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, September 30, 2016

10483 - Supreme Court Shuts Down Mandatory Aadhaar Requirement in Modi’s Scholarship Portal - The Wire

The court also essentially reaffirms that the Aadhaar scheme is completely voluntary, until it eventually decides one way or the other.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has ruled that the Modi government’s national scholarship portal cannot require students to sign up for an Aadhaar number as part of its registration process, in an order that not only reaffirms the court’s earlier decision to keep the identification scheme voluntary but also throws into question the Centre’s attempts at making Aadhaar integration mainstream.

The court order came on a writ petition by the All Bengal Minority Students Council earlier this month, which pointed out that the government’s attempts at making “Aadhaar submission mandatory” for a majority of scholarship schemes ran contrary to the Supreme Court’s interim order last year on the voluntary nature of Aadhaar.

Bench of justices V Gopala Gowda and Adarsh Kumar Goel ordered that the Centre’s decision to make the submissions of an Aadhaar number mandatory for the pre-matric, post-matric and merit-cum-means scholarship schemes must be halted.

“We stay the the operation and implementation of letters dated…to the extent that they have made Aadhaar submission mandatory,” the court’s order reads.

More significantly, the court also directs the ministry of electronics and information technology, which was also a respondent, to “remove Aadhaar number as a mandatory condition for student Registration form at the National Scholarship Portal…”

Voluntary or not?
The Supreme Court references its, earlier interim order on the biometric authentication scheme last year, noting that “our attention was invited to Para 5 of the order dated 15-10-2015 passed by this Court..”

Paragraph number 5 in question goes as follows: “We will make it clear that the Aadhaar card scheme is purely voluntary and it cannot be made mandatory till the matter is finally decided by the Court one way or the other.”

This paragraph has been particularly troublesome for the Modi government, which sees mainstream implementation of the identification system as important for India’s development. As The Wire reported earlier, major ministry officials are confused over whether notification of the Aadhaar Act negated to a certain extent the Supreme Court’s order last year on keeping Aadhaar voluntary.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatagi for instance, sees the notification of the Aadhaar Act as overriding all concerns raised by civil society and the Supreme Court. In remarks to the media on September 12th, which is when sections pertaining to the mandatory use of Aadhaar were notified, Rohaagi pointed out that the law “takes care of all concerns surrounding potential misuse”.

“The earlier challenge against mandatory use was against an executive notification that conceived Aadhaar. Now, the law takes care of all concerns surrounding potential misuse,” Rohatagi said.

The Supreme Court, in its order on the government’s scholarship schemes, does not appear align itself with this argument. It takes note of petitioner’s main argument, namely that making submission of Aadhaar card mandatory “are contrary to the interim order passed by the Constitution Bench and therefore, to that extent they are not tenable in law”.