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Archives for : UID

Constitution Bench to hear #Aadhaar petitions on December 14

 

A five-judge Constitution Bench comprising the CJI, Justices A.K. Sikri, A.M. Khanwilkar, D.Y. Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan is likely to hear the petitions.

Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra on Wednesday informed petitioners challenging the validity of Aadhaar scheme that their case will be heard on Thursday, December 14.

In an urgent mentioning, one of the many done in the past few days, by petitioners before the CJI Bench, Chief Justice Misra told senior advocate Shyam Divan and advocate Vipin Nair that “we will hear it tomorrow.”

A five-judge Constitution Bench comprising the CJI, Justices A.K. Sikri, A.M. Khanwilkar, D.Y. Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan is likely to hear the petitions. The Bench will take up pleas for clarifications on and interim reliefs from deadlines issued.

The right to choice of existing Aadhaar holders who do not want to link their bank accounts may come up for a decision. Similarly, the issue of extension of deadline of linkage of mobile phones with Aadhaar would also be pleaded before the Constitution Bench. The present deadline is February 6, 2018 in this regard.

Last week, Attorney-General of India K.K. Venugopal had submitted before the Supreme Court that the government would notify the extension of deadline for mandatory Aadhaar linking from December 31, 2017 to March 31, 2018.

This extension had included 139 government subsidies, benefits or services, which are funded out of the Consolidated Fund of India as per Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act of 2016.

Mr. Venugopal had however told the court that extension of mobile phone linkage deadline would require a judicial order from the Supreme Court itself. This is because the government is complying with a February 6, 2017 order of the Supreme Court in the Lok Niti Foundation case to tighten up verification process of mobile phone users through Aadhaar linkage, citing national security.

The Chief Justice had then indicated that it would be left to the Constitution Bench to give dates for the final hearing of the Aadhaar petitions. Mr. Divan has pressed for dates in the first or second week of January 2018, immediately after Christmas holidays.

Mr. Divan had submitted that the government should assure that no coercive steps would be taken by the government or its agencies on Aadhaar holders till the SC takes a final decision on the validity of the Aadhaar scheme.

“If that is the case, nobody will produce it (Aadhaar). We have said that those with Aadhaar do not mind producing their Aadhaar,” Mr. Venugopal had responded, willing to argue the question before the Constitution Bench.

Mr. Divan has said the government’s stand was increasingly ambiguous on the plight of existing Aadhaar holders who do not want to link their Aadhaar. He had urged the court to address this issue immediately.

The Aadhaar petitions have been in the Supreme Court since 2014. The petitions have been challenged Aadhaar as a violation of the fundamental right to privacy.

In October, the Centre had joined forces with Mr. Divan for an early hearing of the Aadhaar cases. Mr. Venugopal had said that Bench falsehoods have been spread about Aadhaar linking, including how Aadhaar is a must for CBSE students to appear in ther Class 10 and 12 exams.

Mr. Venugopal had said a Constitution Bench may be set up to decide all the Aadhaar issues once and for all.

The decision to set up a Constitution Bench comes despite Justice Rohinton Nariman’s separate judgment in the nine-judge Bench declaring right to privacy as a fundamental right. Justice Nariman’s judgment had directed the Aadhaar petitions to be posted for hearing before the ‘original’ three-judge Bench.

This ‘original’ Bench led by Justice J. Chelameswar had referred the petitions for hearing before a five-judge Bench. The five-judge had found it necessary to first decide whether privacy was a fundamental right or not before hearing the Aadhaar petitions. It had referred the legal question to a nine-judge Bench, which came out with the historic judgment in favour of the common man’s fundamental right to privacy against State intrusions.

The nine-judge Bench verdict has a crucial bearing in the Aadhaar petitions, which have argued that Aadhaar’s use of biometric details like fingerprints and iris scans violate bodily and informational privacy.

The petitioners argue that mandatory requirement of Aadhaar for these schemes “constrict rights and freedoms which a citizen has long been enjoying unless and until they part with their personal biometric information to the government.”

The petitions have termed the Aadhaar Act of 2016 as unconstitutional and contrary to concept of limited and accountable governance.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/constitution-bench-to-hear-aadhaar-petitions-on-december-14/article21571363.ece

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Govt indefinitely extends deadline for #Aadhaar-bank account linkage #Goodnews

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Wednesday’s notification on linking of Aadhaar to bank accounts keeps the deadline open-ended
  • The earlier deadline to link bank accounts, mutual fund folios and insurance policies with Aadhaar had been December 31, 2017

NEW DELHI: The government has indefinitely extended the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar with bank accounts under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

WhatsApp Image 2017-12-13 at 14.53.23.

The stipulated date for linking bank accounts, mutual fund folios and insurance policies with Aadhaar had been December 31, 2017, but Wednesday’s notification keeps the deadline open-ended.

A new rule modifying the Prevention of Money Laundering Act of 2002 has been notified to replace the requirement of submitting “the Aadhaar number and Permanent Account Number by December 31, 2017″ with “submit the Aadhaarnumber, and Permanent Account Number or Form No. 60, by such date as may be notified by the Central Government”.

The notification by the Department of Revenue in the finance ministry effectively paves the way for extending the deadline for mandatory quoting of Aadhaar for activities like the opening of a bank account.

Last week, the Centre told the Supreme Court that it was wil Some petitioners in the top court+ have termed the linking of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) number with bank accounts and mobile numbers as “illegal and unconstitutional”.

One of the counsel representing the petitioners had earlier said that final hearing on the main Aadhaar matter was necessary as the government “cannot compel” citizens to link their Aadhaar with either bank accounts or cell phone numbers.

Meanwhile, a five-judge constitution bench will continue hearing pleas seeking an interim stay on the Centre’s decision directing mandatory linking of Aadhaar with various government schemes and welfare measures. The Centre had on December 7 told the apex court that the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar to avail various services and welfare schemes would shortly be extended till March 31 next year.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/centre-indefinitely-extends-deadline-for-aadhaar-bank-account-linkage/articleshow/62052007.cms

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How mutton soup did in killer wife & paramour in Hyderabad- #Aadhaar for Forensics ?

U Sudhakar Reddy| TNN |

HIGHLIGHTS

  • A 27-year-old married woman along with her alleged paramour killed her husband
  • The reel-like murder plot unfolded when husband’s family realised that the paramour was a vegetarian
  • Police said Sudhakar, the husband, was a non-vegetarian and used to like mutton soup, while Rajesh, the paramour, is a vegetarian.

