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.


Saturday, May 27, 2017

11476 - Delhi HC appoints commissioner for Aadhaar-related ration card grievances - Factor Daily

Sunny Sen May 25, 2017

In one of the first decisions taken by the Delhi High Court against the government’s linkage of Aadhaar to essential services, which might set precedence for similar cases in future, it has appointed advocate Zoheb Hossain as “commissioner of the Court” to look into matters regarding exclusion from food security due to Aadhaar.

The Delhi Rozi Roti Adhikar Abhiyan (DRRAA) had filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the High Court against Aadhaar on March 8. The network of about 30 non-profit organisations working on issues related to food security wanted the notification making it mandatory for people to possess an Aadhaar cards to purchase food grains on subsidy to be overthrown.

The court has asked Hossain to meet aggrieved people and visit retail points using Aadhaar-based point-of-sale devices and report the situation back to the Court. 

On February 8, the Narendra Modi-led government notified that Aadhaar was mandatory to purchase food grains under the National Food Security Act (NFSA).

The appointment of the commissioner is one of the first push-backs against the government, which has been promoting Aadhaar to be linked with multiple utilities, disbursements, income tax, and subsidies.

The court has asked Hossain to meet aggrieved people and visit retail points using Aadhaar-based point-of-sale devices and report the situation back to the Court.
These linkages have given rise to a bigger debate over personal privacy and security, and have led to the creation of many anti-Aadhaar groups.

The DRRAA and Satark Nagarik Sangathan, a citizens’ group working towards promoting transparency in governance, also published a detailed report on the increasing number of instances of exclusion from food security with Aadhaar being linked to the Public Distribution System (PDS).

Apar Gupta, one of the legal counsels to the petitioner, argued that mandating Aadhaar to purchase ration violates Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution. The High Court had sought responses from the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution in this ongoing case.
The legal representative of the government requested the bench, comprising of acting Chief Justice Geeta Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar, to dismiss the matter. He argued that “similar cases were pending before the Supreme Court, but judges declined those requests.”
Apar Gupta, one of the legal counsels to the petitioner, argued that mandating Aadhaar to purchase ration violates Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution.  
Under the NFSA, every person listed for ration is entitled to five kg of foodgrains per month.
Gupta highlighted that Aadhaar was leading to exclusion in a few ways, such as families not having Aadhaar cards and not getting ration cards on that premise. “Despite having several (identity) proofs, several people were denied ration. These were mostly children, who did not have Aadhaar cards,” argued Gupta in the court.

Some of the other instances of citizens being denied ration are linked to not being given ration cards despite having other documents in place, and old people who came repeatedly but did not get rations because of biometric mismatches.

The other problem often occurred at the point-of-sale. About a couple of years ago, the Delhi government had done a pilot with Aadhaar-enabled POS devices in 42 ration shops. There have been reports of technology glitches with the POS machines. Many of those who had Aadhaar cards could not avail ration due to biometric failures.


The next hearing is due on September 1.