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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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

9996 - The power to certify - The Hindu

Updated: May 16, 2016 04:00 IST


M.R.Madhavan

Controversial categorisation: “Recently, the Aadhaar Bill was passed as a Money Bill, though it may not have met the strict criteria laid out in the Constitution.” A woman with her UID in New Delhi. Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma

While the Speaker can determine whether or not a Bill fulfils the requirements of a Money Bill, there has to be a check to ensure that this power is not misused.

Recently, the Aadhaar Bill and the Finance Bill were passed as Money Bills, though they may not have met the strict criteria laid out in the Constitution. This meant that the Rajya Sabha had only a recommendatory role while discussing these Bills.

Article 110(1) of the Constitution states that a bill can be termed as a Money Bill if it contains “only” six types of provisions or anything incidental to these. Broadly speaking, these include taxation, government receipts and expenditure, government borrowings, and guarantees.

The government has argued that the primary objective of the Aadhaar Bill was to create a system for providing subsidies, and as the provisions relate to government expenditure the Bill can be termed as a Money Bill. The counter argument is that the Aadhaar Bill has several other provisions, including permitting use of the system for other purposes, so it does not meet the requirement of having “only” the six provisions. A writ petition has been filed in the Supreme Court challenging this categorisation.

The Finance Bill too had provisions other than those related to taxation. It amended the Reserve Bank of India Act to enable the creation of a monetary policy committee. It also amended the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (with retrospective effect) to change the definition of foreign company.
Article 110(3) states: “If any question arises whether a Bill is a Money Bill or not, the decision of the Speaker of the House of the People thereon shall be final.” In addition, Article 122 prohibits courts from inquiring into proceedings of Parliament and examining their validity. Given these two Articles, can the Supreme Court examine whether the certificate of the Speaker was correctly given?

There was a similar case decided in 2014. The Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly passed a Bill to amend the Uttar Pradesh Lokayukta and Up-Lokayuktas Act as a Money Bill and did not send this to the Legislative Council. The Act was challenged (Mohd. Saeed Siddiqui v State of U.P.) but the Supreme Court decided that the decision of the Speaker “that the Bill in question was a Money Bill is final and the said decision cannot be disputed nor can the procedure of the State Legislature be questioned by virtue of Article 212”. Article 212 applies to State legislatures and is analogous to Article 122 for Parliament.

Scrutiny by the Rajya Sabha

Therefore, the question is: If the Supreme Court cannot examine whether the Speaker gave the certificate correctly, what prevents a misuse of this provision to prevent scrutiny by the Rajya Sabha? To illustrate with an extreme example, if a Bill to amend the Indian Penal Code is certified as a Money Bill, is that decision final and not open to judicial scrutiny?

There are several prior cases in which the Supreme Court has examined the decision of the Speaker or the legislature. One set of cases pertains to the anti-defection law as laid down in the Tenth Schedule to the Constitution. Paragraph 6(1) states: “If a question arises as to whether a member of a House has become subject to disqualification under this Schedule, the question shall be referred for the decision of the Chairman or, as the case may be, the Speaker of such House and his decision shall be final.” Paragraph 6(2) says that all proceedings in relation to such question shall be deemed to be proceedings within the meaning of Articles 122 or 212. Note the similarity to the wording used in Article 110(3).

The Supreme Court examined the constitutional validity of this paragraph in Kihoto Hollohan v. Zachillhu (1992). It said: “That Paragraph 6(1) of the Tenth Schedule, to the extent it seeks to impart finality to the decision of the Speakers/Chairmen, is valid. But the concept of statutory finality embodied in Paragraph 6 (1) does not detract from or abrogate judicial review under Articles 136,226 and 227 of the Constitution in so far as infirmities based on violations of constitutional mandates, mala fides, non-compliance with Rules of Natural Justice and perversity, are concerned.” It went on to say that the protection of Articles 122 and 212 was only to protect the validity of proceedings from mere irregularity of procedure. The Court also struck down paragraph 7 (which barred judicial review) stating that it did not meet the requirements of Article 368(2), which requires ratification of half of all State legislatures for any changes made to provisions related to the higher judiciary.

Privilege of the legislature

The Supreme Court has examined its powers of review under Articles 122 and 212 in the Raja Ram Pal case in 2007. This case pertained to the expulsion of some members of Parliament after they were found to have taken cash to ask questions in Parliament. The Court said: “The proceedings which may be tainted on account of substantive illegality or unconstitutionality, as opposed to those suffering from mere irregularity thus cannot be held protected from judicial scrutiny by Article 122(1)”.

This principle was later applied in Amarinder Singh v. Spl. Committee, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, in 2010. In that case, the Supreme Court set aside the expulsion of Capt. Amarinder Singh from the Punjab Vidhan Sabha. The point to note is that the court has set limits to the privilege of the legislature under Article 122, and overturned its resolution to expel a member.

The Constitution has a system of checks and balances, which includes the Rajya Sabha as a check on the Lok Sabha. It requires all Bills to be passed by both Houses, with the exception of Money Bills (as these Bills are effectively equivalent to confidence motions). While the Speaker has the power to determine whether a Bill fulfils the requirements of a Money Bill, there has to be a check to ensure that this power is not misused. The Supreme Court should examine this issue under its power of judicial review under the principles laid out in the Kihoto Hollohan and Raja Ram Pal cases.

(M.R. Madhavan is the president and co-founder of PRS Legislative Research.)