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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Thursday, May 4, 2017

11230 - Govt’s stand on Aadhaar for PAN could ‘dilute civil liberties’: Supreme Court told - LIVE MINT

Last Modified: Thu, May 04 2017. 12 02 PM IST


The govt’s decision to make Aadhaar mandatory for PAN came under attack in the Supreme Court, with opponents asserting that the move would dilute civil liberties

UIDAI website says that every citizen is entitled to voluntarily obtaining Aadhaar. Photo: Mint

New Delhi: The government’s decision to make Aadhaar mandatory for PAN number on Wednesday came under sharp attack in the Supreme Court, with the antagonists asserting that the move would “dilute civil liberties and dominate the citizens.”

Contending that an Aadhaar-like system has not been implemented in any country which calls itself democratic, the opponents also said a person can be tracked and remain under electronic surveillance throughout his life.

They said the step was in “complete collision” with the norms laid down by its statutory arm the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) which clearly states that Aadhaar is “voluntary”. Arguing that the enrollers of Aadhaar who are collecting data and biometrics from citizens were private parties and there was serious threat of misuse or leakage of data, senior advocate Shyam Divan said “there are cases where such information have been commercially sold. The law says life and body is paramount and if the finger prints of an individual are stolen, it might end his identity.”
“If we fail here, there is tremendous possibility that state will dilute civil liberties and dominate its citizens. The concept of civil liberties will go then,” he told a bench comprising Justices A. K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan.
He said that the “creature” of the Aadhaar Act, that is the Unique Identification Authority of India which is responsible for its enrolment and authentication including operation and management, has repeatedly said that every citizen of India was entitled to obtain it “voluntarily”.

The counsel, who was representing two of the three petitioners who have challenged the government’s decision, told the court that attorney general Mukul Rohatgi had contended that Aadhaar was “mandatory”.
“Even today, UIDAI website says that every citizen is entitled to voluntarily obtaining Aadhaar. The authority, which is the creature of the Aadhaar Act, is saying it is voluntary,” senior advocate Shyam Divan told the bench.

“Instrumentalities of state does not defraud the public. UIDAI has given the correct interpretation, that is, Aadhaar is voluntary. The language of the statute and understanding of UIDAI is clear. Aadhaar is entirely voluntary,” he said, adding that the application form for Aadhaar enrollment also says it is voluntary. Divan buttressed his arguments by referring to earlier orders of apex court and said, “the Supreme Court has said it is voluntary. It is the duty of court to protect the citizens of this country”.

He argued that there was a “complete collision” between the Aadhaar Act and section 139AA of the Income Tax Act, which provides for mandatory quoting of Aadhaar or enrolment ID of Aadhaar application form for filing of income tax returns and making application for allotment of PAN number with effect from 1 July this year.

When the government opposed the contentions advanced by petitioners, the bench put a poser to the parties and asked whether a person can say that he would pay tax in a manner in which he or she wants. “In a tax regime, you cannot say that I will not pay tax ... The question is a person is ready to pay tax. Whether he can say that I will pay tax in the manner I want,” the bench asked.

During the hearing, the Centre maintained its stand saying section 139AA was enacted by Parliament to ensure that fake PAN cards are weeded out of the system and Aadhaar was the “most effective” way to do it. To this, the bench asked, “they (petitioners) are saying that why to follow this law which according to them is invalid”.

The government said, “Parliament has decided in its wisdom that you may have to do something which they (petitioner) do not want to do. There could be many things which could be objected to but the law cannot be said to be discriminatory”.

“State has a right to ask for information and state does it also. We cannot impart on the conception of privacy prevailing in different parts of the world,” it said. The bench, however, said it would not go into the aspect of privacy as the issue would be dealt with by a constitution bench. The apex court was hearing three petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Section 139AA of the Income Tax Act which was introduced through the latest budget and the Finance Act 2017.
During the arguments, which would continue on Thursday, the Centre said the Aadhaar Act was enacted in terms of the apex court’s orders and Parliament has exercised its legislative powers for it. The government also said that leakage of information was never from the UIDAI database where the biometric information is stored. Divan countered the Centre’s arguments and said Aadhaar- like system has not been implemented in “any other country which calls itself democratic.”

“The government cannot say that Aadhaar is mandatory. They cannot argue contrary to what is there in the statute enacted by Parliament,” he said, adding, “there are no coercive proceedings in the Aadhaar Act and there are no penalties for not obtaining Aadhaar”. “Absence of any coercive provision in the Act regarding securing Aadhaar is an important factor and it shows that it is not mandatory but voluntary,” Divan said.

He also argued that the way the government was trying to make it mandatory, a person can be tracked and he would be under electronic surveillance throughout his life. “It will destroy social and political choices. This is the worst thing,” he said and added that a person cannot be compelled to part away with his biometrics to obtain Aadhaar.

Divan also argued that the enrollers who are collecting data and biometrics for Aadhaar were private parties and there was serious issue of misuse or leakage of data. “There are cases where such information has been commercially sold.
“If we fail here, there is tremendous possibility that state will dilute civil liberties and dominate its citizens. The concept of civil liberties will go then,” he said.