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, August 31, 2016

10344 - Cataloging violations of Supreme Court’s order on Aadhaar - Legally India

Experts & Views

17 August 2016
  An estimated 4-minute read


by sflc_admin    |    August 17, 2016

The journey of the Aadhaar scheme can be traced back from its inception in 2006, following which it has undergone scrutiny by way of two Bills that aimed to provide it statutory backing, one Parliamentary Standing Committee evaluation, and multiple challenges in the Supreme Court. With respect to the petitions pending in the Supreme Court that challenge the scheme on various grounds, the latest order by the Apex Court on 15th October, 2015 had held the following three things:
  • the use of Aadhaar will be purely voluntary
  • no one will be denied any service for the lack of an Aadhaar card
  • pending decision by the Supreme court on the legality of this scheme, Aadhaar can only be used (on a voluntary basis) for dispersal of benefits and subsidies under PDS, LPG, MNREGA, PM Jan Dhan Yojna, National Social Assistance Program, and Employees’ Providend Fund Organization. (A copy of the order can be accessed here)
 While these petitions, tagged together under K.S. Puttaswamy & Ors. v. Union Of India & Ors. (W.P.(C) 494/2012) are awaiting final judgment by the Supreme Court, the Aadhaar scheme received statutory backing in March 2016 as the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial & Other Subsidies, Benefits & Services) Bill was passed as a money bill in the budget session of the Parliament. This Act permits the state and central governments to make the Aadhaar card mandatory for availing certain government schemes and benefits under Section 7; and Section 8 enumerates the procedure to be followed by entities collecting the biometric and other information before and while collecting this data from the individual. Although, this Act has received the President’s assent, only a part of it was notified by the central government on 13th July, 2016. This part pertains to provisions on the establishment of Authority; the roles and responsibilities of the Chairman and other members; the powers of central government to issue directions in policy related matters, make rules and regulations for the various processes of the scheme;the use of Aadhaar number by private entities and others to establish identity of an individual, among other things. However, in absence of the entire Act being notified, these provisions are the only ones that are legally enforceable under the Act.
 At present, there are two parallel frameworks that are being used for determining the legality and applicability of Aadhaar; one, the Supreme Court order dated 15th October, 2015 that restricts its voluntary use to six government schemes, and condemns making in mandatory for receiving any benefit or service; second, the provisions under the Aadhaar Act, 2016. With both of them having their separate place, and according separate operational status to this scheme, there have been questions regarding the instruction that should take precedence and be followed in the interim of the pending Supreme Court cases, and the Aadhaar Act being notified. Currently, the operative portion of the Act, Section 7, that enables central and state governments to make it mandatory for availing services and benefits, has not yet been notified by the central government. Even if Section 7 were to be notified, the aforementioned Supreme Court order would have cast the mandatory status of Aadhaar in doubt. However, in light of the lack of legal enforceability of this section, it may be definitively inferred that the Apex Court’s order that makes the use of Aadhaar voluntary, and limits its scope to the six mentioned schemes should be the law of the land.
 Having established that, it is interesting to note that there have been an excessively large number of violations of this Supreme Court order. Multiple state governments and departments made it mandatory to have an Aadhaar card for availing benefits and services like LPG. Moreover, the use of this scheme was not limited to the six government schemes as laid down by the Supreme Court and has been used, and even made mandatory at times for a wide and diverse range of purposes extending from scholarships, banking, registration of fishing boats, filing income tax returns, conducting ultrasounds, to name a few. Incidentally, recently in the monsoon session of the Parliament, the Rajya Sabha witnessed a disruption and subsequent adjournments during the day on 28th July, 2016 over orders being given by various the state governments making Aadhaar mandatory for availing benefits like PDS, and LPG. However, the Union Minister for Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Parliamentary Affairs, Venkaiah Naidu reassured the Members of the Upper House that Aadhaar is not mandatory and directions will be issued if necessary to clarify it.
To corroborate the claim made by many in the Rajya Sabha, we undertook the exercise of compiling the reported incidents where the Supreme Court orders dated 11th August and 15th October, 2015 were violated by the governments and private entities.