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“Hume Aadhaar Nahi- Sudhar Chahiye !”: MNREGA workers at nation wide protest

The Aadhaar Act, 2016 as it says is supposed to be for the “targeted delivery of financial and other subsidies, benefits and services.” But the ground reality tells us a different story.

Thousands of MNEREGA workers gathered at Jantar Mantar for five days from 11th September to 15th September 2017 to express their frustration over lack of wages, no ration, and poor maternity benefits.

They revealed that Anganwaadi workers had not been receiving wages for the past 6 months. They have no food to eat. How are they supposed to work in such poor conditions?

One woman expressed that the villagers haven’t been receiving ration for the past 2 and a half years. They are not even getting kerosene to cook their food. After the introduction of Aadhaar, their living conditions have gotten miserable. She said, “Aadhaar ke wajah se hume bahut dikaat ho rahi hai. Ration nahi milta, hum majdoori karne waale hai” (We have been facing a lot of problems because of Aadhaar. We who do manual labour can no longer get ration under the PDS system, to sustain our families).

Another woman said that they all have had to pay Rs. 100 each to make the Aadhaar number card which is supposed to be free of cost. They have had to pay more money to add their children’s names to the cards to avail benefits.

Tukaram Malawe from the Dalit Adivasi Jagrati Sangathan in Badwani, Madhya Pradesh said that women workers have not been able to avail maternity benefits under the Janani Suraksha Yojna after Aadhaar has been made mandatory to avail these services.

One pregnant woman worker reached the hospital at midnight in excruciating labour pain and she was asked to produce her Aadhaar card first. There was no means of commute in the night and with a lot of difficulty her husband went home to get the card.

Many women workers have been denied service in hospitals since their names are not found in the system after the introduction of Aadhaar. Infants will suffer every year because of these lack of benefits.

Tukaram ji also explained that one of the workers had entered a wrong Aadhaar number in the MNEREGA scheme and since months his wages were being sent in the account of another person. The elderly had suddenly stopped receiving their pension, since their rugged fingerprints don’t match with those stored in the system

In Madhya Pradesh, a woman was being asked to show Aadhaar number even while she was in labour pain, because government has made it mandatory for Janani Surksha Yojana, a scheme for a maternity benefit cash transfer\” Tukaram Malave said \”We were managing fine without Aadhaar, with bank passbooks, why is government forcing Aadhaar?\

 

The poor villagers are being exploited. Tukaram ji expressed their  frustration, “Aadhaar is needed in schools for children, in hospitals, in court, to pay electricity; it it even required to use a mobile phone it seems.”  In fear they have been paying Rs. 500 to get a tatkal Aadhaar made.

Most workers complained that even after linking Aadhaar to their bank accounts, their thumb impressions don’t match with those in the system and they are not able to get their wages or ration because of this.

Another major problem with the system is the fear of being “deactivated”.

Norat Mal from Tilonia, Rajasthan explained that many workers were not receiving wages while the other were. On investigating, they found out that their Aadhaar cards were deactivated, without any prior notice or reason. They had to spend a lot of money to travel far to get their Aadhaar re-activated.

How can the Government take away essential services from the poorest in the country without giving any explanation? Are we moving towards the end of democracy?

The Government has been repeatedly emphasizing on the “social benefits” of Aadhaar and its role in eradicating hunger. These testimonies are showing us the exact opposite of what the Government is claiming. And these very testimonies will show the judges of the Supreme Court, what the implications of making Aadhaar mandatory can be.

By Chandni Chawla,

Researcher, Intern with Rethink Aadhaar Campaign

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India – Don’t misread Supreme Court order, #Aadhaar not a must

The DoT is wrongly asking subscribers to link their mobile numbers to Aadhaar in order to keep them active.
Under no situation can the ministry of communications establish that the two-judge bench’s order will prevail over the five-judge Constitution Bench’s order, says Gopal Krishna.

A recent newspaper report misrepresented an observation made by the Supreme Court in an order by a two-judge bench (external link) delivered on February 6.

The report appeared to be a part of the barrage of messages sent to mobile subscribers, asking them to mandatorily link their Aadhaar to their phone numbers to keep the latter active, as per the Government of India’s directions.

However, while referring to the government order, the reporter failed to examine the consistency of the letter (external link) from the department of telecommunications with the law and an October 15, 2015 order (external link) by the Supreme Court’s five-judge Constitution Bench.

The DoT issued the letter on March 23, 2017, with the subject ‘Implementation of Hon’ble Supreme Court orders regarding 100% E-KYC based re-verification of all existing subscribers’, wherein it partially refers to the observation made by the two-judge bench in the February order.

The observation of the two-judge bench which the DoT letter referred to is in para 5 of the order.

It reads: ‘In view of the factual position brought to our notice during the course of hearing, we are satisfied that the prayers made in the writ petition have been substantially dealt with, and an effective process has been evolved to ensure identity verification, as well as, the addresses of all mobile phone subscribers for new subscribers.’

‘In the near future, and more particularly, within one year from today, a similar verification will be completed, in the case of existing subscribers.’

After citing this part of the court’s order, the letter would have us believe that ‘this amounts to a direction which is to be completed within a time frame of one year’.

Having reached this inference, the DoT has sought Unique Identification/Aadhaar-based verification of new mobile subscribers and re-verification of all existing subscribers.

The fact is that the DoT has drawn a flawed inference with regard to whether or not the Supreme Court observation ‘amounts to a direction’ or not because under no situation can the ministry of communications establish that the two-judge bench’s order will prevail over the five-judge Constitution Bench’s order.

After the June 9, 2017 verdict (external link) of the Supreme Court bench, headed by Justice A K Sikri, on the 12-digit biometric Aadhaar, DoT’s letter has become invalid on three grounds.

One, the letter is illegal as it is in violation of the five-judge bench order.

Two, the letter is inconsistent with the Aadhaar Act, 2016 (external link), and three, the Supreme Court’s order of June 9, 2017 will prevail over the DoT letter dated March 23.

Notably, nowhere does the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 provide for and authorise ‘seeding’ of UID/Aadhaar numbers in databases.

The Act provides for only two uses:

1. Authentication, which means that biometric or demographic data can be sent to the Unique Identification Authority of India’s Central Identities Data Repository to return a ‘yes/no’ reply to the question whether you are who you say you are; and,

2. eKYC, which does something they had said they would never do — give the data on their database (except core biometric data — although they have no means to stop any agency from collecting and keeping biometrics when it is given for authentication) to an authorised service agency.

It is germane to note that Section 8(2)(b) of the Act is categorical in stating that an agency requesting authentication ‘ensure(s) that the identity information of an individual is only used for submission’ to the CIDR of 12-digit biometric UID/Aadhaar numbers ‘for authentication’.

It does not authorise anyone to hold onto the number.

As per the order of the five-judge bench of the Supreme Court dated October 15, 2015, Aadhaar cannot be made mandatory for the purposes of linking to mobile phones.

This has been reiterated by the court on June 9 and June 27, 2017 (external link).

The use of Aadhaar for linking to other databases, retention, storage or publishing is prohibited and is a punishable offence under the the Aadhaar Act 2016.

