirav Modi -- India Today

  • Mayuresh Ganapatye
  • February 17, 2018
            Sanjay Raut (Photo: Twitter/@rautsanjay61)

In an exclusive interview with India Today, Shiv Sena MP in Rajya Sabha, Sanjay Raut slammed the Modi government for Nirav Modi and the Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam.

Raut questioned immigration work of central agencies like Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

"How can Nirav Modi leave country and all these agencies were not even aware of it? What were other intelligence agencies doing?" asked Raut.

Raut feels that there are different set of rules for common people and different for fraudulent businessmen like Nirav Modi.

"Our accounts have been linked with Aadhaar so that government can monitor them. But what about these fraud people? What about their Aadhaar cards? How could these banks give such a huge loan?" he asked.

After Lalit Modi and Vijay Mallya, this is another massive fraud case which came to light. Where after, committing the fraud a culprit has fled the country. "If this took place under the Congress government, we would see a lot of uproar in country. 

But it's our government, PM Modi's government. Modi gave mantra of 'na khaunga na khanedunga', but if this is the case then how are we going to face people in next elections?" said Raut.

Further explaining how this government discriminates between common man and fraud businessmen like Nirav Modi, Sanjay Raut said, "Couple of days ago, one farmer from Marathwada received a letter from bank for missing his EMI of Rs 2,000, but when this govt says that Rs 11,000 crore fraud is within control means this amount in crore is smaller than Rs 2000."

Raut also criticized the political nexus between such fraud businessmen and politicians. Raut said "There are hundreds of Nirav Modi who raise funds for political parties. We must investigate this thoroughly. With the help of such fraud businessmen people come and win the elections and enter politics. If we (Shiv Sena) had such Nirav Modis, we would have also won many elections. But Sena doesn't need such people."

Raut feels that "It is very easy to be a fraud in our country, go out and then from there, negotiate with our government to repay or return the very small amount. It's a clear case of corruption. Same thing Mallya did and now Nirav is doing.

"If we don't pay GST, VAT then we are not 'Desh Bhakt' but people like Nirav Modi are acclaimed citizens of this country who are roaming scot free after looting our own country." added Raut.

12825 - Aadhaar privacy row: Enough data to clone digital identity of somebody else - Business Standard

India still doesn't have a data privacy law and it's evident that this govt has no real intention of legislating any such law

Last Updated at February 16, 2018 23:17 IST

There is probably no truth to rumours that Chinese and Pakistani cybercriminals have hacked India’s government servers. Why would they bother? All the data is available, more or less for the asking.
The Aadhaar database has been not only compromised; it has been commoditised to the point where the entire billion-plus set is available for paltry sums. People mould fake rubber fingerprints when they want to impersonate somebody. The Employees Provident Fund database of some 80 million-odd accounts, complete with PAN, date of birth and individual EPF ...


12824 - Indian Justices attempt to clarify legal positions as Aadhaar constitutional challenge continues - Biometric Update

Challenges to the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar program in India’s Supreme Court continue to be heard, with Court Justices attempting to clarify the legal position of the petitions against it, The Hindu reports.February 16, 2018 - 

The hearings are considering 27 writ petitions together, the first of which was initiated seven years ago, according to the Hindu. On the eighth day of hearings this week, Senior advocate Kapil Sibal questioned why the authentication of identity should be linked to biometrics.

“With other identity documents open to duplicity, let us have at least one identity with biometrics,” Justice A.K. Sikri responded.

Sibal has argued that Aadhaar is unconstitutional because it is inconsistent with the fundamental right to choose, as protected under Article 21 of India’s Constitution, and that the program creates a “one-nation-one-identity” regime in which the lack of an Aadhaar number is a risk of “civil death.”

The UIDAI, however, reiterated recently that essential services cannot be withheld from individuals who do not posses an Aadhaar number, or for whom authentication under the program fails. Numerous controversies have dogged the program, but Justice D.Y. Chandrachud pointed out during the fifth day of hearings earlier this month that the possibility for misuse is not grounds for striking down a law.

In addition to the general validity of the scheme, Justices are considering the limitations of the Aadhaar program.

“Let us say Aadhaar is per se constitutionally valid. Then we have to decide how far Aadhaar can be used. Should Aadhaar be used only to access subsidies? Is there a constitutional line that should not be infringed? A line when crossed would become violation of privacy,” Justice Sikri observed in late January, as reported by The Hindu.

