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.


Thursday, August 3, 2017

11692 - UIDAI defends Aadhaar, says it can’t be used for surveillance: Privacy debates continue in SC - The News Minute

Law
The state of Maharashtra told the apex court that it cannot create a fundamental right, and only Parliament had that power.


Tuesday, August 01, 2017 - 19:56 

Allaying fears of abuse of Aadhaar for “tracking” citizens, the Unique Identification Authority of India told the Supreme Court on Tuesday that it was virtually impossible to do so.

The nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar, was hearing arguments for the fifth day on whether or not the right to privacy is a fundamental right under the Constitution.

Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing on behalf of Madhya Pradesh and the UIDAI, said that safeguards built into its systems, as well as restrictions under the law guarantee that Aadhaar cannot be used for the purpose of “surveillance”, even if allowed by a court.

Earlier in the day, appearing for the state of Maharashtra, senior advocate CA Sundaram told the apex court that the designation of a “right” as a fundamental right can only be done by the Parliament.

"This is not the case of interpretation of the Constitution or the law. This is the case of introduction of a right as a fundamental right. This can be done only by Parliament," CA Sundaram told the bench.

ASG Mehta also told the court that, “Nothing is private in the online era." He also suggested that the idea of privacy being a fundamental right, was being blown out of proportion.
He added that several existing laws like the Income Tax Act, the Right to Information Act and the Indian Telegraph Act protects aspects of privacy.

"There are developed developing and underdeveloped countries. Even in some developed countries like US, privacy is a right is fairly limited," Mehta told the court, adding that countries like China and Qatar do not consider privacy as a constitutional right.

Hearings before the nine-judge bench are set to conclude on Wednesday.

A five-judge Constitutional bench of the Supreme Court had, on July 18, referred the question to the nine-judge bench of whether the right to privacy is a fundamental right. This was done to examine the correctness of the position taken by an eight-judge bench in 1954, and subsequently by a six-judge bench in 1962, that privacy is not a fundamental right.

The fate of the Aadhaar project being pushed strongly by the central government, and various challenges raised against it, hinge on the nine-judge bench’s decision on the right to privacy.