HYDERABAD: It was the mutton soup that gave away the crime. Taking their cue from Telugu movie ‘Evadu’ in which actor Allu Arjun undergoes plastic surgery to resemble another character in the film played by Ram Charan Tej (which itself is a spinoff of Hollywood film ‘Face Off’), a 27-year-old married woman along with her alleged paramour killed her husband. Later, she threw acid on her paramour with the aim of passing him off as her husband so that they can live happily ever after. However, that was not to be. When the paramour was served mutton soup at the hospital and he refused to eat it saying he was a vegetarian, the dead husband’s family saw something amiss, as their son was non-vegetarian. And in no time, the crime came to light.

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Nagarkurnool police on December 10 arrested M Swati, 27, on the charge of killing her husband M Sudhakar Reddy with the help of her paramour, Rajesh, a physiotherapist. As the murder plot unfolded, on November 27, when Sudhakar was in sleep, Rajesh and Swathi gave him an anaesthetic injection following which he lost consciousness. Later, they killed him with an iron rod and dumped the body in the forest. After they returned home, Swathi smeared acid on Rajesh and disfigured his face. Later, she called up her relatives and told them unidentified persons entered the house and threw petrol on her husband. Subsequently, an ‘injured Rajesh, who was pretending as Sudhakar, was shifted to Apollo Hospitals in Hyderabad.

Police said Sudhakar was a non-vegetarian and used to like mutton soup, while Rajesh, the paramour of Swati, is a vegetarian. When nurses at the hospital offered him mutton soup, Rajesh for better healing, refused to consume it, saying he was a vegetarian. This immediately alerted the family members of Sudhakar that he was not their son. Police then tested the fingerprints of the accused and checked with the Aadhaar database and found they did not match. The game of the wife and paramour was then up.

 

Nagarkurnool deputy superintendent of police A Lakshmi Narayana told TOI, “We are yet to arrest Rajesh in the case as he is undergoing treatment at the hospital. We have already arrested Swati. How we identified the accused would be revealed while filing documents in the court. The family grew suspicious about him due to various habits and behaviour of the person undergoing treatment. Besides, he was also not able to give details about his family members.”https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/mutton-soup-burns-lovers-acid-plot-unravels-swap-of-identity/articleshow/62046096.cms

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India – #Aadhaar Card Expose #UID

By- Sushrut Mane

A)What kind of technology is it?

Aadhaar collects the demographic as well as biometric data of whoever who has it. Section 33 of the Aadhaar Act ensures that under the guise of “national security”, the government can access any information without providing any explanation to anyone. It does not define what is “national security” so any reason can be used to access and use this data. So in short, one can say that,

Aadhar is a surveillance technology masquerading as secure authentication technology.

(1)

  1. B) But at least it is not affecting anyone directly. Then why we should worry?

1.Aadhaar is compulsory for two more groups of citizens – victims of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy, and workers rescued from bonded labor. The court took 15 years to decide who is eligible or not, whether the person is who they are claiming to be and Now, the government wants the victims to prove their identity in this manner again. Same problem with bonded workers. (2)

  1. Thousands of pensioners without Aadhaar or bank accounts struck off lists in Rajasthan (3)
  2. Jharkhand: Family denied ration over Aadhaar linking, girl starves to death (4) (This is recent news)

C)Where we have to link it and what can be its effects?

1.You have to link it with your SIM card, pan card, passport, bank account, voter ID, college/university. And if you want benefits of schemes like LPG, MGNREGS, etc. you have to link Aadhar to them also.

  1. According to Aadhaar act 2016,  “The Authority shall respond to an authentication query with a positive, negative or any other appropriate response sharing such identity information excluding any core biometric information.”

3.Which also means authority with whom you are linking Aadhar can have access to your photograph (which doesn’t come under core-biometrics) and your demographic information which includes as name, date of birth, address and “other relevant information” of an individual. It explicitly excludes race, religion, caste, tribe, ethnicity, language, records of entitlement, income or medical history.

  1. Well, this is legal (but worrying) way to give our personal details to authority. But there are other ways also.. Like:-  Aadhaar data of 130 million, bank account details leaked from govt websites: Report  (5)

5.To be fair, two safeguards are in place in the Aadhaar Act. One is that the requesting entity must inform you about the use it proposes to make of your identity information.( But who reads the fine print of the terms and conditions when buying a sim card, or before clicking “I agree” when installing new software?) The second safeguard is that the requesting entity cannot publish or display your Aadhaar number (or your core biometric information, but that is not accessible to a requesting entity in the first place).

  1. Note, however, that nothing prevents a requesting entity from publishing or displaying other identity information, as long as it has informed the concerned person.

But wait…

7.The Clause 33 (2) states that an official with the rank of Joint Secretary or higher may access a person’s identity information including core biometric information if the official has an order issued in the interest of national security by the central government.

The government has the power to know (or use) your fingerprints, iris scan for the “National Security”.

  1. D) If there are such serious loopholes, why Government wants to make it mandatory?
  1. The Supreme Court, way back in October 2015, clarified that Aadhaar cannot be made mandatory for any schemes/services other than ration (PDS), employment guarantee (MNREGS), LPG distribution, pension, provident funds (EPF) and Jan Dhan Yojana. (see the highlighted part – (6) )
  1. So today, whatever gov is asking to link this and that with Aadhar is actually illegal. And supreme court reminds this to center in last month.  (7)
  1. E) So is it necessary to link Aadhar with gov schemes?

1.As per “Government of India rule”, yes it is mandatory to link it for six welfare schemes, PAN cards, and mobile phones.

2.Other than these, ALL other schemes/services/benefits for which Aadhaar is being made mandatory go directly against the earlier Supreme Court order. Including the bank account linking.

  1. BUT the government continues its assault unabated. Even the regulations they cleared under the act were quite illegal and had many many loopholes. This is where the confusion begins.
  1. F) Aadhaar violates the fundamental right to privacy or not?

Yes, it does!

G)Then how the Aadhaar Act passed in Parliament? (read H) & I) also)

It was passed with shrewdness.

First, it was introduced in the Budget session of 2016 as a money bill. But Aadhar is not a money bill in any sense.

  1. H) What are money bills then?

1.Bills which exclusively contain provisions for imposition and abolition of taxes, for the appropriation of money out of the Consolidated Fund, etc., are certified as Money Bills.

  1. And Aadhar has nothing to do with these things. Only the speaker has the right to called a bill a money bill, but in case of Aadhar, Mr. Arun Jaitley himself introduce it as the money bill.

I)Why was it introduced as Money Bill?

  1. The Lok Sabha has majority members of ruling party but not in Rajya Sabha. Mr. Jaitley was aware that if this bill introduced as the normal bill it will be debated in Rajya Sabha.
  1. So after introducing it as a Money Bill, it will no longer under the control of members of Rajya Sabha. Rajya Sabha members can suggest amendments but Lok Sabha has every right to accept or reject those amendments. Guess what happens in Aadhar bill?

Lok Sabha rejected the amendments made by Rajya Sabha members and passed the bill. (8)

But the most dangerous thing is –

J)How Government is trying to set bureaucracy (and not democracy) regarding Aadhar Act?