India’s government plans to link Aadhaar to the driver’s license system to identify fakes, as previously reported, and the election commissioner has suggested the program be used to verify voters’ identities.

12823 - How Aadhaar, The Largest Biometric Database, Treated Man With 6 Fingers - NDTV

What made the process difficult for Gurudayal Dilbagrai Trikha was the fact that not only he has six fingers to his left hand, but the extra finger is joined to the thumb.

All India | Press Trust of India | Updated: February 16, 2018 21:42 IST

The extra finger of Mr Trikha's left hand stuck out like a sore thumb, becoming a stumbling block. (File)

NASHIK, MAHARASHTRA:  When Gurudayal Dilbagrai Trikha walked in to sign up for an Aadhaar card, the 36-year-old's extra finger on his left hand stuck out like a sore thumb. Mr Trikha, resident of Gandhi Nagar locality of Maharashtra's Nashik, was struggling for the past eight months to get an Aadhaar card, but he was turned away by several Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) registration centres because it was difficult to collect his fingerprints.

Among other biometric details, Aadhaar registration requires fingerprints of both hands.

What made the process difficult for Mr Trikha, he told PTI, was the fact that not only he has six fingers to his left hand, but the extra finger is joined to the thumb.

"I even met government officials, but to no avail," said Mr Trikha, who works with a private firm.

As it was a unique case, it attracted the attention of media and a Marathi news channel reported on his predicament.

Following which, he could finally register for Aadhaar at one of the centres yesterday where his fingerprints were accepted.

"I completed the whole process yesterday and hope to receive the Aadhaar card soon," he said.

However, he feels that there would be many who would be finding it difficult to get Aadhaar card due to various kinds of disabilities, and the government must relax the rules in such cases.

"The system should be changed. At least for handicapped people and senior citizens, it should be made easier," Mr Trikha told PTI.

12822 - Aadhaar Articles Dated 17th February 2018

Nashik, Maharashtra: When Gurudayal Dilbagrai Trikha walked in to sign up for an Aadhaar card, the 36-year-old's extra finger on his left hand stuck out like a sore thumb. Mr Trikha, resident of Gandhi Nagar locality of Maharashtra's Nashik, was struggling for the past eight months to get an Aadhaar ...

Biometric Update
Challenges to the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar program in India's Supreme Court continue to be heard, with Court Justices attempting to clarify the legal position of the petitions against it, The Hindu reports. The hearings are considering 27 writ petitions together, the first of which was initiated ...

Over 94 percent people in Mizoram have Aadhaar cards, a sizable increase since late last year, a state government official today said. "As on September 23 last year, the percentage of the state's population with Aadhaar card was 79.88 which jumped to 94.15 per cent on February 10, 2018," the official ...

Deccan Chronicle
Nashik: When Gurudayal Dilbagrai Trikha walked in to sign up for an Aadhaar card, the 36-year-old's extra finger on his left hand stuck out like a sore thumb. Trikha, resident of Gandhi Nagar locality of Maharashtra's Nashik, was struggling for the past eight months to get an Aadhaar card, but he was ...

Mumbai, February 16: The government has made it mandatory to link Aadhaar- the 12-digit unique identification number with a host of essential services. Even as the Supreme Court is hearing cases against the mandatory linking of Aadhaar card number with other services, the last day of linking ...

Business Standard
The Aadhaar database has been not only compromised; it has been commoditised to the point where the entire billion-plus set is available for paltry sums. People mould fake rubber fingerprints when they want to impersonate somebody. The Employees Provident Fund database of some 80 million-odd ...

Financial Express
In another incident of growing medical negligence in the country, a woman gave birth to a baby girl outside a Civil Hospital in Gurgaon after allegedly being denied treatment. And the reason is that she didn't have an Aadhaar Card. Now, a show cause notice has been issued to the Emergency Medical ...

Times of India
Bareilly: The UP excise department has made Aadhaar number mandatory for applying for a liquor shop licence. Officials said that after a gap of over 10 years, the government has decided to issue licence to individual applicants unlike the previous government when one particular company was issued ...

United News of India
BSE extends window to submit Aadhaar for New MF Investors. Mumbai, Feb 17(UNI)Leading stock Excnage Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) has extended the deadline for new mutual fund investors to submit PAN and Aadhaar till April 1, 2018, failing which their folios would be closed. This is to ensure ...