Apart from the foregoing, the following should be noted clearly:

1. Aadhaar cannot be made compulsory because of the orders of the Supreme Court.

2. The Aadhaar Act 2016 does not make it compulsory.

3. The CIDR of Aadhaar numbers is not a verified or audited database. Neither the UIDAI nor any other government authority certifies it as a proof of identity, address, resident status or even the existence of any person.

4. The linkage of Aadhaar to mobiles will encourage imposters to obtain SIMs.

5. In its counter-affidavit in the Supreme Court in the Lokniti Foundation v Union of Indiacase, the Centre, through the then attorney general, stated that ‘currently Aadhaar card or biometric authentication is not mandatory for obtaining a new telephone connection’.

The proper wording of the submission of the attorney general and the Supreme Court’s order are important in light of the misreporting of the case. (The headline of the above mentioned news report, for instance, was ‘SC asks Centre to link all mobile numbers to Aadhaar within one year’.)

In its petition, the Lokniti Foundation, had prayed that ‘the Aadhar card or such other biometric identification may be made compulsory for verification of the mobile phone subscribers that can ensure 100 per cent verification of mobile phones’, but pursuant to the attorney general’s submission, the two-judge bench of the court decided not to purposefully violate the orders of a three-judge bench and the five-judge Constitution Bench, which assert that getting a biometric Aadhaar number is voluntary.

But the DoT chose to misinterpret the order.

6. It is germane to note that the August 11, 2015, order of a three-judge bench of Justices Chelameswar, S A Bobde and Nagappan observed, ‘The Union of India shall give wide publicity in the electronic and print media including radio and television networks that it is not mandatory for a citizen to obtain an Aadhaar card; The production of an Aadhaar card will not be condition for obtaining any benefits otherwise due to a citizen’.

7. The order passed by the five-judge Constitution Bench in the ‘UID/Aadhaar’ matter, reads: ‘We impress upon the Union of India that it shall strictly follow all the earlier orders passed by this court commencing from September 23, 2013. We will also make it clear that the Aadhaar card scheme is purely voluntary and it cannot be made mandatory till the matter is finally decided by this court one way or the other’.

8. This ‘Aadhaar is voluntary’ position has been repeated by the high courts of Kerala, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

9. In a significant case, a Punjab and Haryana high court bench, headed by then Chief Justice A K Sikri (currently a Supreme Court judge), heard a matter challenging a circular making Aadhaar mandatory.

The moment the court raised questions of laws, the circular making Aadhaar mandatory was withdrawn by the central government.

10. It must be noted that in keeping with court’s order, the West Bengal assembly passed a unanimous resolution against Aadhaar number-related schemes in the public interest.

11. In a related case, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) vs Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the apex court passed an order dated March 24, 2014, which reads as follows:

‘More so, no person shall be deprived of any service for want of Aadhaar number in case he/she is otherwise eligible/entitled.’

‘All the authorities are directed to modify their forms/circulars/likes so as to not compulsorily require the Aadhaar number.’

This order in the case is a part of the ‘all the earlier orders passed by this court’ which is required to be followed ‘strictly’.

It is quite evident that repeated orders issued by the Supreme Court till June 27, 2017, make it clear that Aadhaar remains voluntary.

Therefore, no one can be mandatorily asked to produce or link biometric Aadhaar for anything.

12. The then attorney general had admitted in an affidavit filed on behalf of the Centre that Aadhaar is not mandatory.

13. On June 9, 2017, the court observed that even the Aadhaar Act, 2016 does not make UID/Aadhaar mandatory. This was reiterated on June 27, 2017.

14. A three judge-bench headed by the then Chief Justice of India on January 5, 2017, expressed concern about the collection of biometric data by private and foreign agencies.

15. The UID/Aadhaar enrolment process continues to promise Indian residents that ‘Aadhaar enrolment is free and voluntary’.

It must be noted that the existing legal provisions as per the Supreme Court’s order and the Aadhaar Act, 2016 do not provide for seeding of Aadhaar with any scheme or project.

16. The views of the National Human Rights Commission reveal that the biometric authentication scheme has a number of dangerous ramifications.

The National Human Rights Commission’s view on the ‘need for protection of information’, ‘the possibility of tampering with stored biometric information’ and ‘disclosure of information in the interest of national security’ has been ignored.

It is evident that following the attorney general’s submission in the Supreme Court recorded in the February 6, 2017, order stating that UID/Aadhaar is not mandatory for telephone connections and keeping the orders of several high courts and apex court in mind, there is a logical legal obligation for the government and non-governmental agencies who are implementing UID/Aadhaar-related schemes and systems to revise their orders and circulars to comply with the court’s order in letter and spirit.

In the aftermath of the verdict of the nine-judge Constitution Bench declaring the Right to Privacy as a Fundamental Right, it is high time editors chastened their reporters to refrain from irresponsible and untruthful reporting.

Photograph: Mansi Thapliyal/Reuters

http://www.rediff.com/news/column/dont-misread-supreme-court-order-aadhaar-not-a-must/20170918.htm

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India – Are we preparing the future citizens who can afford Bullet Train ?

By Mousumi Roy

There is lot of talk about launching of new projects – small like making toilets in each village and big like bullet train, making of new highways, metro in all major cities, smart cities etc.

The PM announced that ‘ Bullet Train‘ virtually a free gift from Japan. Loan is in Yen, Not Rupee. Hence, Cost of hedging applies, Which May be 5-6% …Machinery has to be sourced from Japan, Costs there maybe inflated. We might have got the Technology  from Japan and Cheaper Machinery from other country too…Interest rate in Japan is Negative, -0.1 reason for such low interest rate.

I wish Japan now also partners with India to upgrade our education and health by giving even bigger loans on similarly friendly terms. Such partnership will have far bigger impact. Of course ours infrastructure growth have always been aspiration driven and was never the other way round ( aspiration driven by growth in infrastructure) and therefore the bullet train is a classic example of that only. New technology should always be welcomed. Only point is that improvement and up gradation of technology and operations is the crying need of the hour for Railways as a whole.

 

My take is that the amount of money proposed to be spent on Ahmedabad Mumbai sector is too large vis a vis the distance covered and the expected tangible and intangible benefits. Wondering if that is the reason as to why Railway budget has been merged with the main budget so that the huge expediture does not look too glaring. Anyway, A 10 lakh crore loan for 50 years almost at no interest, to be used only for education and health will have a huge impact. Far more jobs, far more innovation, far more business growth are guaranteed, if such a project is taken up.

Let’s see how much our governments spend on education. In 2017, the union budget kept a total of less than Rs. 80, 000 crore for school as well as higher education. Shockingly, the UP government kept only around Rs. 700 crore of the both. Are we preparing the future citizens who can afford bullet trains? But we don’t even care. While the lack of spending and reforms in the education sector is definitely one of the biggest failures of the present government. The education and health are usually very poorly funded sectors by union and state governments in India, possibly with one exception of Delhi that has recently seen major increase in the state budgets for these. social sectors.

In the modern world, the intellectual capital is indeed the most important capital for a country. Only by building the intellectual capital, can we emerge as an economic power. Are our policies really focussed on building this capital in all its dimensions? 0.1% interest on 88 thousand Crore = 88 Crore per annum. Many manufacturers attract customers by facilitating purches of their equipment through very low interest or zero interest EMIs. Obviously their profits are already built in their price. I am sure that as smart businessmen the Gujaratis will understand it easily.