For that, we take a wonderful journey all the way to Clause 58 on Page 17, to the very end of the oh-so-complicated-and-well-worded bill.

(1) If any difficulty arises in giving effect to the provisions of this Act, the Central Government may, by order, published in the Official Gazette, make such provisions not inconsistent with the provisions of this Acts may appear to be necessary for removing the difficulty: Provided that no such order shall be made under this section after the expiry of three years from the commencement of this Act.

This clause basically puts in a ‘lockdown’ provision. Before that comes into effect, they can make changes in the bill by notification in the Gazette ( a written record of bills which passed as an Act). Basically, bureaucrats will have a free reign over what this bill will do after it is passed by Parliament.

And this is very serious.

  1. K) What is the role of ministers in this?
  1. Arun Jaitley admits that he is forcing people to create Aadhar card and to link with Gov schemes (even though it does not follow Supreme Court’s order). –

Bhartruhari Mahtab (BJD) said the Supreme Court had said in September last year that Aadhaar is not mandatory and wanted to know whether the government was “forcing” people to get it.

Yes, we are,” Jaitley replied.

  1. Mr. Narendra Modi as a CM of Guj thoughts that Aadhar there is no vision in this scheme-

On Aadhaar, neither the Team that I met nor PM could answer my Qs on security threat it can pose. There is no vision, only political gimmick

— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) April 8, 2014

  1. L) So who is really responsible for this? UPA or NDA government?
  1. The Aadhar card or  National Identification Authority of India Bill 2010 (NIDAI)  was introduced by the then PM Dr. Manmohan Singh along with Nandan Nilekani as an optional card that wasn’t meant to be mandatory for all citizens. What started out as a simple identity card that would be provided to all Indians.
  1. The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, benefits and services) Act, 2016 is a money bill of the Parliament of India. It aims to provide legal backing to the Aadhaar unique identification number project by making it mandatory for people who want benefits subsidies or schemes.
  1. The foundational shift that occurred between the National Identification Authority of India Bill 2010 (NIDAI) and the Aadhaar Act 2016 is clear from their respective definitions of authentication:

NIDAI 2010: “The Authority shall respond to an authentication query with a positive or negative response or with any other appropriate response excluding any demographic information and biometric information.” (emphasis added)

Aadhaar Act 2016: “The Authority shall respond to an authentication query with a positive, negative or any other appropriate response sharing such identity information excluding any core biometric information.” (emphasis added)

  1. M) Conclusion-

Aadhaar’s purpose was drastically changed. It was supposed to be beneficial for the low-income group by providing subsidies to needy people and remove leakages in the system. The current version of it, which includes mandatory linking to companies and schemes, is illegal & risky. The Finance Minister’s replies to the opposition are super vague and show carelessness while introducing such important act. The disadvantages of this act are contradicting to the aim of Aadhaar Act 2016. The government must fix this issue before any major harm happens ( I think all possible negative effects have already happened.)

N)Fun facts-

  1. Aadhar is not mandatory for VIPs
  2. Your Jio card registered and activated within 5 minutes because of your biometric data that you provided (in this case it was your fingerprint). At the same time, you handle over your demographic as well as biometric to the Jio company. And this can be misuse (perhaps found to be misused  (9) )
  3. Making Aadhar mandatory is illegal. (I have shown you all evidence about it.
  4. In one rare case of mixed-up identities, 2 men end up with same Aadhaar number. You know, UID means- Unique…(10)
  5. In future Government can ask for DNA of citizen as a biometric data.

    I am not joking. This is what FM Arun Jaitley said –
    Shri Satpathi wants to know whether DNA can be part of it (Aadhaar).The act does not say so. Regulation can expand it.

    Annotations

    1. http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/jean-dreze-on-aadhaar-mass-surveillance-data-collection/article8352912.ece

    2. No aid for Bhopal gas victims- https://scroll.in/latest/831144/no-aid-for-bhopal-gas-victims-workers-rescued-from-bonded-labour-unless-they-have-aadhaar-number?utm_content=bufferc9823&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

    3. Thousands of pensioners without Aadhaar or bank accounts struck off lists – https://scroll.in/article/813132/rajasthans-living-dead-thousands-of-pensioners-without-aadhaar-or-bank-accounts-struck-off-lists?utm_content=bufferf0eb6&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

    4. Jharkhand: Family denied ration over Aadhaar linking, girl starves to death- http://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/171017/jharkhand-girl-starves-to-death-as-family-denied-ration-over-aadhaar-linking.html

    5.Aadhaar data of 130 million, bank account details leaked from govt websites: Report http://indiatoday.intoday.in/technology/story/aadhaar-data-of-130-millions-bank-account-details-leaked-from-govt-websites-report/1/943632.html

    6. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5mBxP7jq8_IS3R1RVJsOTZrRDg/view

    7.Supreme Court finds govt. defying its order on -Aadhaar http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Supreme-Court-finds-govt.-defying-its-order-on-Aadhaar/article14999391.ece

    8.Aadhar bill passed in Lok Sabha after rejection of amendments introduced in Rajya Sabha- http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-aadhar-bill-hits-rajya-sabha-roadblock-returned-to-lok-sabha-with-amendements-2190133

    9.  https://twitter.com/i/moments/907102170641612800

    10. In case of mixed-up identities, 2 men end up with same Aadhaar number-  https://m.timesofindia.com/city/dehradun/in-case-of-mixed-up-identities-2-men-end-up-with-same-aadhaar-number/amp_articleshow/58989496.cms

https://sushrutmane.blogspot.in/2017/10/aadhar-card-expose.html

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India – #Aadhaar has made me an orphan of our democracy

 