India Today
"Our accounts have been linked with Aadhaar so that government can monitor them. But what about these fraud people? What about their Aadhaar cards? How could these banks give such a huge loan?" he asked. After Lalit Modi and Vijay Mallya, this is another massive fraud case which came to light.

Then, make payment and once you receive the device, take the device and your Aadhaar card to your nearest Reliance Digital to activate your Jio connection. The JioPhone is a 4G feature phone that was launched by Reliance Jio in July and went on sale online in August. The company started selling ...

Business Standard
Since all mobile numbers will be linked to an Aadhaar number by March 31, a verified phone number should be enough,” said Sunil Kulkarni, co-chairman, PPI Committee, PCI and joint managing director, Oxigen. Payment players cite the cost of full KYC as a hurdle for their growth. “OTP-based Aadhaar ...

Bangalore Mirror
He proposed to launch five more Apps. These are: Samyojane (to obtain citizen service details), Dishank (to obtain survey number and map on spot), Samikshe (for issuance of digital sketches), Aadhaar Sangrahane (to collect public Aadhaar numbers) and Moulya (to know guidance value of any ...

eGov Magazine | Elets (satire) (press release) (blog)
As part of its growth story and taking the country on development route, India has created the largest digital identity platform in Aadhaar, the world's largest rural broadband network, the world's largest direct benefit transfer system and the world's largest citizen engagement platform in MyGov. Today, we ...

Economic Times
One" director Anubhav Sinha asked one "quick, cute, innocent question" -- "Was Nirav Modi's bank account linked to his Aadhaar." One quick, cute, innocent question. Was NiravModi's bank account linked to his Aadhar? — Anubhav Sinha (@anubhavsinha) February 15, 2018. 0Comments. Want stories ...
Bollywood raises eyebrow at Nirav Modi scam - Prothom Alo English (satire) (press release) (blog)

Business Standard
In fact, the database since July last year is even better as we are doing Aadhaar-based verification,” the official said. However, for Aadhaar-based verification, basic details such as name, father's name and date of birth should match with the Aadhaar detail concerned. The EPFO is facing several hurdles ...

Inc42 Media
As per Deepak, WhatsApp has also refuted the UPI mandate by not allowing customers to pay using bank account plus IFSC or Aadhaar number and not issuing UPI QRs. Other mandated features like 'scan and pay using QR' or 'request payments' features are missing in WhatsApp, which means that a ...

The Telegraph
Bhojpur superintendent of police Avakash Kumar said three country-made pistols, a loaded magazine, 10 live cartridges and an Aadhaar card were seized from room number 110 of the rest house in which the criminals were staying. Raids were underway to arrest the three accused, who managed to ...

Inc42 Media
While Paytm is counting on its force of 7000 agents, Mobikwik is looking to integrate Aadhaar-based KYC using a one-time password. Then, there are other companies like ItzCash and Oxigen Services who are utilising their retail infrastructure to conform to KYC norms instituted by the RBI. While the ...

But just days before he made the 'fish market' remark, senior lawyer Shyam Divan had said before a constitution bench hearing the cases related to the legality of Aadhaar that the judges who will rule in favour of the government will henceforth be known as “Aadhaar judges”. Chandrachud, on that ...

Rising Kashmir Daily English Newspaper (press release)
Chief Secretary received brief from the DCs regarding the status of digitization of land records, credit disbursement under Government schemes, Aadhaar and it's seeding with Bank accounts, implementation of Electronic Benefit Transfer Scheme, Digidhan Mission and the status of allotment of land to ...

Deccan Chronicle
... the metro stations or the legal parking area once it is created. GPS and connectivity sensors are installed in the bikes. Aadhaar and license copy is a must for the rider. The service is operated with the OTP (one-time password) generation code technique. Tags: namma metro, bmrcl officials, metro bikes.

Friday, February 16, 2018

12821 - The Supreme Court Is Still Sitting On An Active Volcano - BloombergQuintOpinion

Indira Jaising
15 February 2018, 4:29 PM

Four sitting judges of the Supreme Court of India addressing a press conference was no doubt an unusual step, but that does not make it illegal or improper as some have suggested. The self-imposed code of conduct for judges has been cited in support of saying that judges are not supposed to go to the press. True, but that is in relation to their judgments. No judge is expected to support her own judgment in the press but allows ‘the judgment to speak for itself’. This is absolutely true, but where is the embargo on a judge speaking about administrative matters?

