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.


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

11212 - The Necessity Of Dissent by Usha Ramanathan - Indian Express

There is a need to speak out when the state’s biases result in crime and impunity

Written by Usha Ramanathan | Published:May 1, 2017 12:43 am

The targeting of Muslims, alleging that they were either eating beef or smuggling cows or transporting them for some purpose that the mob thinks is suspect, has become commonplace.

There are reasons we worry when Hindu fringe elements practise the politics of violence and intimidation, and we feel impelled to speak out. One, impunity. When perpetrators of criminal acts are shielded from punishment, it produces this phenomenon. This idea gained renown in the late 1990s when the UN was discussing the statute for an international criminal court. It seemed preposterous that widespread and systematic violence was occurring in different places, and there was nothing in the law or in political practice to punish the guilty because the state was either the perpetrator, or it was shielding those responsible. Darfur, the Lord’s Resistance Army, Slobodan Milosevic, Charles Taylor, Rwanda, Akayesu — the 20th century has witnessed unimaginable bloodshed, accompanied by impunity where states were “unable or unwilling” to bring those committing crime to trial and punishment. We have our problems in India too — the mass cremation in Punjab, extra-judicial killings in Manipur, the unmarked graves that the SIT appointed by the State Human Rights Commission found in Kashmir. So long as there are institutions willing to — and able to — inquire and take action, there will be no impunity.
Two, institutional bias. This is systemic discrimination where persons invested with the authority of the state institutionalise bias in their work. The committee set up by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in the Nithari case observed: “The police apathy and indifference to the reports of missing children has come out sharply in the Nithari case… This is more so in the case of the poor and downtrodden whose voice is not heard.” Minorities and oppressed castes regularly face institutional bias. Recent events reinforce this perception. The targeting of Muslims, alleging that they were either eating beef or smuggling cows or transporting them for some purpose that the mob thinks is suspect, has become commonplace. The shame of these episodes has been exacerbated by the police walking past the dead to seize the suspect meat, seeming to make the statement that the victim is the accused. Impunity is added to institutional bias when an MLA of the ruling party tells reporters, “We should not take law into our hands. But we have no regret over his death because those who are cow smugglers are cow killers, sinners like them have met this fate earlier and will continue to do so”.
Third, then, is majoritarianism. There are many in this country who belong to the majority, but do not believe in majoritarianism, opportunistic and cowardly. Some years ago, one of our leading constitutional lawyers cautioned us that it is a hard journey from being a slave to becoming a subject, and from being a subject to becoming a citizen. Then, we need to work to continue as citizens and not slip down again. Majoritarianism does not believe in citizenship for everybody; only for the majority and, among them, for those who think like they do. That is not acceptable. It is everybody’s right, and the added responsibility of those belonging to the majority, to ensure that citizenship is not devalued for anybody.
What Justice A.P. Shah had to say in his M.N. Roy Memorial Talk, excerpts of which were reproduced in this newspaper (‘Dissent under siege,’ IE, April 21), specifically about the JNU incident, pertained to the use, by the state, of the provisions against sedition in the Indian Penal Code. The Constitution Bench in the Kedarnath case in 1962 made it clear that raising slogans would not constitute sedition. Yet, because the provision has not yet been repealed, and because the state is able to invoke it at will, the JNU students stood accused of sedition last year. Justice Shah spoke of such abuse. Because the government has forgotten the law, the Supreme Court reminded it on September 5, 2016, about the limits set by Kedarnath.
It was not the lines from a Hindi film song that provoked criticism of Justice Pratibha Rani’s verdict while granting bail to Kanhaiya Kumar. It was the violence in her words: “Whenever some infection is spread in a limb, effort is made to cure the same by giving antibiotics orally and if that does not work, by following second line of treatment. Sometimes it may require surgical intervention. However, if the infection results in infecting the limb to the extent that it becomes gangrene, amputation is the only treatment.”

The writer works on the jurisprudence of law, poverty and rights