Hello. My name is Rajesh Mehar. I am a law-abiding citizen of India. Wait. Actually, I am not so sure anymore.
Until 1 April of 2017, I was a good citizen. You could even have called me an Adarsh Citizen. I paid my taxes on time, did not participate in cash transactions if other alternatives were available, did not hoard cash or have undisclosed income, did not use unregistered mobile phone SIM cards, did not claim subsidies surreptitiously, and definitely did not resort to legal action against my own country.
But since 1 April 2017, it has all been coming apart. I have not been able to file my Income Tax returns despite wanting and trying to. My bank accounts are most likely to become non-operational at the end of this month and I will be forced to transact only in cash. I will not be able to receive a salary, declare my income, or participate in the economy legally. My mobile phone connection will be blocked in February 2018, and I may need to borrow a SIM card and impersonate someone else. I still do not plan to claim any subsidies, but I most definitely plan legal action against my government.
All of this has happened only because of one powerful force in my life. No, not my faadhaar, not my maadhaar, but Aadhaar. My name is Rajesh Mehar. I do not have Aadhaar and I am an orphan of our democracy.
But why? What am I hiding?
Several friends have laughed at my stubbornness. Why don’t you want to get Aadhaar? What are you hiding? Don’t you know Aadhaar is stopping many illegal practices? If you can give your fingerprints to the US Consulate for a visa, why can’t you give your biometrics to our government? Do you hate our Prime Minister?
I have been thinking about these questions without scepticism and formulating my honest answers. It makes sense to start in reverse order.
No, I do not hate our Prime Minister. I disagree with him on many counts, and I think he has made some grievous mistakes along the way, but I like him as much as I like any other political leader from any other party. And that is NOT why I have not got my Aadhaar.
Yes, I have obtained a visa and travelled to other countries and I have submitted my fingerprints in the process. However, I did so feeling powerless, criminalised, and disenfranchised every moment of that process. I did so knowing that I would go back to the welcoming, safe bosom of my country at the end of the ordeal. Now to feel the same way about the land I was born in makes me sad beyond description. I feel like a crying child, beaten and abused outside, coming back home to discover that my parents had gone mad and I was to be beaten and abused at home too.
No, Aadhaar has not stopped criminal activities and illegal practices, or even reduced them. In fact, criminals are using Aadhaar, and common citizens’ lack of understanding about it, to perpetrate crimes and continue illegal practices. The government themselves have leaked citizens’ private information, even the President’s office has. Sometimes, private information has been leaked through obscure websites that nobody knows about, like Zambo dot in. Using Aadhaar, common citizens’ money has been redirected without their knowledge, or cheated out of them again and again and again and again. In fact, criminals have even managed to make fake Aadhaars and the initial promise of weeding out fake claimants of government subsidies and entitlements is also now broken.
Are there safeguards?
But my friends are not idiots. “Arre, but it will never happen to you yaar. The government has made sure that there are safeguards. Even if anything goes wrong, you will be able to get redressal,” they say. Well, no.
Aadhaar was created by a team of technologists who have since left Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the parent organisation, to create other companies that will profit from the Aadhaar ecosystem. This is a troubling conflict of interest, and at least one person connected to ‘monetising Aadhaar’ has been publicly outed as an online troll, creating multiple accounts to badger and discredit critics of Aadhaar. Some people who created the Aadhaar technology are acknowledged to be volunteers! Would I have my broken tap fixed by a volunteer plumber? Would I give my cellphone to have its shattered touch screen repaired by a volunteer technician? Then how can we accept that a mission critical national identity project was developed by volunteer technologists?
If by chance, your or my Aadhaar number is made public, it can never be changed. And unfortunately, you and I are stuck with the same fingers and irises for the rest of our lives. Despite this irrevocable loss in case of a breach, there is no easy complaint system for Aadhaar-related fraud. You can call the Aadhaar customer service call centre, which, by the way, people are having trouble finding. Or it can be reached sometimes but the ‘system doesn’t work’. And of course, no court can allow any legal action connected with Aadhaar except if the legal action is initiated by UIDAI itself.
So, if you or I have an Aadhaar related problem, what is the best way out? Many citizens have taken to using Twitter, a public social media platform owned by an American company, to get through to UIDAI. Moreover, UIDAI themselves encourage us to reveal our Aadhaar number by ‘Private Message’ to air our grievance via this website, which is legally bound to divulge information on the platform to American security agencies. Excellent.
Why is it compulsory?
Nobody knows why Aadhaar is mandatory. Or even if it is mandatory. You can choose not to have an Aadhaar as long as you do not need a bank account, a mobile phone connectionincome tax returnsschool admissionsmedical care, and a host of other optional items. Our Prime Minister himself had opposed Aadhaar vehemently. UIDAI itself petitioned the Supreme Court that Aadhaar should not be made mandatory. So, why is it mandatory? Nobody knows.
Orphaned by Democracy
Indian citizens are constitutionally blessed with three parents for support, one more than the average child gets allocated. These three parents are the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary. Citizenry have tried to tell these three parents that they are being abused. Unfortunately, these parents have orphaned us. The first parent, our legislature, passed the Aadhaar related legislation as a money bill, which means it did not get debated in the Rajya Sabha at all. The second parent, our executive, has been indirectly making Aadhaar mandatory by making it compulsory to link it to several other services. There is no option for those who do not have Aadhaar or those who do not want to link it. Our last resort, our judiciary, has been patiently wearing down our complaints by not substantially hearing the several Aadhaar related matters before it for the last two and a half years.
So, bereft of any parental support, here I stand.
Thank you for listening to my story. I am Rajesh Mehar, a law abiding citizen of India until the next Aadhaar linking deadline. I am now an orphan of our democracy. Will civil society adopt me?
(Rajesh Mehar is a father of two beautiful children and also works for an IT company. He does not have Aadhaar yet.)

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India – Stop this project for ‘unlimited government’ now! #Aadhaar

Biometric databases have given birth to gnawing present and future civil liberties and civil rights concerns. The history of biometric profiling, going back to at least the 19th century, is a history of violence and repression. A stolen password can be changed, stolen fingerprints cannot be.

Biometric identification is an invitation to violence. A motorist in Germany had a finger chopped off by thieves seeking to steal his exotic car, which used a fingerprint reader instead of a door-lock. As The Economist noted in 2010 in an article on the fallibility of biometric identification, “Keeping evildoers out is no simple screening matter”, contrary to the belief of the proponents of the Central Identities Data Repository (CIDR) for the Aadhaar numbers.

As per Section 2(g) of the Aadhaar Act, 2016, “biometric information means photograph, fingerprint, iris scan, or such other biological attributes of an individual as may be specified by regulations.” The reference to “such other biological attributes” makes it clear that voice sample and DNA profiling may come under its ambit in the future. It is noteworthy that the Human DNA Profiling Bill, 2015, aimed at regulating the use of DNA analysis and to establish a National DNA Data Bank. The definition of biometric information in the Aadhaar Act seems to make the proposed Human DNA Profiling Bill redundant.

It is germane to recall that the Task Force for preparation of Policy Document on Identity and Access Management under the National e-Governance Programme (NeGP), which submitted a report in April 2007 that revealed Project Unique ID (UID) “to create a central database of resident information and assign a Unique Identification number to each such resident…in the country…”, was already under implementation long before the arrival of Nandan Nilekani in July 2009 as chairman of the UIDAI. This report defined biometrics and made one of the earliest references to “biometric authentication”.

Biometric identification and authentication is the foundation on which the entire CIDR of Aadhaar project has been erected. But proponents of the project feign ignorance about a five-year study, Biometric Recognition: Challenges and Opportunities, published in September 2010 by the National Research Council in Washington, DC, which concluded that biometric identification and recognition is “inherently fallible” like the discredited science of Eugenics.

