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Aadhaar Not Valid Identification Document for Travel to Nepal, Bhutan: Home Ministry

ASHWINI SHRIVASTAVA / NEW DELHI,
Aadhaar Not Valid Identification Document for Travel to Nepal, Bhutan: Home Ministry
PHOTOGRAPH BY GETTY IMAGES

Aadhaar is not a valid identification document for Indians travelling to Nepal and Bhutan, the Union home ministry has said.

Indians can travel to Nepal and Bhutan–both countries for which they don’t need visas–if they possess a valid national passport or election ID card issued by the Election Commission.

Moreover, to ease travel, persons over 65 and below 15 years can show documents with photographs to confirm their age and identity. These include PAN card, driving licence, Central Government Health Service (CGHS) card and ration card but not Aadhaar.

Aadhaar (UID) card is not an acceptable travel document for travel to Nepal/Bhutan,” a communique issued by the ministry said.

The advisory assumes significance as Aadhaar is mandatory for a host of things, including government subsidies on LPG and other social welfare schemes.

 

The Aadhaar card, which has a 12-digit unique identification number and personal details like name and address, acts as a proof of identification and residence.

Indians entering Bhutan by road are required to obtain an ‘Entry Permit’ on the basis of a valid travel document from the immigration office of Royal Government of Bhutan at Phuentsholing, located on the Indo-Bhutan border opposite Jaigaon, West Bengal.

The border with Nepal is an open one with people who enter the country needing to show any valid identity card.

Nepal shares borders with five Indian states–Sikkim, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Around six lakh Indians are living or domiciled in Nepal.

Bhutan, which shares borders with Sikkim, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and West Bengal, has about 60,000 Indian nationals, employed mostly in the hydroelectric power and construction industry. In addition, between 8,000 and 10,000 daily workers enter and exit Bhutan everyday in border towns.

In another development, Indians flying abroad will not be required to fill departure cards from next month.

However, those going out of the country via rail, seaport and land immigration checkposts will have to fill the embarkation card.

“It has been decided to discontinue the practice of filling up of the departure card by Indians at all international airports with effect from July 1, 2017,” an order issued by the home ministry said.

The move is aimed at ensuring hassle-free movement of Indians going abroad.

At present, those going abroad need to fill in details such as name, date of birth, passport number, address in India, flight number and date of boarding in the departure card.

The decision will help reducing the time required to complete immigration related formalities by passengers and also enable airports and authorities concerned to cater to a larger number of people.

The need for Indians to fill such cards on their arrival in India has already been done away with.

http://www.outlookindia.com/newswire/story/aadhaar-not-valid-identification-document-for-travel-to-nepal-bhutan-home-ministry/971151

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Open letter to the designers and implementers of #UID. .. #Aadhaar

We write this letter to you as a question, a comment, a complaint, and finally an appeal. We do want to clarify at the outset that we have had many intellectual and theoretical problems with the UID (Unique Identification) related to surveillance, privacy and how it actually has the potential to turn the Right to Information (RTI) on its head. Nevertheless, we have since its inception carefully watched Aadhaar or the UID as per its primary stated objective (even in the legislation) to benefit the poor. You promised that there would be at least three big advantages that would accrue from the roll out of this “game-changing” platform.

First, we were told, that it would foster and ensure inclusion at all levels. It is now becoming clear, that Aadhaar is actually just an authentication mechanism using biometric technology threaded through a vast, centralised, data gathering platform. It has provided citizens with no unique benefit, except (potentially dangerously) being used as an ID/KYC card. Since Aadhaar has been made absolutely mandatory for drawing benefits under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) in Rajasthan over the last year, we confine ourselves to use the detailed evidence that exists of the devastating consequences of its imposition in rations leading to mass anguish and distress. In a recent meeting with officials from the Department of Food and IT officials in Rajasthan, certain statistics from the Rajasthan Government website were discussed and confirmed- Out of approximately 1 crore NFSA beneficiary families, nearly 30 lakh families i.e. approximately 30% of intended beneficiaries, were not drawing their monthly rations over the last 10 months. These were families with Aadhaar numbers, so you will agree that they could not be “bogus”.

