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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Saturday, July 29, 2017

11663 - Law Commission Suggests New Human DNA Profiling Bill - Bar & bench




The Law Commission of India has, in its 271st Report, come out with a Draft Bill governing DNA profiling.
Before looking at the proposed provisions of the Draft Bill, it is necessary to delve into the history of the issue.
On 23 June 2006, Sections 53A and 54 were added to the Code of Criminal Procedure to govern the collection of bodily fluids and other biological samples from suspects, and also provided for DNA profiling.

After that, in 2014, acting on the basis of a PIL filed by NGO Lokniti Foundation asking why India does not have a national DNA database to address the issue of thousands of unclaimed dead bodies that are reported annually, the Department of Biotechnology came up with The Use and Regulation of DNA-based Technology in Civil and Criminal Proceedings, Identification of Missing Persons and Human Remains Bill, 2016.

The Bill came in for criticism because it had provisions for linking DNA profiling to determine genetic traits and also because it did not adequately provide for protecting the right to privacy. The ‘List of Matters for DNA Profiling’ allows for data collection on maternity or paternity disputes, issues relating to pedigree, surrogacy and immigration or emigration as well.  The Bill contained provisions for a volunteer’s index and collection of “such other DNA indices as may be specified by regulation,” which was termed as problematic because one could not be sure who might be coerced into giving biological samples under these provisions.

Now, the Law Commission has come out with a slew of recommendations assuaging the aforementioned concerns, and also providing for a Draft Bill. This is because, according to the Commission, various countries over the world – even a country like Trinidad & Tobago – has standalone legislation to govern the use of DNA profiling and prevent its misuse.

In the Draft Bill, the Commission has put in a mechanism which permits processing of DNA samples only for 13 CODIS loci, which would not violate in any way the privacy of a person, and as a result will never go beyond identification of a particular person. The strict adherence to 13 CODIS loci will eliminate the apprehension of revealing genetic traits.

The Draft Bill titled “The DNA-Based Technology (Use and Regulation) Bill, 2017″, has substantially modified the one prepared by the government earlier.

Some important recommendations of the Commission are :
  1. A statutory body called the DNA Profiling Board, which will undertake functions such as laying down procedures and standards to establish DNA laboratories and granting accreditation to such laboratories; and advising the concerned Ministries/Departments of the Central and State Governments on issues relating to DNA laboratories. It would also advise on all ethical and human rights issues relating to DNA testing in consonance with international guidelines.
  2. Strict confidentiality is to be maintained with respect to the use of DNA profiles, and anyone causing a breach of the same shall liable for punishment of imprisonment, which may extend up to three years and also fine which may extend up to Rs. 2 lakh.
  3. The DNA experts may be specified as Government Scientific Experts and be notified as such under clause (g) of sub-section (4) of section 293 of  the Code of Criminal Procedure.
  4. An undertrial can request the court for another DNA test to be conducted if it was found that the previous samples had been contaminated and hence had become unreliable.
Recently, the government had informed a Supreme Court bench of Justices Dipak MisraAM Khanwilkar and M Shantanagoudar that it was in the process of  bringing in Human DNA Profiling Bill to enable the authorities to maintain records of unidentified and unclaimed dead bodies or missing persons.
It remains to be seen whether this Bill would include and adapt the recommendations of the Law Commission and provisions and safeguards of the Bill drafted by it.