Railway needs to modernise itself big time including replacement reconditioning of bogies, quality of service. We need to come to international standards on railway as a whole. Not everyone in the developed world runs bullet trains but the quality of service. Superfast services yes but supersonic trains well. India since long is a country where technology spans from cow dung technology to advanced space and nuclear technology; and I expect the same to continue in times to come, but the mind does question sometimes about the priority of this vis-a-vis condition of government schools -particularly in villages- and pot holed roads and hospital facilities in villages. Prabhuji has made a royal mess of Railways. Finances are in disarray and to conceal this, Railway budget has been discontinued. Passenger fares have gone up by 30%, while punctuality is at a 30 year low. Coaches are filthy, stink, passengers had to open an umbrella inside the Amritsar Shatabdi coach when it rained outside. Food is unfit for human consumption. Linen is not washed,  and they stink.

Derailments and accidents have become fortnightly affairs. India has the dubious distinction of being leader is rail accidents with worst rail accident happening in 2016 in which more than 150 people lost their lives. India doesn’t need any foreign aid to purchase rail safety equipment to avert head on collision of trains etc. But precious little is done in this regard. Bullet train will run on around 500 kms but what about 66000 kms of rail line which is crying for some treatment.

The Government has started asking senior citizens to give up their rail fare concessions. Some citizens may not want concession. There are millions of senior citizens who need it, want it. This is just society’s way of saying “thank you” to senior citizens. The first thing to be withdrawn should be these concessions to MPs. By the way, they still get Rs.15,000 a month as “telephone allowance”, when…can get unlimited calls and data for less than Rs.1,000. Funds constraints are always a reflection of priorities.

Priority number one, two and three are cows. Followed by research on cow dung and urine. Followed by establishing astrology as a unique Bharatiya Vigyan. India ranks number 1 in the world in cow spend. We are creating a separate ministry for this. If cows are healthy, all Indians will automatically become healthy. There will be no need for so many hospitals. One of the ministers has already clarified that scientific research has shown that cows exhale oxygen. That will be the source of oxygen supplies in the future – no more Gorakhpurs.

Is the govt. investing well on education? Further, while it may be very practical to do so, for a country that believes in Vasudhaiv kutumbukam, is it moral to reject all helpless refugees including old people, children, women, sick people?  If not, will we be able to create and retain our intellectual capital in the modern world by loosing a high moral ground, once a hallmark of our foreign policy?

Mousumi Roy  is based in Muscat and is an author and Visiting Professor (International Relations). She can be reached at [email protected]

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Calls it ‘grave injustice’, goes to SC: Man refuses to obtain #Aadhaar for self, family

Son denied college admission, hospital treatment without it

 by Ruhi Bhasin | Mumbai | P

John Abrahim, SC, Aadhaar, Mumbai Man Aadhaar Card Refused, Mumbai Aadhaar Card, Mumbai News, Indian Express, Indian Express NewsJohn Abrahim

Calling it “grave injustice”, Andheri resident John Abrahim has refused to get an Aadhaar card for himself and his family. The impediments he faced in the absence of the card — his son’s college admission, treatment in a hospital, his retirement benefits — have hardly been a deterrent. “Making me do something and making a single card the only reliable proof in the county is grave injustice. I am against this system which is forcing me to do something,” Abrahim said.

His 17-year-old son was allegedly denied admission to 12th standard in St Xavier’s College for not possessing an Aadhaar card. Most recently, his son also faced trouble getting treatment in a hospital in Andheri, which requires Aadhaar as proof for registration of the patient’s name.

But the father is still adamant in his fight against the system. Recently, after having taken voluntary retirement from the Indian Railways, he does not know if he will be given his pension in the absence of an Aadhaar card. In August this year, he had approached the Bombay High Court seeking directions to grant admission to his son in 12th standard in St Xavier’s College without furnishing his son’s Aadhaar card or that of his wife’s. The High Court, however, refused to grant him any relief.

The court initially suggested that the petitioner John Abrahim submit the Aadhaar card as required under various recent government resolutions. If he did so, the court would consider issuing direction to the college and the Trust — Bombay St Xavier’s College Society — which runs and manages the college, to grant admission to his son besides granting a certain time for submission of the Aadhaar card to the college.

Abrahim, however, informed the court later that he was unwilling to obtain the Aadhaar card. “We fail to understand the instance of not obtaining the Aadhaar card. It appears that the petitioner (Abrahim) is adamant and wants to take a stand only for the purpose of adamancy. We are, therefore, not inclined to grant an interim relief,” Justice B R Gavai had said.

He then approached the Supreme Court. On September 4, the apex court sought a response from the Maharashtra government on the issue and granted two weeks to do so. “They are making Aadhaar compulsory everywhere. What is the point of insisting on it during admissions and denying my child his right to education over it?” questioned Abrahim. He added that while half the academic year for his son would be over during the time the apex court decides on the issue, he would continue his fight against Aadhaar. His son has now got admission in another college.

This is not the first instance of someone questioning the requirement of Aadhaar for admissions. A Division Bench of Justice A S Oka and Justice A A Sayyed had, in June 2016, dismissed a public interest litigation challenging the government resolution (GR) issued on April 21, 2015, by which every child, while securing admission to any school in the state, is required to submit a copy of his or her Aadhaar card.

For Abrahim, the recent Right to Privacy judgment is a step towards helping him in his fight against the system, “which is forcing him” to get the Aadhaar card made by making it the only valid document required to be linked right from bank accounts to telephone numbers.

While the Supreme Court’s ruling held that the Right to Privacy is a fundamental right, it was only limited to that issue. The matter of whether Aadhaar violates the right to privacy will be dealt with by the five-judge bench hearing the petitions since 2015. “My son was recently ill. I took him to a hospital near my residence in Andheri. Their file specifies that Aadhaar card is mandatory to register the name of my child. I questioned this and after arguing on the point with them, they finally conceded to treating my son,” said Abrahim.

Abrahim said his wife, who used to work in Cooper Hospital, has no issues in his fight against the system. “I have issues against Aadhaar on religious grounds,” he said. http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/calls-it-grave-injustice-goes-to-sc-man-refuses-to-obtain-aadhaar-for-self-family-4848508/

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No, The SC Has NOT Made It Mandatory For You To Link Your Phone With #Aadhaar

But who is going to challenge the government circular that makes this claim?

DANISH SIDDIQUI / REUTERS

“As per Government’s directive, it is mandatory to link Aadhaar card with your mobile number”—this is a message most of us have been repeatedly receiving of late. Telecom service providers have also been sending reminders by calling us and emphasizing on the requirement to link. Now, not all of us have an Aadhaar card, and a lot of us do not wish to link our phone numbers with Aadhaar. Such people have been protesting this move, and for good reasons.

Consumer ire is being directed towards telecom service providers, but that is not where the problem lies. The “directive” being referred to by service providers is a circular issued on 23 March 2017 by the government of India’s Department of Telecom (DoT), calling upon all telecom operators to conduct an Aadhaar-based re-verification exercise of all existing pre-paid and post-paid mobile connections. It further directed that that exercise be concluded by 6 February 2018.

[T]he circular, by stating that the Supreme Court has directed the DoT to mandate Aadhaar as the exclusive method for re-verification, is misleading the public at large, intentionally or unintentionally.