The four judges who did speak out at the press conference spoke about the alleged mischief which has been in operation in the administration of justice, more particularly in assigning cases to a “bench of preference” by Chief Justices. We must not miss the emphasis on the plural, implying that the practice began with the former Chief Justice Khehar who was criticised for having killed the challenge to demonetisation by delay, not listing the Aadhaar matter promptly and fast-tracking the triple talaq matter in the vacation. The story is simple, the Chief Justice, who is the ‘Master of the Roster’ (what if the Chief justice is a woman, will she be Mistress of the Roster?), can kill a case, can determine the outcome of the case by assigning it to a particular bench. Hence, the issue is institutional and not personal.

That judges have pronounced philosophical approaches to an issue — some are diametrically opposed to each other — is a known fact, but what does this imply for the Master of the Roster?

Can he pick and choose judges to whom to assign ‘sensitive’ matters? Sensitive is being used here to indicate cases in which politicians or judges are implicated in unlawful acts. I am not one who believes that judges can be free of a worldview, what I expect is a disclosure of connections, personal and political by the judges.

Those who quote the conduct rules, which do prevent the judges from speaking to the press, forget that the rule prevents them from socialising at private events of lawyers and politicians. In Delhi, it is fashionable to have politicians at marriage functions and Judges have also fallen prey to this. Similarly, they wine and dine, and what is worse, some have been seen accept gifts from practicing lawyers, making a mockery of justice. Justice SK Gangele, of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, threw a party on his own twenty-fifth wedding anniversary at which he invited top ranking police officers, senior lawyers, and people who would be potential litigants in his court and, in videos produced in an impeachment proceeding, can be seen accepting gifts. He is not an exception to the rule.

Also Read: Judges Can’t Behave Like Company Shareholders, Says Former Attorney General Sorabjee

So you ask what is the solution to the problem? The solution can only be transparency. It must be incumbent on all persons being considered by appointment to disclose in public, their political affiliations, the membership of student unions during their student days, and their connections with politicians. It is not enough to disclose your assets, in today’s world or in any world, a person’s real estate seems to be his or her connections with the rich and the powerful. These disclosures must be made in appointment hearings and also during the tenure of the judge as time goes on so that at any given time, it is possible to assess the true independence of a judge from extraneous influences.

So while I do not demand that judges live in ivory towers, I do demand that they make disclosures of their interests in social, political and economic issues of a public nature. 
The judges who spoke out at the press conference in their own words “discharged a debt to the nation”, powerful words intended to alert us to the danger to the collapse of the judiciary from within. External political forces will always have a vested interest in the collapse of the judiciary, every government has always been the largest litigant before the court, but the judiciary cannot collapse unless they want it to collapse. It is now universally recognised that resistance to the undemocratic functioning of governments can come in the form of two sources, the press, and the judiciary. If any one of the two fails to perform its historic and constitutional role, democracy itself can collapse.

Also Read: No Judicial Crisis Here, Says Attorney General Of India On Supreme Court Rift

The Constitution itself has a transformative social justice agenda, if judges must commit to anything, it is to that transformative agenda they must commit in their judgments.

As the public debate polarises into ‘with me’ or ‘against me’, ‘national’ or ‘anti-national’, there is a danger that we will see this happening in our courts. We have seen Kanhaiya Kumar being beaten up in the premises of the court, we have seen women lawyers from the North East being spoken to with racial slurs, we have seen orange flags hoisted on courts when Shambulal Regar — who is being tried for the killing of Mohammad Afrazul in Rajasthan — was produced in court, more of this will destroy the secular fabric of the Constitution.

The Supreme Court will now have to save itself from itself, that is the huge significance of the historic moment in Indian legal history of the four judges addressing the press, not only were they sending a message to the Chief Justice of India publically but also to powerful litigants, ‘don’t mess with us’. History will judge whether they succeeded.

The story of the press conference is not over, the Supreme Court is sitting on a volcano, which can erupt anytime. We know that in most institutions, resistance comes from within, from whistle-blowers, that is what we have seen. This is a turning point, the Supreme Court may implode or it may emerge from this crisis stronger. It is time for big-ticket reform, only transparency can bring in this reform. This is why I have filed a petition in the Supreme Court calling for all hearings in important cases to be live-streamed, this is why I think we need confirmation hearings of appointment of judges. We are beckoned to move on to putting in place a more accountable judiciary.

Indira Jaising is an advocate and former Additional Solicitor General practicing in the Supreme Court of India.

