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, September 30, 2016

10479 - Mandatory Aadhaar: Govt has gone against SC, privacy remains the only issue - Catch News




With the passage of the Aadhaar Act as a Money Bill in March, the government scuttled the Supreme Court's October 2015 order that Aadhaar could not be made compulsory.

The Supreme Court had made it clear that Aadhaar could not be made mandatory, and could only be 'extended' to services like transfer of cooking gas subsidy, Jan Dhan Yojana, and the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act on a voluntary basis.

The court had also ordered the government to "give wide publicity in the electronic and print media, including radio and television networks, that it is not mandatory for a citizen to obtain an Aadhaar card", and that "production of an Aadhaar card will not be condition for obtaining any benefits otherwise due to a citizen".
The government, however, has been flouting the apex court's order ever since.

On 12 September 2016, the government notified sections under the Aadhaar Act, thus providing legal backing for its use in various government schemes.

NO HEARINGS ON AADHAAR

With this move, the legal battle over Aadhaar in the Supreme Court has got restricted to the issue of privacy.

The petitioners in the case involving privacy had challenged the unique identification (UID) number used to collect information from individuals, and contested that sharing such data would be a violation of the right to privacy.

The matter was subsequently referred a Constitutional Bench on 11 August 2015. But even a year later, the Bench is yet to be constituted.

There are a number of petitions still pending with the Supreme Court challenging the validity of Aadhaar, both with respect to privacy, and whether it helps avoid pilferage in the disbursement of government schemes like the public distribution system.

These petitions were placed before the Supreme Court way before the Act was passed and notified, but were never heard. Around seven such petitions still lie with the Supreme Court.
The petition concerning the matter of privacy was also referred to the Chief Justice of India on the grounds of "institutional integrity and judicial discipline". But not a single hearing has been held.
However, on 14 September, the Supreme Court reiterated its stand, stating that "production of an Aadhaar card will not be a condition for obtaining any benefits otherwise due to a citizen". In the same order the Supreme Court, struck down government directions attempting to make Aadhaar compulsory for scholarship schemes.
The order, in turn, made it illegal for the government's proposed directions to make Aadhaar mandatory for a wide range of benefits and services, from pensions and scholarships to railway bookings and under the DBT scheme.
CASES WHERE GOVT HAS FLOUTED SC ORDER


  • In Odisha, many state-run colleges professed their inability to disburse funds due to a sudden requirement of students having to share their Aadhaar numbers. Minister of state for tribal welfare, Sudam Marandi, informed the regional media that there was already a fully functional portal called Prerana that allowed for SC/ST students to avail their scholarships, and the money was directly transferred to their bank accounts. He also added that if Aadhaar were to be made mandatory, many students would be deprived of their dues.
  • In June, the Bombay High Court dismissed a public interest litigation, which sought to quash a 2015 Maharashtra government resolution, making it mandatory for children to submit Aadhaar details while securing school admission. The PIL had taken into account the Supreme Court's order, saying the state government's resolution to make Aadhaar mandatory was contradictory to the apex court's order. The HC's stance was in direct contrast to the SC's.
  • The Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, had also expressed her displeasure over the Centre's decision to make Aadhaar cards compulsory for scholarships. At a rally in August, she had said: "At least 800 villages in Bengal don't have banks. Over one crore people in Bengal don't have Aadhaar cards. How can they make it compulsory when one crore people in Bengal will not get pensions, subsidies or scholarships? Let them first set up banks before making Aadhaar compulsory."
TOO LATE NOW

It might be too late now to debate the benefits of Aadhaar. A Cabinet Secretariat notification to all ministries reads that all subsidies and welfare schemes must be brought under Direct Benefit Transfer scheme by 31 March 2017.
Nikhil Dey, a social activist and one of the petitioners, says: "There is confusion because the government is not taking into account what the Supreme Court has to say. The government, whether it talks about students, subsidies or railways, talks about making Aadhaar compulsory. The government has the capacity to shove it down people's throats. The issue with Aadhaar is, the more marginalised you are, the more marginalised you become with Aadhaar."
Reetika Khera, an economist in the Humanities and Social Sciences department at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, says: "Blissfully ignoring Supreme Court orders, the government is trying to create a fait accompli on Aadhaar. We are concerned that the court has not heard a series of petitions challenging the government's increasingly coercive approach. Further, the savings estimates which the government presented before the court to allow the use of Aadhaar in the PDS, NREGA, pensions etc, have been have challenged by the CAG and by independent researchers."