It also makes no sense for these families to willingly forego wheat at Rs 2 per kg when the market price is ten times that amount. The statistic of 30% masked the old and the physically challenged who could not reach the ration shop to place their fingerprints on the machine and those who migrated in search of work, for a season, or even a whole year. The most vulnerable, who should be our highest priority, are being excluded by design. Should the designers not have made sure this situation did not continue for the last 10 months and beyond? Other reasons offered to explain the exclusion are poor performance of the machine, the network, biometric mismatch and even the dealer’s poor performance.

The government has not invested any effort to match the breakdown of numbers with reasons. Instead, it made inflated claims on equating denial with savings and thereby ending corruption. Would you not agree that to classify exclusion as a saving is unethical and cruel? And this continues despite an unequivocal Rajasthan High Court order of May 30 that Aadhaar can’t be the basis for denial of rations. But ignoring Supreme Court and high court orders is a nurtured pattern in the UID paradigm.

Second, we were told that Aadhaar would be an almost foolproof method to de-duplicate and therefore eliminate corruption. Duplication is not the biggest source of corruption in welfare. There are other citizen-based methods to de-duplicate. But, you never had an answer to the many other forms of corruption it leaves untouched. And we now know that in fact, it fosters some new forms of corruption! Out of the 70% of rations the dealer is distributing, he is making his cut in numerous ways. He almost never provides a receipt. He authenticates for everything and gives only kerosene. He authenticates for several months and gives only for one month. He overcharges, overbooks, manipulates seeding and in the cruellest joke on your system, tells the beneficiary that her biometric has failed, even when he gets a positive authentication. The challenge for the anti-corruption RTI user is that the paper trail has been replaced by digital databases, sometimes secret, run by a system that does not have the inclination to act on complaints. The officials often say that biometric authentication means proof of no corruption!

Third, we were told that this delivery highway would greatly increase efficiency. It would allow administrators to see what was going on where and immediately respond at the minutest level. That leads us to ask why not one FIR has been registered for perpetuating the massive corruption that you apparently eliminated. All of you repeatedly assured us from the seniormost levels to those implementing that pilots would be watched very carefully to learn and correct, and you assured us that Aadhaar would become widely used, not from compulsion but from popular demand.

So we address this to all of you who have brought us till here – the celebrated architects, the political leadership pursuing this with an unprecedented zeal, our very competent technocratic friends, researchers who have been singing praises of Aadhaar and administrators at every level. We are baffled about how this can continue. The poor, the excluded, the anaemic and the hungry have questions that relate to their life, and death. So many of those who have passed away over these last 10 months and were not able to access their food grain or pension entitlement have pleas that went unanswered. Can you please answer these questions and tell us who will be held responsible? This calls for an “evidence-based” point by point public discussion. We hope that in the course of the debate if you accept that injustice has been done, you will help correct it. Before we proceed further, citizens across India deserve a chance to better understand what the implications of using Aadhaar could be.

In anticipation..

(The writers are social activists who live and work in rural Rajasthan)

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Aadhaar Case -Petitioners’ Rejoinder to Govt in Mid-day Meals and welfare schemes #Mustread

Read the Rejoinder-By-ShanthaSinha  petitioner Shanta Sinha (political scientist, anti-child labour activist and padma sri winner) and Kalyani Menon-Sen (noted feminist activist) against the counter affidavit filed by the State on Aadhaar.

It’s not just the savings numbers that have been cooked up, but several other claims as well.

Journalists: Focus on the authentication & savings claims rather than enrollment.
What matters more?
How it works and how much does it save?
 Lies, damn lies & statistics.
1. Aadhaar authentication fails up to 60% of the time.
2. Aadhaar (gross) savings nowehere close to 50,000.
1. The rejoinder relies on government documents and audit records which make the 50,000 crore savings claims incredibly suspect.
 2. The rejoinder relies on government documents to whatever extent available (since UIDAI doesn’t keep records) of authentication failures.
3: Backed up by the tireless work of independent researchers, field workers & activists. Please take some time to read & understand the issues.
4: Denial of rations and exclusion data due to authentication failures from Page 15 onwards.
5: Saving claims of 50,000 crores debunked from Page 19 onwards.
More data in the documents. Built of painstaking field research, analysis of government docs & RTIs by journalists + researchers.

