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, July 25, 2017

11629 - The privacy challenge and the power of legal dissent - Live Mint


Dissenting opinion of two Supreme Court judges in ‘Kharak Singh vs State of Uttar Pradesh, 1962’ case on right to privacy has provided substance to privacy warriors

The Supreme Court of India. The challenge over Aadhaar has been the trigger for the ongoing legal battle over right to privacy as a fundamental right. Photo: Mint

New Delhi: The challenge over Aadhaar may have been the trigger for the ongoing legal battle over privacy, but it is the dissenting opinion of two Supreme Court judges in a landmark ruling on the right to privacy delivered more than half a century ago that has provided substance to the privacy warriors.

In 1962, justices K. Subba Rao and J.C. Shah, departing from what presumably was the prevailing norm for assessing privacy, dissented from the majority view in Kharak Singh vs State of Uttar Pradesh. More than five decades on, it is their perspective on liberty, dignity and privacy that forms the basis for the apex court to revisit the judgement on the question of whether privacy is a fundamental right under the Constitution.

Hearings on the case resume on Tuesday, when the government begins its arguments.

The case also highlights the power of dissent in evolving law, penned when a judge on a bench disagrees with either the verdict or part of it or its reasoning.

In trying to determine whether or not privacy should be accorded the status of a fundamental right, a nine-judge constitution bench is focusing on two cases—M.P. Sharma vs Satish Chandra and Kharak Singh vs State of Uttar Pradesh. Both these cases held that privacy was not a fundamental right in India.

The first, a case dating back to 1954, relates to the police’s right to search and seize documents. A majority ruling held that the right to privacy was not a fundamental right under the Constitution and that such police action amounted to “temporary interference for which statutory recognition was unnecessary”.

In the second case, which was about state surveillance, the court ruled in 1962 that “privacy was not a guaranteed constitutional right”. It, however, held that Article 21 (the right to life and personal liberty) was the repository of residuary personal rights and recognized the common law right to privacy.

Subba Rao and Shah’s dissenting judgement was heard again in court. On the first day of arguments on 19 July, advocate Gopal Subramanium, arguing for the right to privacy said, “Justice Subba Rao had said that liberty is not a residual but a fully fledged right under Article 21.”

Drawing further from his dissent, Subramanium added that any state action restricting liberty must be tested both against Article 19 (right to various freedoms) and Article 21.
Subba Rao and Shah had held that the right of personal liberty in Article 21 implied the right of an individual to be free from restrictions or encroachments on his or her person, directly or indirectly. Consequently, officials extracting information from others regarding the individual would constitute an infringement of personal liberty.

“A dissenting opinion is not necessarily wrong, it may not seem relevant at that point in time but can go on to become the law later. There have been several famous dissenting judgements that have much later paved way for becoming law. The most famous one was by justice H.R. Khanna in A.D.M. Jabalpur vs Shukla, where he said that fundamental rights cannot be curtailed during an Emergency. This went to become the law. Who knows, justice Subba Rao’s dissent may end up becoming law too,” said Alok Prasanna Kumar, a lawyer and visiting fellow at think tank Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy.

First Published: Mon, Jul 24 2017. 01 00 AM IST




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