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


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


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.

Friday, August 4, 2017

11698 - Making fundamental right subservient to economic rights dangerous: Supreme Court - TNN

Dhananjay Mahapatra| TNN | Updated: Aug 2, 2017, 08:09 AM IST

  • Centre’s stand that right to privacy would always take a back seat when it came to Aadhaar: Senior advocate C A Sundaram
  • Aadhaar has enabled the government to secure right to food, a more important right, for millions of poor living below poverty line, Sundaram said

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court continued to subject the debate on constitutional status for the right to privacy+ to close scrutiny, saying economic rights of citizens and provision for food and other essential items could never be a ground to undermine basic fundamental rights.

This observation came when senior advocate C A Sundaram, appearing for the Maharashtra government, reiterated the Centre's stand that right to privacy would always take a back seat+ when it came to Aadhaar, which enabled the government to secure right to food, a more important right, for millions of poor living below poverty line. "What is better— two square meals or right to privacy," he asked.

Justice D Y Chandrachud, part of a nine-judge bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar, asked: "Does it mean the cherished constitutional rights are subservient to certain economic developments? Can two square meals be promised in return for barring people from protesting, forming association or giving up other fundamental rights? This can never be. We must guard against this tendency."

Justice J Chelameswar said: "It is a very cruel choice one can give to citizens - two square meals or right to privacy+ ." 

Justice R F Nariman said: "In the era when personal liberty and fundamental rights are being given a wider meaning, how can you argue for contracting the width of fundamental rights?"

Sundaram repeatedly clarified that he was not against right to privacy as a statutory right. "Privacy is, in fact, protected by several statutes in several forms, be it Indian Post Office Act, Aadhaar Act, Income Tax Act or others. I am all for statutory protection to privacy. But, giving it a homogenous shape as right to privacy and introducing as a standalone fundamental right would not be proper," he said.

He said it was one thing for the SC to interpret an existing fundamental right to rule that right to privacy was part of it, but quite another to rule it as a standalone fundamental right. 

"The Supreme Court must remember that interpretational route to specify a right is far apart from introducing right to privacy in the Constitution despite the Constitution-makers specifically considering, debating and then rejecting it."

"Parliament alone can consider, debate and elevate a common law right as fundamental right in the Constitution, not the Supreme Court," he said. When the Bench said India had an obligation to respect right to privacy as it had signed the UN Declaration on Human rights, Sundaram said India's obligation to respect international treaty mandates was under Article 61 of Directive Principles of the Constitution, which was not an enforceable right.

Appearing for Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta said the petitioners' apprehension that personal data collected for Aadhaar+ would be used by the government to track activities of citizens is unfounded.

"Aadhaar Act is an exemplary piece of legislation that protects personal data zealously and punishes data leakage. The personal data protection regime is so stringent that even if the government attempts to know where Aadhaar card has been used, it would be able to get only general data which would not pin point the location of the citizen. If a person opens bank account, the government would come to know which bank the citizen has opened the account but not the branch location," Mehta said.