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


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


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, March 18, 2016

9544 - Left parties will move amendments on Aadhaar Bill: Yechury - Money Control

Mar 16, 2016, 04.55 PM | Source: CNBC-TV18 

Sitaram Yechury, Member, CPI(M) speaking to CNBC-TV18’s Rituparna Bhuyan says that the current legislation is “unbecoming” and the privacy issues are still under examination by a five-member bench appointed by the Supreme Court.

It is the last day of Budget Session today and the government is expected to table the crucial Aadhaar Bill in the Rajya Sabha. The government says the Aadhaar Bill, 2016 will help save thousands of crore rupees by routing subsidy through the Aadhaar system. Sitaram Yechury, Member, CPI(M) speaking to CNBC-TV18’s Rituparna Bhuyan says that the current legislation is “unbecoming” and the privacy issues are still under examination by a five-member bench appointed by the Supreme Court. Left parties will move amendments on Aadhaar Bill, he says. Our main demand is to remove the clause of “upon request” that makes all private information available. “No country in the world allows that (private information) to be shared with anybody, but this bill permits you,” he says. 

Below is the transcript of Sitaram Yechury’s interview with CNBC-TV18's Rituparna Bhuyan. 

Q: What will you do when the Aadhaar Bill is tabled in the Parliament? 
A: Number one, the time when the bill will be introduced, we will raise objections. In our opinion this legislation is ultra vires of the Indian constitution. The Supreme Court has a five member bench examining the question of Aadhaar and privacy - that is still going on. Now in violation of that they want to subvert that judicial process by bringing in this legislation. This is absolutely, in our opinion, very unbecoming and it is clear ultra vires of the constitution. 

Q: Government maintains that the Aadhaar Bill is needed for targeted subsidy disbursal. It will stop leakages. Don't you to see any merit in that argument? 
A: But the bill they have presented is not confined to that. The bill says 'upon request'. All the personal information can be made available to anybody. Our amendment is to remove that clause. Now, whose request, what are you collecting, biometric information. They also said deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) profiling. These are matters of privacy. Globally, there is a big movement for protection of that. No country in the world allows that to be shared with anybody, but this bill permits you. 

Q: So, will left parties join hands with other opposition parties in moving amendments as well, will it be a joint strategy? 
A: Surely, if the other parties also agree with what we say or if we agree with what they move in amendment, definitely there will be a flow of coordination on that.