Indians under US surveillance

Former electronics and IT secretary J Satyanarayana, currently part-time chairman of UIDAI, was a member of the Task Force, which included 34 other members, including 11 technology solutions providers, mostly giant US corporations.

Asked about surveillance by the US National Security Agency on Indians by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, Satyanarayana said, “We have been assured that whatever data has been gathered by them for surveillance relates only to metadata…which is, the origin of the message and the receiving point, the destination and the route through which it has gone, but not the actual content itself…we expressed that any incursion into the content will not be tolerated…”

In effect, the Government of India has formally told the US government that India has no problem if American agencies conduct surveillance of Indian citizens for metadata. It must be remembered that the idea of UID was incubated in Satyanarayana’s very department. Contract agreements accessed through RTI reveal unequivocally that sensitive personal data of Indians have been handed over to transnational private companies like Accenture, Safran Group and Ernst & Young.

No recourse for individuals

The powers of the UIDAI include the power of “omitting and deactivating an Aadhaar number and information relating thereto…” Read with the government’s directives to make Aadhaar mandatory for any and every government service or benefit, in effect, the Aadhaar Act has empowered the central government to cause “civil death” – or the loss of all civil rights — of anyone for any reason.

Worse, as per Section 47(1) of the Aadhaar Act, “No court shall take cognizance of any offence punishable under this Act, save on a complaint made by the Authority or any officer or person authorised by it.” This takes away the right of citizens to move any court for the enforcement of the rights conferred by Articles 14, 21 and 22 of the Constitution. In effect, individuals have no recourse to the law on matters relating to the misuse or abuse of one’s Aadhaar by the UIDAI or any other agency, unless the UIDAI itself lodges a complaint!

Such provisions were forced on citizens – illegally, of course – only during Emergency, when a Presidential Order declared that “the right of any person (including a foreigner) to move any court for the enforcement of the rights conferred by Articles 14, 21 and 22 of the Constitution and all proceedings pending in any court for the enforcement of the above-mentioned rights shall remain suspended…”

That order came in handy for Sanjay Gandhi to assault Indian citizens, using State machinery and authority to forcibly sterilise thousands of men during Emergency. The Indian resident is once again under attack through indiscriminate biometric profiling. Such a project, which is aimed at creating an unlimited government, not limited by the Constitution, must be abandoned forthwith in the supreme public interest.

(The writer is a public policy and law
researcher and convener of Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties)

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/647322/stop-project-unlimited-government-now.html

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Mark Tully- What’s the problem with #Aadhaar ?

The problem with Aadhaar cards is the way they are being pushed by the State

I have my own evidence of biometric aadhaar recognition’s fragility. When I went to obtain my card my fingerprints failed to register.

Responding to recent starvation deaths in Jharkhand the central government has now asked the states to see that people get their rations even if their aadhaar cards don’t work(Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)

I have just received a copy of this year’s lecture in honour of the outstanding civil servant Lalit Doshi given by Kaushik Basu who was Chief Economic Advisor to the government of India at the finance ministry. In the lecture he says “A sudden digitalisation in an emerging economy like ours will be devastating for the poor”. This is what seems to be happening with the Aadhaar-based biometric card authentication which the economist Jean Dreze says is “being pushed relentlessly by the central government.”

Jean is teaching at Ranchi University. He calls his research in the villages of Jharkhand and elsewhere “action-oriented research or research for action”. When I met him in Ranchi a week or so ago he shared with me some recent research showing that compulsory biometric authentication was excluding marginalised people from security nets they were entitled too. This was particularly true of the rations they should receive from the PDS, the Public Distribution System. He showed me a series of videoed incidents in which people who had been refused rations because biometric machines failed to read their fingerprints, machines did not work because the Internet was down, or there was no electricity. In one incident the PDS recognition machine was hanging from a Jamun tree in the hope that it might receive a signal there.

I have my own evidence of biometric aadhaar recognition’s fragility. When I went to obtain my card my fingerprints failed to register. Fortunately I went to a small travel agency where the owner was anxious to earn the Rs 300 I was to pay him so he persevered, assuring me that it often took time to get an impression from old people because their fingertips were worn away. Eventually in frustration he grabbed my hand and started rubbing my fingers in his hair. Lo and behold an impression faint, but visible enough to get a card, appeared. Exactly how faint I discovered when I had to be biometrically recognised to buy a new mobile. It took more than ten minutes and countless attempts for my fingerprints to register. Once again the shopkeeper persevered patiently because he wanted my money, but at the time I wondered whether elderly poor people facing biometric difficulties would be treated patiently by PDS shop owners. In the videos I saw they were not.

Before I met Jean I had spent two days in tribal villages surrounding Hazaribagh less than two hours by road from Jhansi. There I found that the aadhaar card was being pushed vigorously. A retired carpenter who had spent his working life in Mumbai said to me, “The aadhar card is good, corruption is less, but now you can’t get anything from the government if you don’t have a card.” When I asked whether there were people who couldn’t get cards he replied, “Yes there are many people.” The carpenter was reluctant to give me his name explaining with a sheepish smile, “I am the BJP booth-in-charge for this village”.

In another village a retired schoolmaster had no hesitation in identifying himself as Laxmi Narayan Mehto and criticising the aadhar card. He said “You need the aadhar card for everything but the problem here is that we don’t remember exactly when we were born and often we guess differently on different documents, so the date on a ration card may not be he same as the date on a ration card.” Then pointing to the child holding his hand he said “It will be all right when he grows up because children’s births are registered today.”

Responding to recent starvation deaths in Jharkhand the central government has now asked the states to see that people get their rations even if their aadhaar cards don’t work. But in March the chief secretary of Jharkhand had ordered all ration cards without aadhaar cards to be cancelled.

The problem with aadhaar cards seems to me that the scheme is being pushed ahead suddenly with results that are devastating for many poor people. This is not a criticism of the aadhaar scheme but of the zeal with which it is being pushed — a zeal which whatever the central government or state governments says is creating the impression in the field that having a card and fingertips which are not worn down is compulsory.

