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


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


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.

Monday, October 5, 2015

8810 - Govt for legal bar on misuse & illegal collation of Aadhaar data - TNN

Rajeev Deshpande,TNN | Oct 4, 2015, 05.32 AM IST

NEW DELHI: The government is willing to accept a legal bar on unauthorized collation and misuse of data linked to the Aadhaar identity of individuals even though the platform's architecture and existing legislation prohibiting entities like banking and income tax authorities from sharing information linked to UIDs prevents the creation of a master data bank.

Marshalling its arguments as the Supreme Court considers privacy issues in the context of Aadhaar, the Centre is keen to point out that a "big brother" scenario of the government snooping on information regarding individual bank accounts, income tax, family members, expenditure and savings is ruled out by UID's design as well as an SC order in a case where the authority itself contested the CBI's request for biometric details.

At present the Aadhaar website offers even less information than the Election Commission portal where basic information about an individual's name and constituency can reveal details. The Aadhaar portal provides, on entering the enrolment number, only the demographics of the concerned individual accessing the site. The Aadhaar server makes no attempt to collate information that in any case lies in other government or private servers.

Aadhaar information to establish identity is disclosed on the request of an individual when she seeks access to a service and even so biometric details are not revealed. An Aadhaar check while opening a bank account can only reveal the number of accounts an individual holds but no detail about its operation. It can help detect if a loan or overdraft an individual is claiming has already been sought by the same person through another account - a function that reduces fraud and leakages.

Aadhaar is key to the plans of the Centre and states to deliver pro-poor and citizen oriented services and is not in conflict with privacy concerns that the programme is willing to acknowledge and protect. If the SC were to seek guarantees on privacy, the government is willing to provide an undertaking as it acknowledges that this is valid concern, sources said.

In a 2013 SC ruling, the UID authority won a legal battle with the CBI over revealing an individual's biometric details after losing at the Goa high court where it had challenged a lower court order directing it to supply the information. UID resisted the CBI's request and the court order and the final SC ruling clearly states that the biometric information will not be shared with anyone and this remains the current law.

Accessing information contained in discrete servers with banks, government departments or income tax authorities is not feasible as each has rules and legal obligations on handling such data. A bank will reveal information only on a court order or a criminal investigation. Accessing data from different servers and putting it together is a task that faces logistical and legal barriers that a government or official can attempt only at the risk of violating the law.

If Aadhaar can theoretically provide a path to collating and consolidating information, the PAN system that is utilized in applications for driving licenses, passports, ration cards and housing registration can in any case be used for a similar purpose. The deterrent, as pointed out by commentators, is the specific acts that protect privacy.