uid

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 scholar Usha Ramanathan describes 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

Special

Here is what the Parliament Standing Committee on Finance, which examined the draft N I A Bill said.

1. There is no feasibility study of the project]

2. The project was approved in haste

3. The system has far-reaching consequences for national security

4. The project is directionless with no clarity of purpose

5. It is built on unreliable and untested technology

6. The exercise becomes futile in case the project does not continue beyond the present number of 200 million enrolments

7. There is lack of coordination and difference of views between various departments and ministries of government on the project

Quotes

What was said before the elections:

NPR & UID aiding Aliens – Narendra Modi

"I don't agree to Nandan Nilekeni and his madcap (UID) scheme which he is trying to promote," Senior BJP Leader Yashwant Sinha, Sept 2012

"All we have to show for the hundreds of thousands of crore spent on Aadhar is a Congress ticket for Nilekani" Yashwant Sinha.(27/02/2014)

TV Mohandas Pai, former chief financial officer and head of human resources, tweeted: "selling his soul for power; made his money in the company wedded to meritocracy." Money Life Article

Nilekani’s reporting structure is unprecedented in history; he reports directly to the Prime Minister, thus bypassing all checks and balances in government - Home Minister Chidambaram

To refer to Aadhaar as an anti corruption tool despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary is mystifying. That it is now officially a Rs.50,000 Crores solution searching for an explanation is also without any doubt. -- Statement by Rajeev Chandrasekhar, MP & Member, Standing Committee on Finance

Finance minister P Chidambaram’s statement, in an exit interview to this newspaper, that Aadhaar needs to be re-thought completely is probably the last nail in its coffin. :-) Financial Express

The Rural Development Ministry headed by Jairam Ramesh created a road Block and refused to make Aadhaar mandatory for making wage payment to people enrolled under the world’s largest social security scheme NRGA unless all residents are covered.


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

8759 - Supreme Court to hear PIL challenging mandatory Aadhaar for Digital Locker on 28 Sept -Legally India




While the Aadhaar challenge petitions await their turn to be heard by a constitution bench, on Monday – 28 September, Supreme Court of India will hear a public interest litigation petition seeking a direction from the Court that Aadhaar card may not be made mandatory to avail the services of ‘Digital Locker’.

The PIL which was filed on July 3, 2015 by a Gurgaon resident – Sudhir Yadav contends that the government’s insistence of Aadhaar cards was in violation of the Supreme Court’s orders not to insist for Aadhaar as well as fundamental right to equality guaranteed under the Constitution. Before the matter could be heard, on August 11, the three-judge bench hearing the Aadhaar challenge has referred the matter to a constitution bench while asking the Union of India and other government bodies to use Aadhaar for limited purposes. Earlier on September 23, 2013, March 24, 2014 and March 16 2015, Supreme Court had passed orders not to make Aadhar mandatory for availing government benefits.

On August 11, Court had inter alia ordered:
The production of an Aadhaar card will not be condition for obtaining any benefits otherwise due to a citizen;
The Unique Identification Number or the Aadhaar card will not be used by the respondents for any purpose other than the PDS Scheme and in particular for the purpose of distribution of foodgrains, etc. and cooking fuel, such as kerosene. The Aadhaar card may also be used for the purpose of the LPG Distribution Scheme;

Petition
Case No.
Writ Petition (C) No. 492 of 2015 [PIL]
Case Title
Sudhir v. Union of India
Bench
  • Chief Justice of India HL Dattu
  • Justice Amitava Roy
Prayer
“Issue a writ in the nature of mandamus directing the Respondent not to insist for AADHAAR CARD to get the benefit of Digital Locker”.

DigiLocker
As a part of the Digital India campaign, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on July 1, 2015 had launched the digital locker facility named as Digilocker, which aims at helping citizens to digitally store their important documents, such as PAN card, passport, mark sheets and degree certificates. As per the data available on its website, as of now there are 9,70,490 users of Digilocker who have stored over 8,78,077 documents on their lockers. The DigiLocker service is provided by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology, under the Ministry of Communications & IT.

Aadhaar a pre-requisite to apply
Possession of a valid Aadhaar card is a pre-requisite to sign up for a DigiLocker. The official website digitallocker.gov.in says:

How can I get a DigiLocker account?
To sign up for DigiLocker, you need your Aadhaar number (issued by UIDAI). There are two ways to sign up:
1. Mobile OTP: Use this method if your Aadhaar number is linked to your mobile number.
2. Biometric:If you have a biometric device attached to your computer, you can sign up by scanning your fingerprint


Mohit Singh is an advocate at the Supreme Court of India.