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.


Friday, January 8, 2016

9229 - 2015: The Supreme Court stands up for its rights–and other rights - Indian Express


The new year is scheduled to begin with a landmark ruling on a batch of petitions by political heavyweights, including Rahul Gandhi, Subramanian Swamy and Arvind Kejriwal.

- See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/explained/2015-the-supreme-court-stands-up-for-its-rights-and-other-rights/#sthash.f2AfpyDy.dpuf

The unqualified independence of the judiciary, total freedom of speech and expression, and utmost concerns for the environment — in 2015, the Supreme Court lived up to people’s expectations by scripting several chapters that will contribute significantly to the history of judicial activism.
NJAC

The NDA government’s attempt to change the way judges are appointed in the country got a thumbs down from a five-judge Constitution Bench that quashed the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) by ruling that the new system threatened the independence of the judiciary.
By nullifying a constitutional amendment after 35 years, the court refused to surrender the primacy of the Chief Justice of India in making appointments to the higher judiciary. In a token of acknowledgement that the existing Collegium system was not adequately transparent, it agreed to consider suggestions for its improvement but wrapped up the proceedings on December 16 with little more than suggestions.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley called the quashing of the NJAC as “tyranny of the unelected” and maintained judges should not have the exclusive right to select judges – a position that was revisited after 22 years.

Section 66A IT Act
Expanding the contours of free speech on the Internet, the apex court struck down the much abused Section 66A of the Information Technology Act which authorised police to arrest people for social media posts construed as “offensive”or “menacing”. Snubbing the attempt by the NDA government to defend the law made by the UPA, the court did not hesitate in quashing the law “in its entirety” after it noted that Section 66A “arbitrarily, excessively and disproportionately” invaded the right to free speech, right to dissent, right to know, and had a “chilling effect” on constitutional mandates. The verdict had social media abuzz with accolades for the top court for junking a bad law made to regulate the cyber world.
Haryana’s law on minimum education for contesting panchayat polls

The Supreme Court upheld a Haryana government’s law to mandate minimum education as a pre-requisite for contesting panchayat polls – the first such legislation validated by the highest court in the country. Affirming the constitutional validity of the law that barred illiterate from contesting panchayat polls in Haryana, the court ruled that “it is only education which gives a human being the power to discriminate between right and wrong, good and bad”.

Jats in OBC central list

Issued by the UPA government but defended in the court by the NDA, a March 2014 notification to include Jats in the central list of the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category in nine states, however, failed to pass the muster. The apex court scrapped it by ruling that “caste” and “historical injustice” cannot blind a state in according backward status to a community and that new emerging groups such as transgenders must be identified for quota benefits. The historic judgment laid down new norms for identification of backward classes for the benefits of reservation and redefined the concept of affirmative action by the state. The issue of reservation came up again in a separate judgment when the court held that national interest requires doing away with all forms of reservation in institutions of higher education, and urged the Centre to take effective steps “objectively”.
Aadhaar
Still to get legislative sanction, the Aadhaar project was subjected to strict judicial scrutiny over the year as the government’s repeated pleas to let it use the UID card to link various services met with stiff opposition from rights activists who questioned the validity of the project and pointed towards the possible misuse of the data collected. The court allowed the government to use Aadhaar only for a few schemes and left the question of its validity to be decided by a Constitution Bench.
Unwed mother’s rights
As women decide to raise their children alone, the court ruled that an unwed mother can be appointed the sole legal guardian of her child without the consent of the father. It held that the procedural necessity of involving the father in a guardianship petition has to be dispensed with in the best interests of a child, for whom the mother has been the only caregiver.
Gujarat riots
In a first, the Supreme Court also acknowledged that attempts were made through “politics and activism” to influence the proceedings on the Gujarat riots in the top court as it rejected sacked IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt’s plea to investigate BJP president Amit Shah’s role for allegedly trying to scuttle a probe into cases of encounter killings.

The judiciary hit the headlines again for holding a pre-dawn hearing in a last-ditch attempt by human right activists to save 1993 Mumbai serial blasts mastermind Yakub Memon from the gallows. Memon was hanged hours after the court on July 30 rejected his second plea in less than 24 hours to stall the hanging.

Uphaar
The Uphaar ruling, however, generated a lot of controversies. Eighteen years after 59 people were killed in a blaze inside Delhi’s Uphaar cinema hall, its owners Gopal and Sushil Ansal, who had been held guilty of “criminal negligence”, escaped further jail terms with the Supreme Court noting that Sushil is “fairly aged” and his younger brother deserves “parity” with him. Sushil is 75, while Gopal is 67. Age was cited as the only factor enabling the duo to walk free after paying a compensation of Rs 30 crore each.

The Environment
The year ended with the apex court drafting yet another chapter in the history of environmental reforms in the national capital. Ushering in radical reforms to control the alarming pollution in Delhi, the Supreme Court banned registration of diesel SUVs and high-end vehicles in the city with engine capacity of over 2000 cc until March 31, 2016. It also stopped the entry of goods vehicles not bound for the national capital. It hiked the environment compensatory charges on commercial vehicles by a 100 per cent. The court clarified that no vehicle registered in 2005 or prior years shall be allowed to enter Delhi even after payment of the enhanced green cess.

Religion
The Supreme Court did not scruple about dealing with matters relating to religion and faith as it pronounced upon various pertinent matters. Asserting that “constitutional legitimacy must supersede all religious beliefs or practices”, it ruled that the appointment of priests in temples and other religious institutions cannot be denied to a person solely on the basis of “caste, birth or any other constitutionally unacceptable parameter”.
While dealing with a petition on banning of meat, the court sent a strong message amidst concerns over mounting curbs on individual liberties as it said that “a ban cannot be forced down somebody’s throat” and that the “spirit of tolerance” was paramount. In a separate order, the court also sought revisiting Muslim personal laws to ensure Muslim women are not left at unequal and disadvantaged position over issues like alimony and inheritance.
During the year, the top court also nudged the Centre over two significant issues – changing the juvenile law to criminally prosecute those aged between 16 and 18 as adults in certain cases, and bring in the Uniform Civil Code. While the juvenile law has been passed by both the Houses of the Parliament, the Uniform Civil Code is still to be introduced in its new avatar by the NDA.
Coming up in court 2016
The validity of Aadhaar, the BCCI spot-fixing case which is now under the scanner of the Justice Lodha panel, the coal block allocation scam cases also involving former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the Jayalalithaa graft case, social activist Teesta Setalvad’s bail plea, appeals by convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case for their premature release, black money, Vyapam scam, Sahara chief Subrata Roy’s continued jail term and the Maharashtra’s dance bar ban are some of the leading matters which the Supreme Court will continue hearing in 2016.

Also, the new year is scheduled to begin with a landmark ruling on a batch of petitions by political heavyweights, including Rahul Gandhi, Subramanian Swamy and Arvind Kejriwal, who have challenged the validity of the criminal defamation law in India.
- See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/explained/2015-the-supreme-court-stands-up-for-its-rights-and-other-rights/#sthash.f2AfpyDy.dpuf