As per the DoT such an exercise has been ordered to implement directions of the Supreme Court of India. The circular refers to an order passed by the Supreme Court on 6 February 2017, in a writ petition filed by the Lokniti Foundation which sought the establishment of a scheme to ensure verification of all the mobile phone subscribers in the country. The DoT relies on an observation made by the Court in the said order:

“[A]n effective process has been evolved to ensure identity verification, as well as, the addresses of all mobile phone subscribers for new subscribers. In the near future, and more particularly, within one year from today, a similar verification will be completed, in case of existing subscribers.”

The DoT calls this observation a “direction” which has to be complied with. This is an erroneous conclusion drawn by the DoT and is based on a misinterpretation of the order. Using the said observation without context is misleading.

When the writ petition was taken up by the Supreme Court, the government submitted on the basis of an affidavit that the DoT had launched an Aadhaar based e-KYC for issuing mobile connections where authentication will be based on the consumers’ biometric and demographic data. The government however conceded that there are still a substantial number of people who do not hold Aadhaar cards and, more importantly, that Aadhaar or biometric based authentication is “not mandatory” for obtaining a new telephone connection. The government was of the view that e-KYC for new connections based on Aadhaar would be more efficient than the normal methods in currency. Such submissions of the government of India make it extremely clear that Aadhaar is not being used as the exclusive method to authenticate new subscribers, and that the same is not even mandatory in nature. The government also submitted that an effective method would be devised to verify existing users.

[M]andating that subscribers provide their Aadhaar details… to telecom operators without authority of any law, in contravention of interim orders of the SC, and on misinterpretation of another SC order, cannot be construed as due process of law.

Now coming back to the purported basis of the DoT circular, the court passed the above stated observation based on the submissions of the government and hoped that verification of existing users could be done in a “similar” manner. This can in no manner be construed as a “direction” to use Aadhaar exclusively for re-verification. There can be no question of Aadhaar being made mandatory for re-verification of existing users when it is not even mandatory for obtaining new connections. Therefore, the circular, by stating that the Supreme Court has directed the DoT to mandate Aadhaar as the exclusive method for re-verification, is misleading the public at large, intentionally or unintentionally.

It is important to note that an interim order of the Supreme Court passed in the petitions challenging the Aadhaar scheme clearly directs that obtaining an Aadhaar card cannot be made mandatory. The government had then submitted in court that no personal information of Aadhaar card holders shall be shared by any authority. However, the DoT has done a volte face by actually requiring private telecom operators to directly obtain such personal information. In this background, the DoT has indulged in a colourable exercise to bypass the interim order of the Supreme Court by erroneously relying on another Supreme Court order by grossly misinterpreting it.

The trouble is that till the time the DoT circular is quashed by an appropriate high court or the Supreme Court, the telecom operators are bound to follow it.

The recent Supreme Court judgment on the right to privacy stated that such a right would also include a fundamental right to informational privacy which would be exercisable against the government as well as private entities. Such a right can surely be restricted by a due process of law. However mandating that subscribers provide their Aadhaar card details, including biometric information, to telecom operators without authority of any law, in contravention of interim orders of the Supreme Court, and on misinterpretation of another Supreme Court order cannot be construed as due process of law.

The trouble is that till the time the DoT circular is quashed by an appropriate high court or the Supreme Court, the telecom operators are bound to follow it. The circular will therefore need to be challenged before court.

Let’s see who picks up the gauntlet.

http://www.huffingtonpost.in/chitranshul-sinha/no-the-supreme-court-has-not-made-it-mandatory-for-you-to-link-your-phone-with-aadhaar_a_23210185/

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New Zealand’s Internet Party to discuss UID/Aadhaar at Anti-Spy Bill Event today

Internet Party’s 6th #AntiSpyBill Event To Highlight Dangers Of Mass Biometric Collection Programs 
 
The show will be broadcast at https://ipnz.live/stream and also on the ‘Internet Party’ Facebook page. Tweets will be on #AntiSpyBill
The official Twitter accounts are @InternetPartyNZ an @antispybill
Please log on to the Zoom (guests *and* observers) at 7.30pm Sunday NZST (UTC+12).
 
Show time is 8pm Sunday NZST (UTC+12). The panel will end between 9.30pm-9.45pm Sunday NZST. Panelists can then either log out or stay on to participate in the bill drafting, it is your choice. 
(7.30pm NZST appears to be 1pm Sunday New Delhi time but please check this yourself to be sure!)
You may share it with your networks
This evening two brave Indian activists and academics – Dr Gopal Krishna and Dr Usha Ramanathan – will join the Internet Party’s 6th consecutive #AntiSpyBill event to share their firsthand knowledge of gross intrusions of privacy being imposed en masse upon the world’s second most populous nation.
Known as Aadhaar, the world’s largest biometrics system, implemented by the Indian government in conjunction with major corporations like telecommunications companies and banks, was engineered by for-profit international contracting companies connected to Western spy agencies. Internet Party Leader Suzie Dawson will MC the event and says: “Do you want to be fingerprinted when you buy a SIM card? No? What about to open a bank account? Well, neither do people in India. But its happening there and if we don’t help stop it, this phenomenon will likely spread around the globe.”
The Internet Party is again inviting the public to join the roundtable event, which will continue the world-first effort to draft crowdsourced legislation to regulate governmental spying. The initiative seeks to counter the damage to democratic and human rights inflicted upon New Zealanders by a string of draconian spying laws passed between 2013 and 2016. These laws have retroactively legalised previously illegal targeting of New Zealanders, including warrantless spying and covertly filming them inside their homes, Orwell-style – a practice referred to in law as “domestic visual surveillance”.
Internet Party Leader Suzie Dawson said “New Zealand spies and their international counterparts have engaged in some of the most egregious conduct imaginable. The laws passed under urgency in recent years have only furthered the sense of invulnerability of these spies. They also violate international law. We must show that where our lawmakers fail to do so, the public are willing to step up and address these issues themselves.” The event will be simulcast live on the official Internet Party Facebook page and YouTube channel. Anyone can Join the Internet Party to help #UpdateNZ – and the world!
Media enquiries: please contact [email protected] or add your email address to our mailing list at https://internet.org.nz/news. Authorised by J. Booth, 40 Hartford Crescent, Upper Hutt, Aotearoa 5018, New Zealand.

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Family ‘fakes Aadhaar of 11-year-old to wed her’ #childmarriage #WTFnews

Ishita Bhatia| TNN | Updated: Sep 16, 2017, 06:18 IST
Representative imageRepresentative image
MEERUT: A student of Class III believed to be aged no more than 11 years was hours from being wed on Friday morning in Bulandshahr when a joint effort by social activists, officials from her school and police helped thwart the marriage, 10 days after she tipped off her class teacher.

To beat the legal consequences of conducting a child marriage, the girl’s family had allegedly got a fake Aadhaar card made that stated her age as nearly 18 years.

“We first got to know about the matter on September 5, when the girl told her class teacher that she was getting married,” Renuka (who only goes by her first name), the chief executive officer of Pardada-Pardadi Educational Society (PPES), which runs the school where the girl studies, said, “It was really brave of her to tell us about it. We called her mother over, but she failed to understand the gravity of the problem. The family seems to have got a fake Aadhaar card made for the girl, showing her age as 17 years and nine months. She is actually likely to be around 11.”