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UP govt makes it compulsory for patients, kin to have #Aadhaar card to get ambulance #WTFnews

Bijnor: The Uttar Pradesh government has made Aadhaar card mandatory for anyone wanting to avail its free ambulance service. Now, if a patient calls an ambulance to his home, his relative or he will have to produce their Aadhaar card. According to officials, this is being done to clamp down on anomalies in ambulance trips, including duration and distance, which have occurred. The recording of Aadhaar numbers of patients will help reduce fraudulent use of the vehicles. However, with large numbers of people, particularly in rural areas, still without Aadhaar cards, residents are expected to face considerable problems.

Health department officials pointed out that ambulance services provided by the government had several loopholes and flaws. Drivers sometimes made fake trips and wrote fraudulent details of patients to siphon off money for fuel. The drivers sometimes made fake calls themselves to make the trips. To stop such irregularities, the state government has sent a letter to all chief medical officers of districts in UP stating that Aadhaar is now a must if someone wants an ambulance.

Bijnor CMO Suhveer Singh said, “There are total of 53 ambulances, including those which can be called by dialling 102 and 108, in the district. ‘Dial 102’ ambulances are reserved for pregnant women, while other patients can dial 108 for an ambulance. No documents were required from the patient to avail the services earlier. Now the state government has instructed us that whenever anyone calls for an ambulance, his Aadhaar card must be produced.”

Singh added, “The government has not declared the exact date to make Aadhaar card compulsory. For the time being, if a patient’s condition is serious and he has no Aadhaar card, he can be carried to hospital. But soon the card is set to be compulsory for all patients.”

However, in the rural parts of the state, Aadhaar cards have still not been made by everyone. With the poor healthcare infrastructure already an issue, residents said the new rule would make the situation even more difficult for patients to reach hospital on time.

Punam Chaudhary, a resident of Puranpur village, said, “It is a good move to curb corruption in the ambulance service. But if someone does not have an Aadhaar card, what will he do? In villages like ours, ambulances don’t even arrive on time and we have to manage on our own.”

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/meerut/up-govt-makes-it-compulsory-for-patients-kin-to-have-aadhaar-card-to-get-ambulance/articleshow/59224120.cms?from=mdr

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Saw Govt letter on linking land records since 1950 with Aadhaar? It’s fake

A police complaint has been lodged; the letter had been widely circulated on social media.

The government on Monday termed as “fake” a letter attributed to the Cabinet Secretariat wherein linking of land records since 1950 with Aadhaar had been made compulsory.

“The letter attributed to the Cabinet Secretariat on digitalisation of land records and subsequent linking of the same to Aadhaar, being widely circulated on social media, is completely fake and mischievous,” an official statement said here.

“It is clarified that the government has issued no such letter. A police complaint has been filed and the matter is being investigated,” the statement said.

The said letter had, among other things, mentioned: “The undersigned is directed to inform the chief secretaries, additional chief secretaries of the states, Union Territories (including the National Capita Region of Delhi) to complete the digitalisation of land records, mutation records, sale and purchase records from year 1950 — of any immovable property (see section 2 of the income-tax Act 1961 and subsequently amended) including land (agriultural and non-agricultural), houses (independent or society), etc, by 14th August 2017.”

Source: business standard

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आपातकाल और ‘आधार’ पहचान संख्या का रिश्ता #Aadhaar

वर्तमान सरकार पिछली सरकार की तरह 1975 में तय संरचना में ही काम कर रही है. सारी सूचनाएं सरकार के कुछ विश्वासी लोगों और कुछ खास निजी कंपनियों के हाथों में होगी, जिनके साथ पहले ही समझौता हो चुका है।…

आपातकाल और ‘आधार’ पहचान संख्या का रिश्ता

आपातकाल और आधारपहचान संख्या का रिश्ता

डॉ. गोपाल कृष्ण

अनूठा पहचान/आधार संख्या मामले कि सुनवाई के दौरान 2-3 मई, 2017 को जब अटॉर्नी जनरल और भारत सरकार के वकीलों ने सुप्रीम कोर्ट को यह बताया कि उनके द्वारा उठाया जा रहा कदम 1975 से जारी है तो यकायक कांग्रेस सरकार के मार्च 1975 के देश को एक संचार तंत्र में गुंथने के स्वप्न का खयाल आ गया। उस वक्त अधिकतर लोगों को यह कदम देश हित में ही लगा होगा क्योंकि वे इसके दूरगामी परिणाम से अनभिज्ञ थे. इसके लिए संयुक्त राष्ट्र की एक संस्था कि मदद से नेशनल इनफ़ॉरमेटिक्स सेंटर का गठन 1975-1977 दौरान हुआ। यह सेंटर सूचना एवं संचार तंत्र का एक मुख्य केंद्र बन गया।