The views expressed here are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of BloombergQuint or its editorial team.


12820 - India accused of creating identity card ‘big brother’

Opponents say Aadhaar is world’s most powerful state surveillance tool

An index finger impression is used to withdraw money from a personal bank account with an Aadhaar card © AFP
Kiran Stacey in New Delhi 14 HOURS AGO

Nearly a decade ago, India launched what the World Bank called the “world’s most sophisticated digital identity scheme”, to give its 1.3bn citizens a unique biometric ID card in an effort to overhaul its complex and leaky welfare system.

Today, defying predictions that it could never complete such a project, almost every adult in the country has an “Aadhaar” card. But instead of using the scheme only to combat benefit fraud, New Delhi is now trying to use it to clamp down on tax evasion and even terrorism, triggering a legal challenge that has gone all the way to the highest court.

Lawyers for about 30 different plaintiffs have recently been arguing in the Supreme Court that Aadhaar violates a fundamental right to privacy. They have already prompted a reinterpretation of the Indian constitution, and within weeks they could spell the beginning of the end for the ambitious project.

Shyam Divan, one of the lawyers challenging the scheme, says: “What Aadhaar appears to do is shake the balance and put the government in such a dominant position that we are unlikely to remain a democratic, open society.”

When the scheme was launched in 2009, Aadhaar — meaning “foundation” in Hindi — was touted as an answer to several fundamental problems.

Primarily, it would help eliminate the number of people pretending to be someone else in order to claim their benefits. Government figures show 40 per cent of those who are supposed to receive food rations do not, while that figure is 65 per cent for wage guarantees — though not all of this is down to identity theft.

Second, the cards would give millions of Indians a verified, portable identity. This would allow them to open bank accounts, move easily from state to state and take out insurance.

This is big data mixed with big brother
Reetika Khera, economics professor, Indian Institute of Technology

Third, the cards would allow benefit claimants to shop around for their government-subsidised rations, helping cut fraud by shopkeepers.
“Around 10 to 20 per cent of people didn’t have IDs before, and many people had other not very good IDs, like ration cards, which don’t identify each family member,” says Nandan Nilekani, the billionaire founder of IT group Infosys and first chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India, which administers the programme.

“This has been a huge, huge step forward.”

Since Mr Nilekani left the project, it has mushroomed in scale. Ministers have recently decreed that Aadhaar cards should be linked to everything from personal bank accounts to driving licences, mobile phones, and train ticket purchases.

New Delhi says the extension will help tackle tax evasion by creating a real-time database of citizens’ spending and saving habits. But its opponents say it is creating the world’s most powerful government surveillance tool.

“This is big data mixed with big brother,” says Reetika Khera, an economics professor at the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi.

Last year, activists chalked up their first success when a nine-judge panel ruled that the constitution allowed for a fundamental right to privacy — a judgment that has implications for everything from abortion to gay rights.

Now Mr Divan and his colleagues are in their final submissions to the court, arguing that Aadhaar violates the constitution, both in its concept and in the way the law was drafted and passed. They also say that much of what is being driven through now is not in the act.

They argue that the scheme allows the government to spy on citizens by monitoring their movements and spending patterns in real time — in Mr Divan’s words, “an electronic leash by which you tether a citizen from birth”.

They also say the data being collected are not secure — a view bolstered by a revelationby the Tribune newspaper that a reporter had been able to buy access to the database for Rs500 ($8).

They add that problems with data collection, faulty machinery and patchy internet mean it is harder to claim welfare, not easier, and that many valid claimants are being excluded as a result.

An Indian visitor (R) receives cash from a bank employee after withdrawing money from his bank account with his Aadhaar card during a Digi Dhan Mela, held to promote digital payment, in Hyderabad © AFP

Another challenge is the proposal that Aadhaar cards must be used to buy mobile phones and open bank accounts, which opponents say effectively prevents people from choosing not to join the Aadhaar system.

The government has yet to make its legal response, but it has previously said the fundamental right to privacy was “esoteric and elitist”, and contrary to the interests of the masses.
Narendra Modi, prime minister, said recently: “Today, because of Aadhaar . . .. middlemen have lost jobs, so have dishonest people.”

Mr Nilekani is similarly scornful of the anti-Aadhaar arguments. “The notion that before Aadhaar we were in some pastoral paradise is complete bunkum. Half the people were not getting their rations,” he says.

