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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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

10786 - Project Of Defiance - Indian Express

Governments are making Aadhaar mandatory in contravention of court orders

Written by Apar Gupta , Prasanna S | Updated: January 13, 2017 12:36 am

The Supreme Court has passed a series of interim orders to prohibit the imposition and limit the application of Aadhaar.
One reason for the controversy surrounding the Aadhaar project is the pending litigation against it in the Supreme Court. The cases draw on substantive critiques, including exclusion and deprivation caused by the usage of Aadhaar in provisioning essential services such as the PDS and MGNREGA, breaches of individual privacy and threats to national and individual security in the way the project has been conceived and implemented. Such concerns are not pure policy matters but interact with constitutionally protected fundamental rights, including Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution.

The Supreme Court has passed a series of interim orders to prohibit the imposition and limit the application of Aadhaar. However, concerns as to the compliance of such orders has been rising as various government ministries, departments and other statutory bodies continue to link Aadhaar to the provision of services — in many instances, even making it mandatory. In any litigation, the interest of a court is in ensuring that its final judgement is implemented in letter and spirit. Such determinations take time and a common method to ensure compliance is by preventing parties from disturbing the subject matter of the litigation. Acting on these well-established legal principles, the SC has passed a series of orders on the Aadhaar project as it continues to consider the petitions.

In August 2015, the court issued a set of directions making it clear that Aadhaar was not a precondition for the delivery of any state benefits and further limiting its use to PDS schemes. 

Aadhaar was directed to be optional, and even such voluntary use was allowed only for the distribution of foodgrains and cooking fuels. Such a restraint was passed after the Union government took a stand that the constitutional basis of the right to privacy did not clearly emerge in case law. Acting on this, the court referred the Aadhaar petitions to a larger bench. Such a bench has yet to be constituted with the larger Aadhaar case hanging in the balance.

During the pendency of the case, two significant events occurred. On October 15, 2015, 11 state governments and institutions went back to the SC seeking permission to use Aadhaar beyond PDS schemes. The court agreed to relax its order but limited the use of Aadhaar to four schemes, in addition to PDS and cooking fuel allowed by the earlier order. It again clarified the use of Aadhaar would be, “purely voluntary” even while Aadhaar is used in these schemes. Then, on March 16, 2016, the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 was passed, having been rushed through Parliament as a money bill. Given that the Aadhaar scheme operated on the basis of a executive notification till such date, some claimed the Aadhaar Act filled in a legislative vacuum. Others criticised it on process and substance. Such concerns have given rise to two petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Act which the court has agreed to hear, but it will have to wait till the larger question of the right to privacy is decided. Hence, compliance with the interim directions becomes vital.

Irrespective of such challenges, many state institutions have started demanding Aadhaar as a precondition (mandatory, not voluntary) for services (beyond the five permitted schemes). For instance, the joint entrance examination notification for the IIT competitive exam requires compulsory online registration through Aadhaar. A subsequent clarification makes a reference to the Aadhaar Act to purportedly clothe this imposition with an appearance of legality.

This creates doubt on the restraint put by the SC when none should exist. The Aadhaar Act does not have a provision that excludes or nullifies existing orders. On the contrary, there is language in the Act that suggests continuity with the earlier legal arrangement. Even otherwise, a order on September 14, 2016, stayed the imposition of Aadhaar in three scholarship schemes, thereby indicating that the Aadhaar Act does not materially alter the SC’s past orders.

The state’s measures have elements of coercion that undermine individual choice and rights guaranteed under the Constitution. Observance of the interim orders of the Court are better suited to the government for maintaining a healthy, respectful relationship with the judiciary branch. Disregarding them portends a worrying prospect of undermining the authority of the Supreme Court.


The writers are lawyers for petitioners in the Aadhaar cases before the Supreme Court