HT

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‘Mandatory #Aadhaar’ enables violations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 

9 ways in which ‘mandatory Aadhaar’ enables violations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights*

– Right to Remedy (Art. 8) – Aadhaar mandatory for compensation for Bhopal gas disaster victims

– Right to Privacy (Art. 12 ): Various leaks of personal data collected by Aadhaar

– Right to Freedom of Expression (Art. 19): Aadhaar mandatory for mobile phone connections

– Right to Social Security (Art. 22): Aadhaar mandatory for EPF, various pension schemes

Image result for EPF, various pension schemes

– Right to Food (Art. 25): Aadhaar mandatory for subsidized foodgrain from PDS, mid-day meals

– Right to Housing (Art. 25): Aadhaar mandatory under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, housing subsidies to beedi/iron/manganese/limestone workers

– Right to Medical Care (Art.25): Aadhaar mandatory for TB treatment under Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program, Maternity Benefit Programme, government ambulances in some states

– Right to Education (Art.26) – Aadhaar mandatory for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan benefits for children with disabilities, various central scholarships

– Right to Work (Art. 23) – Aadhaar mandatory under MNREGA, Deendayal Antyodya Yojana, National Rural Livelihoods Mission

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Jharkhand – Widow dies of starvation after both food ration and pension are denied to her due to #KillerAadhaar

A 64-year old widow, Premani Kunwar, died of hunger and exhaustion on 1 December in Danda Block of Garhwa district (Jharkhand). Contrary to some media reports, there was no money in Premani’s bank account when she died. Two months earlier, the Aadhaar-based payment system had redirected her pension money to a different account, without her knowledge. She was also denied her grain entitlement in August and November.

kunwar-house

Premani Kunwar, a destitute widow who lives alone with her 13-year old son, used to receive her monthly pension of Rs 600 in her Aadhaar-linked bank account at the State Bank of India. From October onwards, however, her pension was redirected to another account (in the name of Shanti Devi, her husband’s first wife), unbeknown to her or her family or the local bank. The reason is that Shanti Devi’s account (a suspicious account – she died 25 years ago) was somehow linked with Premani’s Aadhaar number. Under the current system of Aadhaar-enabled pension payments, a person’s pension is automatically paid to whichever of his/her accounts was mostly recently seeded with Aadhaar. But most people in rural Jharkhand are unaware of this rule, which is a source of endless confusion for pensioner and NREGA workers who do not know where to look for their money. Premani’s death epitomises their hardships.

This is just one example of the objectionable banking practices associated with Aadhaar. Another example is the opening of Aadhaar-linked bank accounts (e.g. under Jan Dhan Yojana) without the consent or even knowledge of the concerned person. Sometimes bank accounts are opened in this casual manner by wholly unaccountable “business correspondents”.

In 2016, ICICI Bank opened accounts of around 6000 NREGA workers in Boram block of East Singhbhum district without their consent and linked them to their Aadhaar. Most of the workers did not know that their NREGA wages were being credited in the ICICI bank accounts.  Shell accounts have also been used to siphon off NREGA wages, as a recent investigation in Mahuadanr Block (Latehar district, Jharkhand) revealed.

Similarly, Aadhaar numbers are sometimes “seeded” into existing bank accounts without verification, or without the knowledge of the account holders. This is a dangerous practice that opens the door to fraud.

The practice of automatically redirecting pensions or NREGA wages to the “last Aadhaar-linked account”, without informing the recipients, is particularly objectionable. Recently, a massive scam of opening Airtel payment bank accounts linked to Aadhaar of mobile subscribers of Airtel without their consent has been unearthed. It was found that LPG subsidy and other online payments were redirected to the Airtel accounts without the consent and knowledge of subscribers.

It is even more shocking that someone’s pension can be redirected to a different account without informing her, as happened to Premani Kunwar with fatal consequences.

 Denial of food rations

Premani was also deprived of her food rations from the public distribution system in August and November. Premani had an Antyodaya card, which normally enabled her to buy her monthly quota of 35 kg of rice (minus a 2 kg cut) at Re 1/kg from the local ration shop. In September, Premani had to use most of her food ration to return what she had borrowed in August to survive. In November, the dealer took her fingerprint (biometric authentication is compulsory for food rations in Jharkhand, in the online system) but told her that he would give her rice later. Meanwhile, she died.

These irregularities are directly related to Aadhaar. The reason why there was no distribution in August is that local dealers were not allotted any rice for that month. Instead, they were told that they should distribute from the accumulated stocks that had been generated in preceding months due to transaction failures (e.g. due to lack of connectivity or biometric failures). Meanwhile, however, many dealers had sold these stocks in the market. So in August they simply told the cardholders that they had nothing to distribute.

In addition, dealers started tampering with digital records in order to hide accumulated stocks. One way they do this is to separate authentication and distribution – get people’s fingerprints, tell them that they would get rice later, and then play hide-and-seek. This seems to be what happened to Premani in November.

Circumstances of death

Deprived of both food and cash, Premani lived in a state of semi-starvation from August (if not before). Sometimes her son brought leftover rice from the midday meal at school, but there was little else to eat most of the time. Before she died, she had gone without proper food for 15 days. No food had been cooked in her house for eight days preceding her death.

Continuing denial by the government

Premani’s death adds to the growing evidence of violation of mere right to life of people in Jharkhand caused by the Central and state government’s drive to link delivery of welfare services with Aadhaar. Rather than acknowledging the massive violations caused by this policy, the state government has gone in an overdrive to deny that starvation is still a reality in Jharkhand.

 

Report of fact finding into the death of Premani Kunwar

Place of visit – Korta village, Danda Gram Panchayat, Danda block, Garhwa, Jharkhand

Date of visit – 4-5 December 2017

Members of investigating team – Mithilesh Kumar, Jawahar Mehta, Ravinder Bhuiyan, Sakina, Sarfaraz, Siraj (on behalf of the Right to Food Campaign, Jharkhand)

Summary of finding

Premani Kunwar, a 64 years old widow and living with her thirteen years old son Uttam was completely dependent on the grain entitlements 35 kgs/month under National Food Security Act (NFSA) and pension (Rs.600/month) under the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS). Lack of sufficient food and nutrition was a regular affair in her family. She did not get her grain entitlement of 35 kgs in November 2017. She also did not get the pension of September-October 2017 (Rs. 1200) as it was credited to the account of Shanti Devi, whose bank account is linked with Premani’s Aadhaar, without her knowledge. Premani last withdrew her pension on 8 September 2017 following which there was no money left in her account. No food had been cooked in her house for 8 days preceding the date of her death (1 December 2017) as there was no grain in the house and Premani did not have proper meals in this duration. In November, she had borrowed some uncooked grain, cooked rice and sattu from her neighbours. She passed away in the early morning of 1 December 2017 because of continual starvation that was at its worst in the last eight days before her death.

Detailed report

Details of family

Premani Kunwar, aged 64, was the second wife of late Mutur Mahto who passed away around 15 years back. She is survived by a son, Uttam Mahto aged 13, who lived with her. He is studying in 7th class in the government school. The first wife of Mutur Mahto, Shanti Devi passed away around 25 years back. Mutur Mahto and Shanti Devi had 6 children – four sons and two daughters. The oldest three brothers and two daughters are married.

All of them (Premani Kunwar, Uttam Mahto and the four brothers and their wives) live on the same plot. The kuchcha house, in which all the family members are living, is built on an area of around 7 decimals and is in a dilapidated state. Premani and Uttam shared two rooms of the house. Premani’s family and families of the brother do not own any land, apart from the land on which their house is situated. They also do not take land from others on bantayi system for cultivation, as they cannot afford the cost of input material such as fertilisers etc.

