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, May 5, 2017

11247 - Aadhaar case: Mukul Rohatgi is wrong. ‘Bodily integrity’ is sacrosanct - Hindustan Times

The Attorney General’s comments in the Supreme Court calling an individual’s bodily integrity ‘bogus’ is not only irresponsible, but undermines the legal assumption that one is innocent until proven guilty. The biometrics collected for Aadhar are definitely more intrusive than photo IDs and cannot be equated with the latter.

EDITORIALS Updated: May 04, 2017 17:59 Ist
Hindustan Times

Rajasthani women show their Aadhaar cards while standing in a queue to vote in the Ajmer District Panchayat elections. (PTI)

Defending the Centre’s decision to link citizens’ Aadhaar numbers to their PAN cards, Attorney General (A-G) Mukul Rohatgi on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that the right over one’s body is not absolute and called the arguments of bodily intrusion to take biometric data for Aadhaar as “bogus”. His added that Aadhaar biometrics are no more intrusive than photographs used in other identity documents and that an individual does not have absolute authority over their body because the government was already regulating abortions in women and collecting fingerprints from criminals. The A-G also argued that the leaks did not come from the central database and so the Aadhaar database cannot be called unsafe.

The A-G’s argument that an individual’s bodily integrity is “bogus” is shocking. It undermines individual freedom and raises several other questions including whether the next step could be DNA profiling. If an individual does not have complete rights on one’s own body, what is left of individual freedom? In cases involving violations of “bodily integrity” such as rape, the notion of consent is invoked. Consent implies that an individual has complete authority over her own body and no one can violate that. By claiming that this is a “bogus” idea, the A-G has done a great disservice to the rights of citizens.

The bedrock of the modern legal system is the assumption that an individual is innocent until proven guilty. But to collect biometric data because criminals surrender fingerprints is to turn that maxim on its head. As Justice AK Sikri pointed out, “The State has the obligation to maintain the dignity of an individual” and not impose the indignity enforced on criminals on everyone.

The argument that the leaks of Aadhaar data did not come from the Unique Identification Authority of India database, and so it cannot be blamed for the leaks is a ‘bogus’ argument. Given that details of 135 million Aadhaar card holders may have been leaked, it matters little whether that breach came from the central database or from other states. The fact remains that citizens who have given personal information to the government now have no way to ensure its safety.

Aadhaar will also be connected to bank accounts and other deeply personal aspects of a person’s life. It would give the State massive powers over the individual. And given the rate at which the system is leaking, and the amount of scope there is for misuse of such information, Aadhaar is a dangerous and invasive database that cannot be allowed to become mandatory without the right checks and balances.