गौर तलब है कि आधार मामले में राज्य सभा में जब इस साल 10 अप्रैल को बहस चल रही थी तो कांग्रेस के वरिष्ठ सांसद, भारतीय विशिष्ट पहचान प्राधिकरण पर बने कैबिनेट कमिटी के सदस्य व पूर्व केंद्रीय ग्रामीण विकास मंत्री जयराम रमेश ने कहा कि “What sterilisation was to the Emergency, Aadhaar seeding is becoming to your Government” (जो रिश्ता नशबंदी और आपातकाल में था वही रिश्ता आधार और आपकी सरकार में है). स्पष्ट है कि उनके दिमाग में आपातकाल की याद अभी भी ताज़ा है. वे आधार परियोजना के एकमात्र ऐसे जन्मदाता है जिन्होंने खुद सार्वजनिक तौर पर यह घोषणा कर रखी है कि वे अपना आधार नहीं बनवायेंगे. वैसे तो उनमे और पूर्व केंद्रीय कानून व वाणिज्य मंत्री व वरिष्ठ सांसद सुब्रमण्यम स्वामी में शायद ही किसी बात पर सहमती हो मगर आधार मामले में वे दोनों एक ही राय रखते दीखते है. 22 अप्रैल को NewsX चैनल पर स्वामी ने स्पष्ट कहा कि वे तो आधार नहीं बनवायेंगे. ऐसा लगता है कि आपातकाल में खिलाफ लड़नेवाले योद्धा स्वामी को उस दौर की नसीहत अभी भी याद है.

नेशनल इनफ़ॉरमेटिक्स सेंटर का गठन आपातकाल के गर्भ में हुआ. उस दौरान इंदिरा गाँधी ने एक सेंटर का गठन नागरिकों को एक संचार तंत्र में बाँधने के लिए किया थाy. इस सबंध में इलेक्ट्रोनिक्स आयोग ने संयुक्त राष्ट्र की संस्था UNDP को सहयोग के लिए एक प्रस्ताव दिया था जिसमे दिल्ली में राष्ट्रीय सूचना संग्रह (डेटाबेस) के निर्माण और सरकार और विश्व बैंक समूह के व्यापक आर्थिक कार्यक्रमों के लिए एक राष्ट्रीय कंप्यूटर केंद्र की जरुरत है. नेशनल इनफ़ॉरमेटिक्स सेंटर के निर्माण के लिए UNDP धन मुहैया कराने को तैयार हो गयी.  इस केंद्र का मैंडेट था कि वह मूल आकड़ों के संग्रहीकरण और विस्तारण की केंद्र-बिन्दु बने. इस दूरगामी मकसद को योजना आयोग, वित्त मंत्रालय और इलेक्ट्रॉनिक्स आयोग ने अनुमति दे दिया. असल में इन तीनों संस्थानों की मुखिया खुद इंदिरा गाँधी ही थी. उसी दौरान (1976-1977) इस केंद्र के लिए एक सलाहकार समिति भी बनायी गयी.

बाद में इलेक्ट्रॉनिक आयोग इलेक्ट्रोनिक्स और सूचना प्रोद्योगिकी मंत्रालय बना जिसका जिम्मा कानून मंत्री रवि शंकर प्रसाद के पास है. दिलचस्प बात ये है कि इंदिरा गाँधी के तानाशाही के खिलाफ जयप्रकाश आन्दोलन के संचालन ले लिए जो 11 सदस्यों वाली समिति बनाई गयी थी उसमे रवि शंकर प्रसाद भी एक सदस्य थे मगर अब उन्हें आपातकाल का सबक याद नहीं. इस समिति के अन्य सदस्यों में लालू प्रसाद यादव, राम बहादुर राय आदि शामिल थे.

