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.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

9576 - Forget privacy, Aadhaar Bill gives too much power to the executive - Hindustan Times

  • Aloke Tikku, Hindustan Times, New Delhi |  Updated: Mar 17, 2016 11:18 IST
The Aadhaar bill gives the executive too much power to decide how to administer the law.

The government promotes the Aadhaar programme because it believes the 12-digit unique identification number will let them track every penny spent from the exchequer. But money is not all that the Aadhaar number can track.

It can help track people too with amazing efficiency.
This is at the centre of the controversy around the programme, and the Aadhaar bill that requires every resident to get the number to access government subsidies and services.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley put up a spirited defence of the bill in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday when the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016 came up for passage.
And he was right.

Read more: Aadhaar now a reality: All you need to know about the bill

As far as privacy is concerned, the NDA government’s version is much more stringent than the creaky draft proposed by the UPA in 2010.

Jaitley said there were only two circumstances in which personal data collected by UIDAI could be shared under this bill.

One, if the Aadhaar number holder consents to his details being shared. Second, if a government agency wants to access this data on grounds of national security.

But the debate around privacy concerns – that neither the NDA nor the UPA governments addressed – and the new bill is much more fundamental.

The Aadhaar bill gives the executive too much power to decide how to administer the law.

Every law requires the government to frame rules to specify the nitty-gritty of its implementation.

But the Aadhaar bill passed by Parliament gives the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) the power to prescribe regulations for nearly every provision, right down to what biometric or biological attributes need to be captured.

“The law leaves too much power in the hands of the executive,” said Sunil Abraham, executive director of the Bengaluru-headquartered research advocacy group, Centre for Internet and Society.

For instance, the bill gives the Unique identification Authority of India (UIDAI) powers to determine if it should collect any biological attribute of people too. This means the government could at a later date mandate that DNA of all Aadhaar numbers too be collected.

The example echoed in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday as well.
“No power should be delegated to the UID Authority because then the UID Authority will decide tomorrow that DNA is required, and they will then have the powers to take DNA information as well,” Congress MP Jairam Ramesh said.

The minister tried to explain the reliance on regulations issued by UIDAI – the word ‘regulations’ does appear some 50 times through the legislation – as compared to less than 10 in, say, the right to information law or the 2010 version of the bill.

He said MPs could still review notifications issued by UIDAI when they are placed for parliamentary approval.