“This is a small group of activists trying to make a noise because they want to influence the Supreme Court.”
Within weeks, India will find out whether the Supreme Court has been listening.

Concerns raised over system
The date of birth on Rukam Pal’s Aadhaar identity card is wrong. 
This should be an easy problem to resolve, but when Mr Pal went to get a new card, he found that his fingerprints had been burnt so many times in the course of his job as an ironer that the system could no longer recognise him.

Barfi, his wife who goes by a single name, says the problem means he is unable to claim his government-issued social pension. Under the welfare scheme he would only be able to claim Rs300 a month, but this would be enough, says Barfi, to help pay for medical treatment for his breathing problems.
Activists say Mr Pal is one of millions of people who have been excluded from the Aadhaar system. They say two women in the state of Jharkhand have now died because they were unable to claim their benefits.

Those who designed the Aadhaar system say it was always meant to be supplemented by a manual back-up system for cases such as Mr Pal’s. 

But according to Barfi, shopkeepers are not offering any verification system other than Aadhaar. “There is no alternative,” she says.

12819 - What Is It Like To Live In The World’s Biggest Experiment In Biometric Identity? - Huffington Posthttp://www.huffingtonpost.in/2018/02/13/what-is-it-like-to-live-in-the-world-s-biggest-experiment-in-biometric-identity_a_23359983/


More than a billion people are registered under India’s Aadhaar—but many are falling through the cracks.

Siddharth Singh was supposed to be in school this year. Instead, the five-year-old is stuck watching television all day in his family's small house in the slums of West Delhi, India. His mother, Radha, tried to get him into the local government school, but Siddharth can't get the education he's entitled to—because he doesn't have an Aadhaar card.

Aadhaar is the world's largest, most ambitious digital identity scheme, and its plastic cards are central to daily life across India: they drive news cycles, spark political debates, and are the subject of conversation from Mumbai to Kolkata. Aadhaar, which was launched by the Indian government nearly a decade ago, aims to give each of the nation's 1.3 billion citizens an official, verified identity, eventually making it the largest biometric ID system in the world.

In the past decade, the scheme has exposed a host of issues, from identity theft to the erosion of privacy rights. Poverty is widespread across India, and Aadhaar's role in giving—or denying—people access to government services has sparked a great deal of controversy. Ideally, one simple system should grant everyone the rights and services that they're entitled to. But if you're locked out of that system, you can lose access to everything.

Delhi is a city full of migrants. Siddharth's mother and his grandmother, Laxmi, both emigrated from Nepal more than 30 years ago. Nepalese citizens are allowed to work in India, and they don't need ID for so-called "unorganized" work, including domestic help. But they do need ID to access welfare schemes that subsidize housing, food, and fuel, and ID is a necessity if they want to try to get better-paid work, open a bank account, or buy a house—the things people need to climb above the poverty line.

Siddharth Singh.

Radha and her husband, Joginder, both have Aadhaar cards. After years arguing with officials over older forms of ID like ration cards, Aadhaar's simplicity and legitimacy are a welcome relief. But getting Siddharth his card was more complicated—because they never applied for a birth certificate when he was born.
"We left it too late," says Radha. "And now it will cost anywhere between ₹3,500–6,000 (about US$50–100) to get the certificate made. It's such an additional, unnecessary expense." In India, a lost or damaged birth certificate can leave you in a catch-22: birth certificates are often the way to "seed" other kinds of ID, but without those other forms of ID, you can't replace your birth certificate.
Siddharth's older sister, Sia, goes to a private school. There's a perception among many in India that private schools—which teach in English, rather than the less-prestigious Hindi—are better than government schools. The Singhs can only afford to send one child to private school; unless their finances change dramatically, they need to rely on the government for Siddharth's schooling—but the government doesn't think that Siddharth exists.
The Singhs' experience is a common one—and one that predates Aadhaar. People so often fear losing hard-won ID documents that they tend to store them with their most valued possessions—both because a lack of ID can mean being cut off from vital services, but also because of India's notoriously opaque and inefficient bureaucracy. Re-registering with a government authority or getting a duplicate ID is a frustrating process: days of waiting, jumping through hoops, or even paying bribes.

Radha, with her children Siddharth and Sia Singh.

Today, something as simple as a missing document or a faulty fingerprint reader can mean an elderly person is denied a vital pension, or a child, like Siddharth, is denied an education. Many essential services are currently linked to Aadhaar, and many more will be in the near future. India is relying on the comprehensive reach of this universal digital ID system—but what about the people who fall through the cracks?