The four brothers work as unskilled labourers mainly in mason works and get 10-15 days of work per month on an average. Their wives also work as labourers sometimes in local agricultural works. The four brothers have four Priority Household cards under NFSA. The names of three members of their families are missing in their cards.

Premani Kunwar had an Antyoday ration card (Annexure 1- card no. 202000172021)Annexure 1 – Pramani Kunwar’s ration card

under National Food Security Act and was a pensioner under the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme.

Details of the death

When Uttam woke up in the early morning of 1st December, he found Premani dead. He immediately informed other family members. The Block Development Officer (also functioning as the Marketing Officer) visited the family the same day and inspected their rooms and inquired about the death. He was told by the family that Premani had died because of starvation. He promised Rs. 10000 to the family for immediate needs. The family has not been given that money yet.

Status of availability of food in the family

  • According to Premani’s son, step-sons and daughter-in-laws and the neighbours, no food had been cooked in Premani’s home for eight days before her death because of lack of grains at home. She did not eat anything on 29thand 30th November as there was no food.
  • Premani and Uttam were entitled to 35 kg of ration on their Antyoday card under the NFSA. She did not get any ration in August 2017 as the dealer did not distribute ration in that month. But the dealer made an entry of 35 kgs grain for August 2017 in her ration card (Annexure 1). She had borrowed some rice from her neighbours for that month. She got her ration in September and October. She used the ration to repay the loans and also sold a part of it to buy other essentials such as kerosene oil etc. Even though, she was entitled to 35 kgs of grains per month, she was given only 33 kgs by the dealer. But the dealer transacted 35 kgs on her card (as per the online transaction list of September and October 2017) and also entered the same in her card.
  • Premani did not get ration in the month of November 2017. As she had become weak in the absence of sufficient food, she had to be taken on a bike to the dealer on 29 November for toauthenticate her identity for getting the ration. She was accompanied by one of her daughters-in-law Rima Devi and her son Uttam. The dealer made her give her thumbprint in the POS machine for authenticating her ration transaction for November 2017, but did not give her the grain. There is an entry on her card for 29 November 2017 in the online transaction list of that month (Annexure – 2). The dealer also made an entry of 35 kgs grains for November 2017 in her ration card (Annexure – 1). According to the Uttam and Rima Devi, the dealer had said that he did not have grains and had asked Premani to come on 2 December 2017 to collect her ration.
  • In November, Premani had borrowed some cooked rice from neighbours. She had borrowed 1 kg rice from Gulbaso Kunwar around 10 days before her death. She had gone to Gulbaso again after a few days to borrow some more rice, but Gulbaso could not give her more as she did not have enough herself. Premani also borrowed some cooked rice from Lilavati Devi. She was also given some sattu(one bowl) by Ramlal Mehta. Her son was getting lunch under the Mid Day Meal scheme in his school. He also brought some leftover rice for his mother sometimes.
  • Premani’s step family also gave her some cooked rice at times. According to Rima Devi and Rajkumari Devi, the grains that they used to get under NFSA could feed their respective families for only 10-15 days/month. For the rest of the month, they also had to borrow rice from neighbours at times.
  • According to Uttam and the daughters-in-law, Premani and her son were surviving primarily on rice. Dal had not been cooked in the Premani’s family for over a year. Vegetables had not been cooked since a couple of months. Garlic and sugar were not used by the family for more than a year. On 4 December 2017, there was only 2 litres of kerosene oil at their house and no rice or even salt.
  • The family member and the neighbours stated that Premani had become physically weak gradually the in absence of sufficient food. According to the Rima Devi and Rajkumari Devi (daughters in law), Premani was completely dependent on her grain entitlements. If she did not get her ration time, she used to go hungry unless someone gave her some food.
  • Earlier Premani used to work as unskilled agricultural labourer in the village (for harvesting rice, wheat etc.), but she stopped doing it since the last one year as she got weak. She had also stopped taking part in annual festivals such as Chhath because of her weakness. However, Premani’s family informed that she was not suffering from any illness.

Access to old age pension

  • Premani Kunwar was enrolled in old age pension (Rs. 600/month). The bank passbook and bank statement shows that the flow of pension was not regular. Premani had last withdrawn her pensions of Rs. 1200 (for July-August) on 8 September 2017. As per her latest bank statement (as on 5 December 2017), she does not have any money left in her account after that withdrawal (Annexure – 3). According to the family members, she went to the bank in October and November enquiring about her pensions for September-October, but was repeatedly told by the bank functionaries that her pension had not been credited in her account. Premani would return home and cry that she was not getting her pensions.
  • As per the financial transaction details of Premani’s Aadhaar card (available on the Public Fund Management System website), the pension for September-October 2017 (Rs. 1200) has been credited to the account of Shanti Devi (Annexure – 4). The Bank Manager, Mr. Ajay Tirkey, of the local branch of State Bank of India also confirmed this. He also shared the screenshot of the Aadhaar-bank account linkage that shows that Shanti Devi’s account was linked to Premani’s Aadhaar on 10 October 2017 due to which Premani’s pension for October-November was credited in Shanti Devi’s account. Shanti Devi’s account was based in the Piprakalan branch of SBI which is around 22 kms from the village. The branch manager also shared that, according to his bank’s software, the Premani’s Aadhaar was linked to two bank accounts (Premani’s and Shanti’s) and he admitted that the did not know the reason for this (Annexure – 5).
  • According to Garhwa’s Deputy Commissioner, Premani’s pension of September-October 2017 had been transferred to the account of Mutur Mahto’s first wife, Shanti Devi as her account got linked with Premani’s Aadhaar number. The Deputy Commissioner said that it was a technical glitch in the transition period of linking pensions with Aadhaar. According to Shanti Devi’s sons, they were not aware of any such account of their mother. They were also not aware that the pension had been credited to that account. The Branch Manager shared that the account was opened in 2007 and was being operated through the Priprakala branch. When the Branch Manager was told that Shanti Devi, Mutur Mahto’s first wife, died 25 years ago, he said that he did not know the details of this account as it was opened in a different branch.

Status of general well-being of the Premani’s family

Premani’s two rooms lie absolutely bare except for a few things such as a broken cot, a cloth liner with some clothes, a few utensils and a drum etc. (Annexure – 6). Premani and Uttam had only one blanket.

Access of the family to other social welfare programmes

The families of Premani and her step sons did not have Job Cards under MGNREGA. Even though the women of these families work as agricultural labourers in the village and want work under MGRNEGA, they do not have Job Cards. According to them, all the MGNREGA work in the village is done using excavation machines (JCB). Rima Devi, Babita Devi and Rajkumari Devi had also applied for pucca houses under the Indira Awas Yojana (and Prime Minister Awas Yojana) multiple times in the Gram Sabha and also to the Mukhiya, but houses have not been sanctioned for them yet. Premani’s son Uttam also said that eggs were not being given in lunch under Mid Day Meal scheme in his school since the last 2-3 months.