PPES management then got in touch with Child Line. Local social activists said they received death threats for trying to stop the wedding. However, on Friday morning, just before the wedding at Anupshahr, police and Child Line officials reached the girl’s house and took her into protective custody . “The family was marrying off the girl and her sister, who is in her early twenties, at the same time to save on expenses.They are a poor family ,” said S P Patel, the local station house officer. Bhupendra Singh, judicial magistrate, child welfare committee (CWC), said, “The girl doesn’t look 18 years old, as the Aadhaar card claims. We have sent her for age verification by a panel of doctors under the chief medical officer (CMO) of Bulandshahr district.”

Bulandshahr CMO K N Tiwari said the age verification report would arrive on Saturday. Meanwhile, the girl has been handed over to the school authorities, who will keep her under a teacher’s care until her family promises to not get her married.

“The family is being counselled… If the age verification report proves she is 11, we will begin investigations into the fake Aadhaar card,” said SHO Patel.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/meerut/family-fakes-aadhaar-of-11-year-old-to-wed-her/articleshow/60705975.cms

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From Aadhaar To Privacy Right: The Spin-off of The #Aadhaar Controversy

The word “private” has the meanings: (1) belonging to a particular person (his/her own body or his/her own property), (2) not sharing thoughts or feelings with others, and (3) not connected with a person’s work or official role. From this adjective, we obtain the abstract noun “privacy”, which means “a state in which one is not watched or disturbed by others”. Thus privacy is something precious to a biological person, and includes the need to be left alone, even while remaining a member of society.

Glenn Greenwald, recounting Edward Snowden’s exposure of US NSA’s clandestine surveillance, writes: “Only when we believe that nobody else is watching us do we feel free – safe – to truly experiment, to test boundaries, to explore new ways of thinking and being, to explore what it means to be ourselves… for that reason, it is in the realm of privacy where creativity, dissent, and challenges to orthodoxy germinate. A society in which everyone knows they can be watched by the state – where the private realm is effectively eliminated – is one in which those attributes are lost, at both the societal and the individual level.”

The Constitutional Preamble secures to all its citizens liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship. Thus the Constitution assures freedom of thought, word and deed. A person is essentially free to think about anything, and there can be no external control on the thought process except perhaps only in very broad terms, such as political or religious propaganda or insidious advertisement. A person’s thoughts are revealed directly or indirectly only through his/her words or deeds. However, administration of certain so-called truth drugs by (illegal) narco-analysis can force inner-most thoughts to surface in words or movements, although the veracity and reliability of such revelations are questionable. Thus, by thought alone, one person cannot violate another person’s privacy. But by expressing his/her thought(s) through words or deeds, another person can be disturbed, and thus constitute invasion of privacy. Hence the need to have reasonable restrictions on the right of expression.

But the issue of privacy calls for somewhat more detailed consideration in the context of the relationship between the State and the individual human being (“citizen” hereinafter), where the right to privacy assumes different aspects and dimensions. [This author prefers to use the word “citizen” instead of “person”, because the word “person” can be extended to corporate bodies which possess the legal fiction of personhood]. To understand the aspects of the right to privacy and its effects on the private and civic life of a citizen, one needs to look at the historic unanimous verdict (Justice K.S.Puttaswamy v. Union of India, “Puttaswamy Judgment” hereinafter) of the Supreme Court’s nine-judge bench on 24 August 2017, in which the right to privacy was pronounced as a fundamental right which, like other fundamental rights, is subject to reasonable restrictions.

It is appropriate to begin with para 3 of the Order, which states that “the right to privacy is protected as an intrinsic part of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 and as a part of the freedoms guaranteed by Part III of the Constitution.”, and that privacy is a value “whose protection is a matter of universal moral agreement: the innate dignity and autonomy of man”.

Expanding the idea of privacy, the Puttaswamy Judgment (para 142) speaks thus: Privacy has distinct connotations including (i) spatial control; (ii) decisional autonomy; and (iii) informational control. Spatial control denotes the creation of private spaces. Decisional autonomy comprehends intimate personal choices such as those governing reproduction as well as choices expressed in public such as faith or modes of dress. Informational control empowers the individual to use privacy as a shield to retain personal control over information pertaining to the person.” 

This unequivocally places the citizen at the heart of privacy, which is integral to his/her human dignity, liberty and autonomy. Privacy is not created or granted by the Constitution, which only recognizes and guarantees it as a fundamental right of the citizen, who is the basic unit of the Constitution. Para 12 of the Puttaswamy Judgment states that privacy is “an inalienable natural right”. Thus, privacy has a position of centrality in the Constitution of our democratic Republic.

Privacy concerning information about a citizen such as income status, religious persuasion, sexual orientation or other demographic data goes beyond the physical body. Indeed, para 81 of the Puttaswamy Judgment speaks about informational privacy thus: … [ it ] does not deal with a person’s body but deals with a person’s mind, and therefore recognizes that an individual may have control over the dissemination of material that is personal to him. Unauthorised use of such information may, therefore lead to infringement of this right.”, while para 142 enables the citizen to have control over his/her informational privacy: “Informational control empowers the individual to use privacy as a shield to retain personal control over information pertaining to the person.”

In present times, personal information is digitized and constitutes data, the protection and security of which is vital to the citizen’s control over his/her privacy. The Aadhaar system immediately comes to mind in this connection, noting that the Aadhaar number is seeded (linked) with different silos of information which a citizen may have. UIDAI’s Aadhaar system has captured biometric data of around one billion citizens at enrolment by private operators, who are employed by “Registrars” who in turn are appointed by UIDAI through a MoU. These private operators, essentially contractors, capture biometric data, hold it and transmit it to UIDAI’s database, which is called Central Identities Data Repository (CIDR). There is no check whether the private operator may have made a copy of data before transmitting it or has deleted the acquired data after transmitting it. Further, the UIDAI’s CIDR was created by foreign contracting firms which have close links with their respective governments and intelligence agencies, and have access to data in the CIDR and data-safety features of the CIDR.

Thus the Aadhaar system compromises the security of personal data at a systemic level, thereby disempowering the citizen and making him/her vulnerable through loss of privacy. Notwithstanding that the Aadhaar system was designed long before the Puttaswamy Judgment, it passes comprehension how the designer of the system – reportedly a corporate honcho, expert in information technology – was so negligent and casual about the data security of citizens. The union government having belatedly constituted the Srikrishna Committee to address the issue of data protection and draft an appropriate Bill, is proof enough that data security of Aadhaar is inadequate, and that citizens’ privacy is already a casualty. This could be the reason that the criminal culpability concerning this design flaw is being highlighted in some quarters.

If a citizen has control over his/her personal data, it includes opting to share it with any entity which may demand it, such as a government department which provides benefits, or a bank, or a commercial service provider. However, the State has a responsibility in this, according to para 70 of the Puttaswamy Judgment, which reads: “The State must ensure that information is not used without the consent of users and that it is used for the purpose and to the extent it was disclosed.”