Each individual Aadhaar card and its unique identity number is part of an enormous digital system. Every record in the centralized database includes a person's basic demographic and biometric information, including a photograph, ten fingerprints, and two iris scans. This data is collected and managed by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which was founded in 2009 and was given stronger legal powers under a 2016 law passed by the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

As of October 2017, India had issued 1.18 billion identity cards. There are big differences between states, but across the entire country, Aadhaar now covers 99 percent of the adult population, 75.4 percent of children between five and 18 years old, and 41.2 percent of children between zero and five. The system is meant to make it possible to "target delivery" of essential government services; there are least 87 different schemes linked to it, including education access, pensions, scholarships for minorities, farming subsidies, school meals, and healthcare.

Before Aadhaar, people had to use different IDs, from birth certificates to ration cards, to access these services. The result was inconsistent and highly fallible. If the new bureaucrat behind the government office window didn't believe you were the person on your old, tattered ration card, you wouldn't get rations for the month. Basic tasks like opening a bank account or applying for a utility like water have been impossible for millions of Indians because they can't prove who they are.
Aadhaar's promise is that, by absorbing every existing kind of ID into one database, it will close gaps in service and welfare provision, and empower poor people by removing many of the barriers to escaping poverty. Since the system is completely digital, it opens up the possibility of integrating new kinds of ID that haven't even been proposed yet—a new kind of online banking service, for example—without massive upheaval. It's meant to future-proof the concept of official identity in India.
It could have an impact in other countries, too. The Aadhaar experiment is being studiedby governments in other countries, eager to see if this system solves many of their own service provision problems. The World Bank estimates that one in seven people globally can't prove their identity, most of whom are in Africa and Asia and are under the age of 18.
The truth, however, is more complicated. In closing old gaps in service provision, Aadhaar has opened new ones, and the system has thrown settled lives into disorder and confusion. Many of those who need government services the most are also the most likely to fall through these new gaps in the system: poor migrants, children, the rural elderly, caste and tribal minorities, the visually impaired, the physically disabled, and more.

Leprosy sufferers are a prime example: there are reports of people without fingers or sight being refused welfare payments because they physically cannot prove their ID with fingerprints or iris scans. In one village in Haryana, 65 people with leprosy reported losing their monthly rations for the same reason. There are at least 86,000 people in India with leprosy—and that's only one illness, out of innumerable other situations that can preclude someone from being able to give the information that the system demands.
India's vast population and dozens of distinct cultures—not to mention the wide ranges of literacy and wealth—makes a one-size-fits-all ID scheme all the more difficult to implement. For poor people, disabled people, or for people who are illiterate, the bureaucracy is tough enough to navigate—but Aadhaar compounds these existing inequalities.
In the slums of Delhi, children beg at traffic lights, or sort through landfills looking for scrap metal to resell. Sanjay Gupta, the director of Chetna, a Delhi-based NGO that works with children in poverty, has helped hundreds of these children apply for ID over the years. Their addresses are not so much homes as indicators of poverty: addresses like "Under Moolchand Flyover" or "Under IIT Flyover."
"An Aadhaar is sort of an entry card to the dignified life," says Gupta. "But it's not easy to get." Gupta acts as a child's "introducer," a kind of witness who can vouch for the child to a local official. But the system is entirely informal, and whether his introduction is accepted varies from officer to officer. "Aadhaar has become a very powerful document," says Gupta. "It has left the passport behind. But [these officials] need to be trained not to refuse anyone."
Their addresses are not so much homes as indicators of poverty: addresses like "Under Moolchand Flyover" or "Under IIT Flyover."
Even successfully registering for and getting an Aadhaar number doesn't guarantee things will be easy. Opening a bank account requires proof of address—like a utility bill—but people who live in the slums are often unable to apply for utilities because they don't have an address. All new bank accounts need to be linked with Aadhaar numbers, but payment errors are common. Gupta often hears from people who never receive money they're entitled to, and don't know how to challenge it. "The poor have very little financial literacy and no bank officer has the patience or inclination to explain finances to a poor person," he says.
Of the more than 500 children Chetna has helped over the last two years, by far the most common problem was getting—and keeping—the physical Aadhaar card. "You forget that these are homeless people," Gupta says. "They roam around in kaccha-banyan (rags). This is a document that needs safekeeping. Where will they keep it?"

