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


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.


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Saturday, October 10, 2015

8903 - Fresh hope for Aadhaar as SC forms bench to review interim ruling - Live Mint



The bench comprises Chief Justice of India H.L Dattu, and justices M.Y Eqbal, C. Nagappan, Arun Mishra and Amitava Roy, who will now hear various pleas related to Aadhaar clubbed together

By Apurva viswanath

New Delhi: There was fresh hope for the government after the Supreme Court on Friday formed a five-judge constitution bench to hear its plea seeking a modification to the apex court’s interim order restricting the use of Aadhaar unique identity number only to identify beneficiaries availing of the public distribution system (PDS), and kerosene and cooking gas subsidies.

The bench comprises Chief Justice of India (CJI) H.L Dattu, and justices M.Y Eqbal, C. Nagappan, Arun Mishra and Amitava Roy, who will now hear various pleas related to Aadhaar clubbed together.

The hearings by the bench are scheduled to begin from 14 October.

Two separate references have been made to a constitution bench in the Aadhaar case—one seeking modification and clarification of the court’s interim order on 11 August, and the other on potential violation of privacy.

“My understanding is that a five-judge bench can actually decide on overruling the interim orders passed by the court earlier,” said Rahul Singh, a research scholar at Balliol College, University of Oxford. 

“The constitutional aspects of privacy issue, of course, cannot be decided by any bench lesser than a nine-judge bench, because any other bench will be bound by M.P. Sharma precedent. But for interim orders, a five-judge bench should suffice.”

The Supreme Court in 1954, in the case of M.P. Sharma vs Satish Chandra, ruled that the right to privacy was not a fundamental right recognized by the Constitution. This case was decided by an eight-judge bench of the apex court, and only a bench of equal or larger strength will be able to override that decision.
On Wednesday, a three-judge bench of the apex court declined to modify the interim order, referring it to a constitutional bench for consideration.
A bench of justices J. Chelameswar, C. Nagappan and S.A. Bobde ruled on 11 August that Aadhaar was neither compulsory nor a condition for accessing benefits one was already entitled to.
In the same ruling, the court referred to a constitution bench the question of whether it violates the right to privacy of individuals.
The Union government, regulatory agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Board of India and Reserve Bank of India, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, and petitioners who have challenged the Aadhaar scheme on privacy grounds had asked for the formation of a larger bench to hear the case at the earliest.
The petitioners, in mentions before CJI, had asked for a bench of nine judges. CJI expressed concerns about sparing so many judges to hear the matter.
Attorney general Mukul Rohatgi informed CJI about the urgency of the issue, saying that many government schemes had been stuck on account of the court’s interim order.
The decision of the constitution bench will have an impact 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.
“It is good that the SC has realized the importance of the matter and appointed a bench which hopefully will resolve the case as it is a matter of rights of 920 million people enrolled with Aadhaar,” said a government official close to the development who did not want to be identified.
“Our understanding is that all matters will be heard. We consulted lawyers who said that in such cases, normally a five-judge bench is constituted who look into the past matter and then they take a decision on a larger bench, if required,” the official added.
Several pleas concerning Aadhaar have been clubbed together to be heard by the constitution bench. Some relate to the Aadhaar number being made mandatory to avail of certain government benefits and services. Others deal with the number itself being a violation of an individual’s privacy, especially in the absence of any supporting regulation or oversight, and some deal with possible misuse of the information that is collected under the project.
“The right to privacy, which is a fundamental right under right to life, will be severely jeopardized if the SC does not form the larger constitutional bench. Privacy issue is a major concern, which should not be delayed,” said a petitioner requesting anonymity.
On the issue of privacy, research scholar Singh said it was a complex understanding of the law and the trade-offs that it entails. “How much liberty will you be willing to give up for security? Or vice versa? And this issue of biometrics, don’t people with iPhones use the Touch ID? Isn’t that essentially a biometric data collected by Apple?” he asked.
Meanwhile, enrolment under the Aadhaar project is continuing across the country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked state governments to complete the enrolment by December and said he would personally review the progress every month. As of now, 920 million Indian residents have been allotted Aadhaar numbers.
The Supreme Court’s interim order did not stop the Unique Identification Authority of India, which is implementing the Aadhaar project, from fresh enrolments, but asked it to widely publicize through media that “it is not mandatory for a citizen to obtain an Aadhaar card”.
Saurabh Kumar and Shreeja Sen contributed to this story.