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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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

8998 - Why does Right to Privacy needs a re-look? 23-OCT-2015 - Jagran Josj


 23-OCT-2015

In the second week of October 2015, a five-member Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court (SC) was formed under the Article 145 (3) of the Constitution to debate and decide upon two important questions-
1. Whether there is any “right to privacy” guaranteed under our Constitution?
2. If such a right exists, what is the source and what are the contours of such a right as there is no express provision in the Constitution delineating it?

Why the issue came into limelight now?
The court decided to take up the matter while hearing the Justice K S Puttaswamy (Retd.) & Vs Union of India & Others case that dealt with Aadhaar Card Scheme. Under this case, it was contended that making the Aadhaar enrolment as a precondition to avail social security benefits is unconstitutional as it encroaches upon citizens right to privacy.
As per the petitioners, Aadhaar enrolment requires submission of demographic and bio metric information and thus, it violates individuals to right to privacy.

Contradictions with respect to Right to Privacy
The Supreme Court took up the matter as it came to its observation that there is an apparent unresolved contradiction in the law as declared by this Court in relation to the Right to Privacy.
While a nine-member judge bench of the Supreme Court led by the then Chief Justice MC Mahajan in 1954 held that Right to Privacy is not recognised by the Constitution makers as a fundamental right, and so there is no need to strain to make it one.
This judgment was delivered in the MP Sharma Vs Satish Chandra case which was further reinforced in the Kharak Singh Vs State of U.P. case in 1963
However, in later judgments, the SC pronounced that the Right to Privacy is a fundamental right as enshrined in the Constitution.
The most important of such cases are R Rajagopal Vs State of Tamil Nadu (1994) that is popularly known as Auto Shanker’s case and People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) Vs Union of India case of 1997.
While in R Rajagopal’s case it was held that the “right to privacy” is implicit under Article 21 of the Constitution, in PUCL’s case it was stated that the “right to privacy” insofar as it pertains to speech is part of fundamental rights under Articles 19(1)(a) and 21 of the Constitution

Arguments in favour of Right to Privacy
1. Right to Privacy is an inalienable part of the Article 21 of the constitution. Further, as India is a signatory of the Universal Declaration of the Human Rights of the UN, in which the right to privacy is a part, she should respect it.
2. Its breach is an anathema to Democracy as the privacy is a sine qua nun for self expression.
3. Since the state agencies are equipped with powerful surveillance apparatus, the personal data (like bio metrics) is prone to be misused by the ‘elite’ in the political and administrative set up against their opponents.
4. Though the intent of the policy makers to ‘know’ their citizens better is bona fide, the lower level bureaucracy may misuse the data for petty monetary gains. Frequent news of BPO operators selling information of clients to fraudsters is a case in point.

Arguments against Right to Privacy
1. The right has no legal standing as it is no where mentioned in the Constitution of India.
2. When citizens/residents have nothing to hide, what is the problem in subsuming their privacy to legitimate institutions for greater good of the country?
3. Instead of terming it as a breach of privacy, the initiatives should be understood as the government’s genuine effort to know their citizens in a better way which is essential for efficient allocation of scarce resources to the needy population in a diverse country like India.

Why the re-look is important?

Ambit of right to privacy is no more limited to search and seizure at the physical level as construed a few decades ago (1954 MP Sharma Case). With the growing presence of individuals and the corporate in the digital sphere, coupled with the ‘monopoly’ of the government over the internet it is high time to define the role of the state vis-à-vis citizen in matters of privacy.

Though such instances of abuse of administrative powers or extreme encroachments on citizen privacy have not reported in India so far, taking a cue from the international experiences like-NSA’s surveillance of citizens as revealed by Edward Snowden in the post 9/11 period, Rupert Murdoch-led tabloids snooping in the UK and European Court’s order to Google on Right to be forgotten show how vulnerable citizens privacy in the modern society.

Conclusion
The Constitution of India begins with and represents We the People. Nevertheless, citizens should understand that, even in democracy, no right is absolute and they have to subsume a part of their rights to enable the government to function in an effective manner. On the other hand, the government should show restraint while dealing with citizens’ private space and must establish credible procedures to deal with instances of breach of privacy for illegitimate reasons.