Woman jostle to enrol themselves for Unique Identification (UID) database system in the outskirts of the western Indian city of Ahmedabad February 14, 2013.

Vishal and Bhavna, whose names have been changed on request, are teachers who work for a government school in Delhi. They spend their spare time working with children in the slums, helping them get ID so they can enroll in school. "It is absolute hell here," says Vishal. "There is no water or electricity. There is no sewage connection. There are open drains. You cannot even imagine it."
Vishal and Bhavna write letters of recommendation to try and convince officials to register children, or even whole families, with Aadhaar numbers. Many government schools have recently made an Aadhaar number mandatory for children seeking admission. Bhavna, who has been a teacher for 18 years, says she's had to refuse 50 percent of applicants since the new rule was implemented. Both Bhavna and Vishal have asked their superiors not to implement the new Aadhaar requirement.
If he has to spend three to four days running around getting an Aadhaar card, it will mean that he probably doesn't eat on those days. Would you do it?
"Why do you need an Aadhaar for education for the least privileged?" Bhavna asks. "Imagine a daily wage laborer who has moved here from Bihar with his family. He has nothing and probably lives in a shack. He has no papers. He can barely fend for himself and his family. Whatever he earns in one day lights the cookstove for dinner at night. If he has to spend three to four days running around getting an Aadhaar card, it will mean that he probably doesn't eat on those days. Would you do it?"
The new rule is all the more frustrating because there is an open question over whether the schools are breaking the law in making Aadhaar compulsory. The first successful case to be brought to the Supreme Court, in 2012, was won on the basis that the system violated the fundamental rights of privacy and equality—different social groups being denied services they are entitled to—and that the government has a constitutional obligation to provide free education to all children between ages six and fourteen.
Since then there's been a running battle between civil society groups and the government. Compulsory Aadhaar in schools was challenged in the Supreme Court again in October 2015, in a case brought by a coalition of government school teachers, parents, parents' associations, and NGOs. The plaintiffs won, and the ruling clearly stated that access to welfare services should not be tied to Aadhaar registration. But the federal government continues to introduce compulsory Aadhaar registration for all kinds of things that exist in a legal grey area, from senior rail passes to applying for government jobs.
At the state and city level, many schools still demand Aadhaar cards, and some have proposed making Aadhaar compulsory to receive free school meals. India's Supreme Court has repeatedly reiterated that its earlier ruling still stands, leading to an ongoing game of cat-and-mouse between the executive and judicial branches of government—with the country's most disadvantaged citizens caught in the middle. And in a country with widespread illiteracy and a broad range of languages, mixed messages about whether Aadhaar is mandatory or not have led to mass confusion.

Children from government school protest at Shastri Bhawan against making Aadhar card mandatory for mid-day meal on March 17, 2017 in New Delhi, India.

The Indian government provides small scholarships and stipends to groups like caste and tribal minorities, or female students—but you need a bank account linked to Aadhaar to receive it. Many teachers have had to take up what is effectively an unpaid second job, handling distressed parents upset about their struggles trying to put their children through "free" school. "We have to send reports on how many identities and bank accounts have been linked to Aadhaar every single Friday," says Vishal.
"This is not a teacher's job, is it?"
The story of Aadhaar is increasingly the story of identity systems across the globe. In the coming decade, identity will become increasingly digitized, centralized, and integrated with our lives online. As other countries—particularly lower income ones—look to Aadhaar as a potential model for the future, they're watching the system's growing pains as well.
Throughout history, identity systems—from the first paper passports to modern digital programs like Aadhaar—have been used to define people in different ways. Who's eligible for government welfare, and who isn't; who gets treated with humanity by the state, and who doesn't. They define individuals as either acceptable or unacceptable in the eyes of people with power.
The story of Aadhaar is increasingly the story of identity systems across the globe.

Over the course of this series, we'll be examining modern identity systems and the individuals struggling with them, from asylum seekers in Ireland to indigenous tribes in Japan. Today's identity systems have the potential to reach more people—and, in turn, to help more people than ever before. But what happens when these systems make lives worse? Can we design a system that ensures that no one falls through the cracks?

This piece is part of The ID Question, a series examining how identity is changing in the modern world—from ID cards to Facebook profiles, work life to indigenous rights. You can explore the whole series, including videos, a reading list, and more, at How We Get To Next. The ID Question on How We Get To Next is published under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0 International license.

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