Village-level findings

NFSA

All the villagers present in the meeting on 4 December 2017 in the village said that the dealer had not distributed ration in August 2017. The dealer said that he did not get allocation for that month. It also emerged that the dealer made many cardholders authenticate their thumbprint in the POS machine in November (to claim the grain entitlement for that month) and told them to collect the ration in December. On 5 December, some cardholders went to the dealer to collect their ration, but he turned them away by saying that only those families would get ration which had authenticated their thumbprint in November. The villagers also said that the dealer cuts 2-3 kgs of ration from Antyoday cards and 0.5 kg/person for PH cards.

There are some card holders such as Sanju Devi (202000172107) and Ramsingh Mahto (202000171924) who are not getting their grain entitlements since the last few months. The reason given by the dealer is “load nahi ho raha hai”. As per the online list of PH cards, Ramsingh Mahto’s card has been deleted.

Some single women such as Kaleshwari Kunwar (Husband – Lt. Bandhu Thakur), Gangiya Kunwar (Husband – Lt. Prabodh Mahto), Ram Kali Kunwar (Husband – Lt. Jaygobind Sah) and Ramkali Kunwar (Husband – Lt. Rampawan Mahto) had Antodyay cards before NFSA was implemented. But they have been given Priority Household cards under NFSA.

MGNREGA

No MGNREGA work is going on in the village. Work last happened in June 2017 in some schemes of land levelling and dobhas. The villages unequivocally said that most of the excavation was done by contractors using JCB machines. Many families need work, but do not get work.

Dealer’s comments to Premani’s death and situation in village

The dealer Shivnath Ram said that he could not distribute ration in August 2017 as he had not been allocated grains for that month. Regarding the distribution of ration to Premani Kunwar for the month of November, he said that Premani had come on a bike (as she was weak) with her daughter-in-law and son. She authenticated her thumbprint for taking the grains for November, but did not take them as she did not have a bora with her. She said she would send someone with the bora, but did not. He also said that no one in the village was being denied their grain entitlements and was not aware that any card had been cancelled.

When asked if he was aware that people who do not have Aadhaar card cannot be denied their grain entitlements, he said that he had received the letter on 3 December. It is interesting to note that he received the letter almost a month and half after Minister for food, Saryu Rai had announced that people will not be denied their ration in absence of Aadhaar.

Block Pramukh’s comments on Premani’s death

The block Pramukh Virendra Chowdhary claimed that the dealer had collected the allotted grains on 28 November. When Premani went to the dealer to get ration on 29 November, he did not give her the grain entitlements but entered the date of collection of ration in Premani’s ration card as 27 November. He also confirmed that no food had been cooked at her home for a week before her death because of lack of grains.

Civil Surgeon’s comment on Premani’s death

The Civil Surgeon, when contacted on his phone, said that he had sent the post-mortem report to the Deputy Commissioner and was not allowed to share the findings.

Deputy Commissioner’s comments on Premani’s death

The Deputy Commissioner, Ms. Neha Arora, refused to give a copy of the post-mortem report and said that it would have to be sought through Right to Information. She verbally shared the finding of the post mortem report and showed the copy to the team. She said that the report found some (300ml) semi-digested food in the stomach of Premani and hence she had not died of hunger. According to the report, the cause of the death could not be ascertained from the post-mortem and the viscera would have to be sent for forensics for further examination. However, as per the news published in Prabhat Khabar on 4 December 2017 (Annexure 7), the district public relations officer has claimed that she died of illness.

When it was shared that the dealer did not distribute ration in August 2017 and he was not allocated ration, the Deputy Commissioner said that she was not aware of this. She also repeated the dealer’s version of why Premani did not get ration in November. However, she also said she had sent a show-cause notice to the dealer on why he had not given the grains to Premani.

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India – Wait till next week before you decide on linking #Aadhaar

It has been 849 days since the Indian Supreme Court decided to set up a Constitution Bench to examine if Aadhaar project violates Indian Constitution. Every day that the court delays in deciding on this matter, there are more instances of people suffering because Aadhaar has been made ‘mandatorily voluntary’. Since the matter didn’t get listed in the Supreme Court on its own, there was a mentioning by the lawyers today in morning in the court of the Chief Justice of India.

At this mentioning, the Attorney General of India, Mr. K. K. Venugopal, said in the court that the Government of India will publish a notification tomorrow extending the 31st December 2017 deadline to link Section 7 notifications (PDS, NREGA, disability assistance, MDM and over 100 others) to 31st March, 2018 EXCEPT in the case of mobile-Aadhaar linkage. The Attorney General added that in the case of mobile-Aadhaar linking the deadline will continue to be 6th February 2018 since it will require a judicial order to extend to 31st March 2018 because the Supreme Court had, in the Lokniti Foundation case, ordered Aadhaar verification of all mobiles by 6th February 2018. (Note: There is also an opinion that the mandatory Aadhaar verification of mobile numbers is a misreading of the court’s opinion in the Lokniti Foundation case.)

It is understood that this notification would extend the deadline only for those without Aadhaar and that those with Aadhaar will have still have to link to bank accounts and other services by 31st December 2017, similar to the PAN judgement earlier this year where in those with Aadhaar had to mention their Aadhaar number when filing their Income Tax returns but those without Aadhaar needn’t do so. In the present case, this will be confirmed only if and when such a notification is published by the Government of India as indicated by the Attorney General.

Mr. Shyam Divan, advocating for the petitioners in the Aadhaar case, insisted that the deadline should be extended for both those with and without Aadhaar and that the government should assure citizens that no coercive action will be taken against Aadhaar holders. To this the Attorney General replied that if this is the case then nobody will produce the Aadhaar number and was prepared to argue on this point. The Chief Justice of India gave his assurance that a Constitution Bench will decide on the matter of providing interim relief next week till such time that this matter is decided by the Supreme Court.

IMPLICATIONS OF TODAY’S DEVELOPMENTS FOR CITIZENS CONCERNED ABOUT AADHAAR

For those without Aadhaar: Be on the lookout for the notification mentioned by the Attorney General at the court. If this notification comes out, it is likely that you can wait at least till 31st March 2018 before linking.

For those with Aadhaar: Again, be on the lookout for the notification mentioned by the Attorney General at the court. If this notification doesn’t exempt those with Aadhaar from the 31st December 2017 linking deadline, then wait till the Constitution Bench hearing next week to see if interim relief is offered by the Supreme Court.

As a disclaimer we at Rethink Aadhaar urge you to personally assess risk and make an independent decision. Our updates are not legal advice and are aimed to creating public awareness.

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