Furthermore, the citizen who decides to part with personal data needs to understand the implications including the risks and consequences, of doing so. The vast majority of the population which has already provided their biometrics to UIDAI and also used their biometrics at many fingerprint recording machines for various purposes, is unaware of these, and may be conned or pressured into parting with his/her data, which may be used for commercial purposes or even illegal purposes. Hence, when a citizen consents to share data, it has to be “informed consent”, and the Puttaswamy Judgment rules that informed consent is central to informational self-determination and by extension, to the citizen’s privacy. Further, even after providing data with informed consent, the citizen continues to retain privacy control over the information, in that the receiver of the data shall use it only for the limited purpose for which it was received, and shall not share it with any other entity.

Regarding decisional autonomy of the citizen, the Puttaswamy Judgment has made it clear that “… liberty enables the individual to have a choice of preferences on various facets of life including what and how one will eat, the way one will dress, the faith one will espouse and a myriad other matters on which autonomy and self-determination require a choice to be made within the privacy of the mind”.

The right to privacy also permits a citizen to be “different” in India’s pluralistic, heterogeneous society, always providing that he/she is not a nuisance to society. Para 168 of the Puttaswamy Judgment says: “… privacy is an intrinsic recognition of heterogeneity, of the right of the individual to be different and to stand against the tide of conformity.” This laudable, bold assertion essentially permits deviation from the need to conform – the phrase “tide of conformity” is the key to recognition that individuality is under pressure – and become a “yes-man” or “Ji huzoor” to powerful people in society, ranging from notable persons in public life to teachers in schools who discourage, even abhor, questioning.

Conclusion

The matter before the nine-Judge bench was sharply focused upon whether or not privacy was a fundamental right. It is to be noted that the case came up as a result of the Union of India arguing during the hearings concerning challenges to the Aadhaar system, that privacy was not a fundamental right, and even that a person had no right over his/her own body. [One can well imagine the crushing power of the State over the citizen, had the nine-Judge bench upheld the arguments of the Union of India]. The arguments were however not related to the concrete example of Aadhaar which is yet to be adjudicated, but were conceptual in nature. The Puttaswamy Judgment essentially sets out the parameters within which the State could reasonably restrict or limit the right to privacy of a citizen.

In the current ambience of terrorist threat, and the State having to ensure the safety of citizens, the State would attempt to justify the need for raising the levels of surveillance, which will inevitably impinge upon citizens’ privacy and other freedoms. This would include untargeted or suspicionless “street-corner” surveillance combined with use of advanced facial recognition techniques, besides geospatial tracking of persons through mobiles, credit card use, etc. Modern information technology hardware and software capability enables capture and analysis of metadata (data mining, collection and analysis) for very large populations, and can create a situation of a police state, with shadowy, unaccountable intelligence forces in control. It is in this ambience that the citizen’s protection against a domineering and intrusive State will have to be adjudicated based upon the touchstone of the different aspects of privacy as a fundamental right.

It is in this and similar situations that courts will need to decide on the limits to the fundamental right to privacy, so as to strike a balance between the public good achieved by policies, programs and executive orders of governments on the one hand, and the dignity, autonomy and liberty of the individual citizen on the other, while never losing sight of the high standards set for the State by the historic Puttaswamy Judgment.

In times of growing, overweening and coercive State power over ordinary citizens, the nine-Judge bench has created a foundation for civil liberties in the context of privacy, human dignity and autonomy. However, one can expect litigation in the future on a case-to-case basis, perhaps beginning with Aadhaar. These litigations will surely exercise both the Judiciary and legal fraternity on fundamental rights which the Constitution guarantees every citizen, in the years to come.

Over the years since 26 January 1950, the Supreme Court of India has come a long way in interpreting the Constitution of India and the courageous and unequivocal Puttaswamy Judgment is proof of that. Indeed, in a September 10, 2017, New York Times article titled “India’s Supreme Court Expands Freedom”, Menaka Guruswamy writes: “ … the privacy ruling represents a remarkable shift in the Supreme Court from a reticent post-colonial court on matters of individual liberty to an erudite constitutional court safeguarding freedom in the terrifying times of new India”.

Acknowledgement: The above article is based on a reading of the Puttaswamy Judgment. The author gratefully acknowledges reference to the excellent commentary on the Puttaswamy Judgment in “Indian Constitutional Law and Philosophy”, downloaded on September 11, 2017 from https://indconlawphil.wordpress.com/2017/09/10/the-supreme-courts-right-to-privacy-judgment-round-up/

Major General S.G.Vombatkere is Petitioner No.1 in three PIL cases concerning Aadhaar, which have been clubbed with Justice K.S.Puttaswamy v. Union of India

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As India Prepares For Bullet Train, 9 Derailments In 27 Days Reveal Safety Crisis

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On the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe laid the foundation stone for a Rs-1,10,000-crore ($17 billion) bullet train, the Jammu Tawi-New Delhi Rajdhani Express jumped the tracks at New Delhi station, the ninth derailment in 27 days, a consequence of growing traffic, falling safety standards and underinvestment.

 

Last coach (guard coach) of Jammu Rajdhani derailed on arrival at New Delhi Railway Station at 6 am; no injuries or casualties reported.

 

The largest passenger system in the world with 23 million passengers every day, the Indian Railways was hit by 78 derailments in 2016-17 with 193 people dead, the most in 10 years, IndiaSpend reported on August 22, 2017.

 

Although accidents in general have fallen over 10 years, from 194 in 2007-08 to 104 in 2016-17, derailments have risen over this period, an indication that trains are increasingly at peril.

 

The first six months of 2017 reported 29 train accidents, of which 20 were due to derailments, killing 39 people and injuring 54, according to this reply to the Lok Sabha, parliament’s lower house, on July 19, 2017.

 

Over the last decade to 2016-17, 1,394 train accidents were reported in India; 51% or 708 were due to derailments in which 458 people were killed.

 

Source: Rajya Sabha (unstarred question 3473, March 31, 2017; unstarred question 3007, August 11, 2017.)

 

Accidents of consequence in the current financial year ending August 2, 2017, have decreased by 51.2%, from 43 in 2016-17 to 21 in 2017-18, according to this reply (starred question 216) to the Rajya Sabha, parliament’s upper house on August 4, 2017.

 

“Accidents per million train kilometres, an internationally accepted yardstick of safety, has declined from 0.23 in 2006-07 to 0.11 in 2014-15, 0.10 (approximately) in 2015-16 and further declined to 0.09 (approximately) in 2016-17,” former minister of railways Suresh Prabhu told the Rajya Sabha in his reply.

 

Derailment was the second-leading reason for train accidents and casualties between 2003-04 and 2015-16, according to the Twelfth Report of the Standing Committee on Railways on ‘Safety and Security in Railways’ presented in the Lok Sabha on December 14, 2016. The leading reasons for accidents was human error.

 

One of the cause for derailments is the lag in addressing what are technically called “defects in the track or rolling stock”.

 

Only 54% track renewal may have happened in 2016

 

Of 114,907 km railway tracks, 4,500 km, or 4%, should be renewed annually, the committee said. However, of 5,000 km track length due for renewal currently, no more than 2700 km, or 54%, would be renewed, it said.

 

“Track renewal covering 5900 km of track have been sanctioned as on March 31, 2016,” said the Fifteenth Report of the parliamentary standing committee on the action taken by government on the recommendations/observations contained in the 12th Report, presented on August 3, 2017. “…Accordingly, physical targets have also been increased from 1500 km to 2668 km.”

