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.


Thursday, October 8, 2015

8866 - Supreme Court deals a body blow to Aadhaar - Live Mint

Thu, Oct 08 2015. 09 31 AM IST

SC bench declines to modify 11 August interim order restricting use of Aadhaar to identify beneficiaries of PDS and LPG subsidy

New Delhi: In a major blow to the government, a Supreme Court bench on Wednesday declined to modify its 11 August interim order restricting the use of Aadhaar unique identity numbers to identify beneficiaries of the public distribution system (PDS) and subsidies on cooking gas and kerosene.
The matter will now be heard by a constitution bench, which is likely to be formed on Thursday.

The ruling will have a bearing on important digital initiatives of the government such as biometric attendance, Jan Dhan Yojana, digital certificates, pension payments and the proposed introduction of payments banks. All the initiatives critically depend on the Aadhaar unique identity number.

The government and several other petitioners, including the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), had pleaded for a relaxation of the interim order to allow the voluntary use of Aadhaar as a form of e-identity.

The stay will affect beneficiaries of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (91.7 million), pensioners (27.1 million) and recipients of scholarships (25.7 million), among others, according to data from the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).

This is apart from expected beneficiaries of in-principle payments bank licence winners that include Airtel M Commerce Services Ltd (from the stable of Bharti Airtel Ltd, which had a customer base of 231.6 million as of July) and Vodafone m-pesa Ltd (part of Vodafone India Ltd which had a customer base of 185.4 million as of July).

The licensees also include the Department of Posts, which has 155,015 post offices across the country, of which 139,144 are in rural areas. The sheer reach of these entities is unrivalled.
The 11 August interim order by the three-judge bench comprising justices J. Chelameswar, S.A. Bobde and C. Nagappan said the use of Aadhaar should be restricted to identifying beneficiaries of the PDS and subsidies on cooking gas and kerosene.

“Even for the PDS, kerosene and LPG (cooking gas) distribution system, the card will not be mandatory,” the court order said.

Nagrik Chetna Manch, a Pune-based NGO and one of the petitioners opposing the use of Aadhaar on grounds that its use in the delivery of government services could compromise the privacy of the unique ID holders, said it would continue to resist the use of Aadhaar.

“The government cannot defend violation of privacy in the name of crores already spent on the project,” said S.C.N. Jatar, president of the organization.

Mint reported on 1 October that the Union government and various regulatory agencies including RBI, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority, the Securities and Exchange Board of India and the income-tax department, would launch a concerted effort before the Supreme court to allow the use of Aadhaar numbers for various state-sponsored schemes. The states of Gujarat, Jharkhand, Maharahtra, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Rajasthan have also joined the plea to seek a modification.

On Tuesday, attorney general Mukul Rohatgi asked the court: “Should an interim order stop the benefit from reaching 50 crore people?”

In light of the setback, the government needs to take another look at its strategy, a government official said on condition of anonymity.

“There is something wrong. The way it (government) has approached the case before and after the 11 August interim order was not appropriate in achieving the objective,” the official said.

A reference on whether the Aadhaar scheme would be a violation of a citizen’s fundamental right to privacy was on 11 August referred to a larger constitution bench for its consideration. The bench is yet to be constituted by Chief Justice of India (CJI) H.L Dattu.

The government’s applications seeking a clarification and modification of the interim order will be also considered by the same constitution bench.

The petitioners in the case against Aadhaar on privacy grounds, including the Nagrik Chetna Manch, on Wednesday approached the CJI to constitute a larger bench. The attorney general will make a similar request to the CJI, said a second government official, who belongs to a department that sought a review of the interim order. The official spoke on condition of anonymity.

“The court did not go into the merit of the applications. But we are happy that our plea was not rejected, which in a way means that our case is not devoid of merit and we will not have to file fresh applications for hearing by the constitutional bench,” said the second government official.

As of now, 920 million Indian citizens have been allotted Aadhaar numbers.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 30 September, soon after his return from the US, called a meeting of state secretaries as well as other stakeholders in the Aadhaar unique identity number programme and asked them to push ahead with their enrolment initiative.


Modi told the states to complete the enrolment by December and that he would personally review the progress every month. The Supreme Court’s interim order did not stop UIDAI from fresh enrolments, but asked it to widely publicize through media that “it is not mandatory for a citizen to obtain an Aadhaar card”