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 22, 2015

8961 - SC permits 'voluntary' use of Aadhaar cards in welfare schemes - Deccan Herald

New Delhi, Oct 15, 2015 (PTI)

Lifting its earlier restriction, the Supreme today permitted voluntary use of Aadhaar cards in welfare schemes that also included MGNREGA, all pension schemes and the provident fund besides ambitious flagship programmes like 'Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna' of the NDA government.

The social welfare schemes, aimed at reaching to the door steps of the "poorest of the poor", were in addition to LPG and PDS schemes in which the apex court had allowed the voluntary use of Aadhaar cards.

A five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu also put a caveat in its interim order for the Centre and said, "We also make it clear that Aadhaar card scheme is purely voluntary and not mandatory till the matter is finally decided by this court, this way or the other way."

The bench, while including the four other schemes along with LPG and PDS where Aadhaar may be used, said, "The Union of India to follow all other orders passed by this court since September 23, 2013."

It also said the Constitution bench, which also included Justices M Y Eqbal, C Nagappan, Arun Mishra and Amitava Roy, was set up only for the purpose of deciding applications filed by the Centre and bodies like RBI, SEBI, IRDA, TRAI, the Pension Fund Regulatory Authority and states like Gujarat and Jharkhand seeking modification of the August 11 order.

The bench also said that a larger bench was required to be set up for final disposal of the petitions that also include the question as to whether the right to privacy is fundamental right.

The plea for inclusion of various programmes, 'Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna', MGNREGA, all pension schemes and the provident fund, today faced stiff opposition from a battery of senior lawyers like Soli Sorabjee, Gopal Subramanium and Shyam Divan.

'Jan Dhan Yojana' features in Guinness Book of World Records for opening 18,096,130 bank accounts in a week starting from August 23, 2014 as a part of the financial inclusion campaign. Till October 7, 2015, 18.70 crore accounts have been opened under the scheme.

Divan, representing one of the petitioners who has challenged the Aadhaar card scheme, started arguments with the claim that the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which runs the programme, is neither backed by any law nor by any notification and is getting biometric details through private agencies.

He further raised a legal objection and said that any modification of the August 11 order should be either done by the same three-judge bench or by the five-judge bench having those three judges which had passed the order in question as the instant proceedings amounted to review.

"If this bench is sitting only for hearing the modification then the court is re-visiting the order and its akin to review or curative," he said.

The court then referred to the order by which the three-judge bench had refused to consider the pleas seeking modification and had said that they will be dealt by the larger bench only.

The bench, during the two-hour-long hearing, repeatedly posed the query to the lawyers as to "why it is not good for other schemes and how can the court stop the voluntary use of Aadhaar in other welfare schemes if same is permitted for PDS and LPG schemes."

The lawyers for the petitioners contended that the scheme is "all pervasive" and is not full proof either and hence, cannot be used for other programmes.

The collection and use of the biometric and electronic details amount to invasion of privacy and the "the state cannot remain present every place with everybody," Divan said.

He further said that the citizens are not restrained from using Aadhaar cards, the injunction is against the state and its authorities.

"Can this court restrain 50 crore people, who want to use it, that you cannot use," the bench said, "if it is allowed for LPG and PDS, then why not MNREGA? Why not Jan Dhan Yojna?"

Attorney General (AG) Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the Centre, initially said that the voluntary use of Aadhaar be extended to all schemes. The bench then said that it cannot be done at present. It forced the AG to settle for four schemes other than LPG and PDS.

Yesterday, the court had taken note of Centre's plea that Aadhaar cards be allowed to be used "voluntarily" for welfare programmes other than PDS and LPG schemes and asked whether it can assure that nobody would be at a "disadvantageous" position for want of Aadhaar.

A three-judge bench had on August 11 referred a batch of petitions, challenging Aadhaar cards scheme, to a larger bench for an authoritative view on the question as to whether the right to privacy is fundamental right or not and had also restricted the use of Aadhaar to PDS and LPG scheme only.

Rohatgi had yesterday referred to the facts about the Aadhaar, the background of the cases, their reference to the CJI for setting up of larger bench and the reasons for interim pleas of the Centre and its bodies for modification of the order for voluntary use of the Aadhaar cards in other welfare schemes like MNREGA, pension and 'Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana'.

He had said over 92 crore citizens had been issued Aadhaar cards by the UIDAI and since the court has already stated that it will not be mandatory, there should not be any problem in allowing Aadhaar to be used on voluntarily basis to establish the identity of persons and make available the benefits of other welfare schemes as well.

He had submitted that crores of rupees had been spent on the UIDAI scheme to connect six lakh villages of the country with various welfare measures like MNREGA, pension schemes, Jan Dhan Yojana etc and 85,000 bank correspondents have been put on job to reach the beneficiaries at their doorsteps.

He had also explained the role of bank correspondents who will help the beneficiaries to realise welfare scheme benefits and also help them in opening bank accounts at the doorsteps.

Further, the Aadhaar cards would help in stopping fake withdrawal of money arising out of welfare scheme and pensioners would not have to visit the pension officer every year in November to establish they are alive, he said.

UIDAI, established by UPA-2 in 2009, issues Aadhaar cards to the citizens. Under the programme, every citizen is to be provided with a 12-digit unique identification number for which biometric information is collected.