 

Track failures and subsequent derailments are caused by twin factors–excessive traffic and underinvestment in rail infrastructure, IndiaSpend reported on April 3, 2017. Up to 40% of Indian Railways’ 1,219 sections are utilised beyond capacity.

 

Here’s all you need to know about the Mumbai-Ahemdabad bullet train.

 

VIZ

http://www.indiaspend.com/cover-story/as-india-prepares-for-bullet-train-9-derailments-in-27-days-reveal-safety-crisis-22180

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निजता में नहीं कोई दखल #RightToPrivacy #Aadhaar

  

विशिष्ट पहचान संख्या परियोजना के लागू होने के एक दिन पहले जिस बात को देश के 17 गणमान्य नागरिकों ने (28 सितंबर, 2010) प्रेस क्लब ऑफ इंडिया में एक संवाददातासम्मलेन के दौरान उठाया थाउसे मीडिया ने पूरी तरह नजरअंदाज कर दिया था। अबसुप्रीम कोर्ट की नौ जजों वाली संविधान पीठ ने सर्वसम्मति से उसी बात पर मुहर लगा दी है।

24 अगस्त, 2017 को इस बाबत सुप्रीम कोर्ट ने फैसला सुनाया है। स्मरण रहे कि पूर्व न्यायाधीशअजित प्रकाश शाहप्रोफेसर उमा चक्रवर्तीउपेंद्र बख्शी आदि ने सितंबर, 2010 के संवाददातासम्मलेन में इस परियोजना से होने वाले दुष्परिणाम का ब्यौरा दिया था। उन्होंने स्पष्ट रूप से बताया थाकि इससे निजता के अधिकार का उल्लंघन होगा। तब इस योजना पर तत्काल रोक लगाने की मांगकी गई थी। 

कोर्ट के इस फैसले से पहले वित्त की संसदीय स्थायी समिति ने भी इस परियोजना संबंधी विधेयक पर13 दिसंबर, 2011 को एक रिपोर्ट संसद के दोनों सदनों में पेश की थी। रिपोर्ट में कहा गया था किइस परियोजना से निजता की सुरक्षा को गंभीर खतरा है। संसदीय समिति की रिपोर्ट के बाद यहविधेयक 3 मार्च, 2016 तक राज्यसभा में लंबित रहा।

तीन मार्च को ही आधार संबंधी विधेयक वापस लिया गया। फिर इसे लोकसभा में धन विधेयक के रूपमें पास करा लिया गया। राज्यसभा के सुझावों को नजरअंदाज कर आधार कानून 2016 का जन्महुआ। गौर करने वाली बात यह है कि यह परियोजना 2007 के पहले से लागू थी। परियोजना औरकानून में निजता के अधिकार की अनदेखी यह कह कर की गई कि निजता मौलिक अधिकार नहीं है।

अब सुप्रीम कोर्ट के फैसले के बाद एक अन्य पीठ यूआईडी/आधार की संवैधानिकता को लेकरफैसला करेगी। अदालत ने बारह अंकीय बायोमेट्रिक प्रणाली ‘आधार संख्या परियोजना‘ संबंधी मामलेमें फैसला देते हुए कहा है कि, ”निजता का अधिकार अनुच्छेद 21 के तहत जीवन एवं स्वतंत्रता केअधिकार के अंतर्निहित अंग के रूप में संरक्षित है और भारत के संविधान के भाग तीन द्वारा प्रत्याभूतस्वतंत्रताओं का हिस्सा है।” 

अदालत ने भारत सरकार के अटॉर्नी जनरल के इस तर्क को नकार दिया कि भारत का संविधाननिजता के अधिकार” का संरक्षण नहीं करता। इस तर्क का इस्तेमाल करके ही भारतीयों कोयूआईडी/आधार संख्या के तहत पंजीकृत होने पर विवश किया गया। यूआईडी/आधार संख्या जर्मनीऑस्ट्रेलियाचीनफ्रांसब्रिटेन और अमेरिका जैसे देशों में नामंजूर की जा चुकी है। यह फैसलाआधार एक्ट, 2016 पर गंभीर प्रभाव डालेगाजिसके तहत सरकार को भारतीयों की यूआईडी/आधार संख्याओं को उनकी सहमति लिए बिना डीएक्टिवेट करने का अधिकार है।

यह संभव है कि अदालत इस निष्कर्ष पर पहुंचे कि यूआईडी/आधार संख्या की केंद्रीय पहचान  डाटारिपोजिटरी (सीआईडीआरऔर आधार एक्ट से नागरिकों के निजता के अधिकार का उल्लंघन होताहै। अन्यायी और अनुचित कानून को कानून की मान्यता नहीं दी जा सकती। संविधान पीठ के रुख सेलगता है कि जैसे ‘आधार कानून 2016′ एक अनुचित कानून और काला कानून है।

अदालत के फैसले से भारत का पक्ष अभी जारी ‘विश्व व्यापार संगठन‘ की वार्ता बैठक में मजबूतहोगा। अर्जेंटीना कि राजधानी में 10-13 दिसंबर, 2017 के दौरान होने वाली 11वीं मंत्री स्तरीय वार्तामें कॉमर्स भी एजेंडा में शामिल हैजिसके तहत आकड़ों की सुरक्षा और निजता का अधिकार केमामले में भारत को अपना रुख स्पष्ट करना होगा।

अदालत के फैसले का इस संबंध में सकारात्मक प्रभाव होगा। मुक्त व्यापार और कॉमर्स के नामपर विकसित देशों कि मांग है कि उन्हें तमाम नागरिकों के आकड़े और डाटा मुफ्त में और आसानी सेउपलब्ध होनी चाहिए।

यह दौर ऐसा हैजब सेवाओं का ‘उबेर‘ करण और ‘ओला‘ करण हो रहा है। ऐसे प्रयास हो रहे हैंजिनसे वस्तुओं और सेवाओं को नए सिरे से परिभाषित किया जा सके। ‘वस्तु‘ को भी ‘सेवा‘ कीपरिभाषा के अंतर्गत लाया जाए। नागरिकों के डाटा तक पहुंच की यह मांग ”विश्व व्यापार संगठन” कीकार्यवाही के दौरान उठी है।

शंघाई में 1-2 अगस्त, 2017 के दौरान हुए ब्रिक्स देशों के व्यापार मंत्रियों की सातवीं बैठक में ब्रिक्सदेशों के बीच कॉमर्स सहयोग पर पहल की गई। इस सम्मलेन में निर्मला सीतारमण के नेतृत्व मेंछह सदस्यीय प्रतिनिधि मंडल शामिल हुआजिसमें विश्व व्यापार संगठन में भारत के जनसंपर्कअधिकारी और राजदूत जेएसदीपक भी शामिल थे।

निर्मला सीतारमण के मंत्रालय को चाहिए की भारत सरकार के रुख में देश हित में ऐसी एकरूपता होजिससे भारतचीन आदि देशों की यूआईडी/आधार संख्या परियोजना बायोमेट्रिक और खुफियाटेक्नोलॉजी कंपनियां के चंगुल से देशवासी मुक्त हो सकें। यानी फ्रांस की साफ्रन ग्रुपअमेरिका कीएक्सेंचर और ब्रिटेन की अनर्स्ट एंड यंग आदि से दूरी रखे। ये कंपनियां प्रति पंजीकरण 2.75 रुपएवसूल रही हैं और 130 करोड़ वर्तमान और भावी भारतीयों का पंजीकरण होना है।

अदालत ने भारत सरकार के अटॉर्नी जनरल के इस तर्क को नकार दिया कि भारत का
संविधान ”निजता के अधिकार” का संरक्षण नहीं करता। इस तर्कका इस्तेमाल करके ही
भारतीयों को यूआईडी/आधार संख्या के तहत पंजीकृत होने परविवश किया गया।

विदेशी प्रभाव के चलते केंद्र सरकार का रुख शुरू से ही कपटतापूर्ण रहा है। आज तक इसपरियोजना के कुल अनुमानित बजट को जाहिर नहीं किया गया है। जब तक इस परियोजना का कुलअनुमानित बजट नहीं बताया जाता हैतब तक इससे होने वाले तमाम दावों को संदेह की दृष्टि से हीदेखा जाएगा।

अदालत ने स्पष्ट कर दिया है कि ‘निजता का अधिकार‘ जीवन जीने और स्वतंत्रता के अधिकार मेंअंतर्निहित है। संविधान सभा में निजता को लेकर जो रुख अपनाया गया थातब सभा के सदस्यडिजिटल दुनियाकॉमर्स और साइबर डाटा संरक्षण की हकीकत से रूरू नहीं थे। ध्यान रहेनिजता संविधान के आधारभूत ढांचे में गरिमापूर्ण जीवन के तहत भी शामिल है। अदालत नेअसंवैधानिक स्थिति‘ में निषेध के सिद्धांत को लागू किया हैजिसका अर्थ हुआ कि सरकार की कोईमदद पाने के लिए लाभान्वित को प्राप्त कुछ संवैधानिक अधिकारों का परित्याग का निषेध है।

फैसले से यह प्रतीत होता है कि यूआईडी/आधार का क्रियान्वयन ऐसी कवायद हैजिसे हमारासंविधान वर्जित करार देता है। अदालत के पूर्व में पारित आदेशों को अनदेखा करते हुए और 9 जून, 2017 को न्यायमूर्ति एके सीकरी की अध्यक्षता वाली पीठ के फैसले से अनभिज्ञ यूआईडी/आधारप्रवर्तक वैधानिक रूप दोषपूर्ण सर्कुलरोंविज्ञापनों और एसएमएस के जरिए इस परियोजना केकार्यान्वयन में जुटे हैं।

सुप्रीम कोर्ट ने ऐसे ही संबद्ध मामले (यूआईडीएआई बनाम सीबीआईमें 24 मार्च, 2014 को एकआदेश पारित किया था– ‘किसी पात्र/योग्य व्यक्ति को आधार संख्या  होने की सूरत में किसी सेवा सेवंचित नहीं किया जा सकता। सभी प्राधिकरणों को निर्देश देते हैं कि अपने फॉर्म/सर्कुलर/लाइक्स कोसंशोधित कर लेंताकि अदालत के अंतरिम आदेश के पालना के मद्देनजर भविष्य में आधार संख्याकी अनिवार्यता  रहने पाए।‘ असंवैधानिक स्थितियां सरकार को अपने नागरिकों को लाभों से वंचितरखने के उस स्थिति में निषिद्ध करती हैंकिसी लाभ तक पहुंच के लिए नागरिक को अपने किसी मूलअधिकार से वंचित होना पड़ जाता हो।

स्मरण रहे कि न्यायाधीश जेचेलमेश्वर की अध्यक्षता वाली तीन सदस्यीय पीठ के यूआईडी/आधारसंख्या मामले में 11 अगस्त, 2015 को पारित आदेश पर सात सौ से ज्यादा दिनों के पश्चात 18 जुलाई, 2017 को नौ जजों वाले संविधान पीठ का गठन हुआ। वादी और प्रतिवादी का पक्ष सुनने केउपरांत संविधान पीठ ने आदेश पारित किया।

अदालत ने सितंबर, 2013 से 27 जून, 2017 के बीच जारी अपने तमाम आदेशों में स्पष्ट किया हैकि यूआईडी/आधार संख्या स्वैच्छिक हैइसलिए किसी को किसी कार्य के लिए यूआईडी/आधारसंख्या प्रस्तुत करने को नहीं कहा जा सकता। आधार एक्ट, 2016 के तहत भी ऐसा किया जानाअनिवार्य नहीं है। 24 अगस्त और 7 जून के आदेश को साथसाथ पढ़ा जाए तो यह स्पष्ट है किआधार कानून और परियोजना दोनों असंवैधानिक हैं।

निजता के मायने

निजता का अर्थ है किसी व्यक्ति का यह तय करने का उचित अधिकार कि वह किस हद तक अपनेआपको दूसरों के साथ बांटेगा। ‘निजता का अधिकार‘ यह तय करता है कि कोई स्वयं को सबसेअलग कर ले तथा किसी को उसकी निजी जिदंगी में ताकनेझांकने का अधिकार  हो।

निजता‘ दरअसल ऐसे ही मामलों में होती हैजिसकी रक्षा की जानी चाहिए। इस अधिकार की रक्षाइसलिए भी जरूरी हैक्योंकि राज्य निरंकुश  हो जाए। साइबर  बायोमेट्रिक युग में ‘निजता केअधिकार‘ राष्ट्रीय सुरक्षा और संप्रभुता से जुड़ा है। भविष्य के फौजियों सहित सांसदोंमंत्रियों और अन्यअधिकारियों के आकड़े विदेशों में अदूरदर्शी तरीके से भेजा जा रहा है।

विदेशी प्रभाव के चलते केंद्र सरकार का रुख शुरू से ही कपटतापूर्ण रहा है।
आज तक इस परियोजना के कुल अनुमानित बजट को जाहिर नहीं किया गया है।
जब तक इस परियोजना का कुल अनुमानित बजट नहीं बताया जाता हैतब तक
इससे होने वाले तमाम दावों को संदेह की दृष्टि से ही देखा जाएगा।

सूचना के अधिकार के तहत प्राप्त जानकारी के अनुसार प्रति आधार पंजीकरण 2.75 पैसे भारतवासीविशिष्ट पहचान प्राधिकरण के साथ अनुबंधित विदेशी कंपनियों को दे रहे हैं। ऐसा प्रतीत होता है किभारत सूचना और आंकड़ा खनन कंपनियों के चंगुल में फंसता जा रहा है। अनुबंध के अनुसार वेभारतवासियों की संवेदनशील जानकारी को सात सालों तक रख सकता है। साइबर युग में इसका अर्थहै– हमेश के लिए।

इस तरह से तो भारत के सभी भावी मंत्रियोंसांसदोंजजोंफौजियोंखुफिया अधिकारयों औरनागरिकों की संवेदनशील निजी आंकड़ों को विदेशी रणनीतिक स्मृति में शामिल करके भारत औरभारतीयों की संप्रभुता के साथ सौदा किया जा रहा है।

ऐसा  हो कि अदालत का आधार संबंधी फैसला आतेआते आज के देशवासी और भविष्य केनागरिक और उनके नुमाइंदे साइबरबायोमेट्रिक युद्ध के जंगल के अनजाने जंजाल में उलझ कर रहजाएं। सियासी दल यह समझने में विफल हैं कि यह योजना देश के संघीय ढांचे के भी खिलाफ है।

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