आपातकाल में इंदिरा गाँधी द्वारा गठित उसी नेशनल इनफ़ॉरमेटिक्स सेंटर के गर्भ से उंगलियों और आँखों की पुतलियों के जरिये आधार संख्या परियोजना को लागू करने वाली भारतीय विशिष्ट प्राधिकरण का जन्म हुआ. नेशनल इनफ़ॉरमेटिक्स सेंटर कि तरह ही UNDP, विश्व बैंक, योजना आयोग (नीति आयोग), वित्त मंत्रालय और इलेक्ट्रॉनिक्स आयोग (इलेक्ट्रोनिक्स और सूचना प्रोद्योगिकी मंत्रालय) आधार संख्या परियोजना के किर्यान्वयन में शामिल है. इसके द्वरा सभी देशवासियों समेत 53 केंद्रीय विभागों, राज्य सरकारों के 35 सचिवालयों, 640 जिला मुख्यालयों, 2 लाख 50  हज़ार पंचायतों, हरेक संस्था, जमीन, मशीन, दस्तावेज, भोजन, पानी, प्राकृतिक संशाधन, स्थान, पेड़-पौधे, जानवर, मुकदमे आदि को चिन्हित कर उसपर एक विशिष्ट पहचान संख्या गोदना है. इसके लिए आवश्यक तकनीक के निर्माण और प्रयोग के लिए नेशनल इनफ़ॉरमेटिक्स सेंटर और कुछ विदेशी कंपनियों के साथ ठेका-समझौता हो चुका है. इस परियोजना के प्रमुख सलाहकारों में से एक सैम पित्रोदा ने भविष्यवाणी किया है कि इलेक्ट्रॉनिक संपर्क के कारण साइबर दुनिया में राष्ट्र-राज्यों का अर्थ आने वाले दिनों में वही नहीं रहेगा जो 70 साल पहले हुआ करता था. 2013 में उन्होंने कहा था कि इस पर करीब एक लाख करोड़ का खर्चा आएगा.

भयावह बात ये है कि बायोमेट्रिक आधार परियोजना को लागु करने के लिए साफ्रान नाम की जिस फ्रांस की कंपनी को ठेका दिया गया है उस कंपनी का चीन के साथ 40 साल का कोई समझौता है. इस कंपनी में फ्रांस सरकार का 40 % निवेश भी है. एल 1 कंपनी नामक अमेरिकी को अमेरकी सरकार से राष्ट्रीय सुरक्षा मंजूरी मिलने बाद फ्रांस कि इस कंपनी ने खरीद लिया. इस अमेरकी कंपनी को भी आधार परियोजना को लागु करने के लिए ठेका दिया गया है. बायोमेट्रिक तकनीक के लये विदेशी कंपनियों को शामिल करने का कोई ठोस वजह नहीं थी क्योंकि भारत सरकार की अपनी सूचना प्रोद्योगिकी विभाग के पास ये तकनीक मौजूद था. चीन के साथ 1962 के युद्ध में हार से सबक लेकर प्रधानमंत्री के तहत इलेक्ट्रॉनिक्स विभाग का गठन 26 जून, 1970 को किया था.

सरकार सूचना का ऐसा खजाना तैयार करने में जुटा है, जिसमें विभिन्न दफ्तरों के साथ-साथ आम लोगों से जुड़ी शहरी-देहाती व जंगली जन-जीवन की एक-एक चीजों की पूरी जानकारी उपलब्ध रहेगी। इस प्रकार सभी सरकारी योजनाओं, जेलों, राशन व्यवस्था, खजानों, जमीन के रिकार्डों आदि को भी इस सूत्र में बांधने की कवायद है। सरकार के अनुसार, ‘‘यदि आप व्यक्तियों, जगहों एवं प्रोग्रामों को चिन्हित कर सूचीबद्ध) कर लेते हैं तो सूचनाओं को सुविधापूर्वक संगठित कर जन-सुविधाओं को उपलब्ध कराने में सहूलियत होगी।’’

वर्तमान सरकार पिछली सरकार की तरह 1975 में तय संरचना में ही काम कर रही है. सारी सूचनाएं सरकार के कुछ विश्वासी लोगों और कुछ खास निजी कंपनियों के हाथों में होगी, जिनके साथ पहले ही समझौता हो चुका है।

इस परियोजना का श्रेय लेने में आज नंदन नीलेकणी सबसे आगे दिख रहे है मगर तथ्य ये है कि भारत की दूसरे नंबर की सबसे बड़ी साफ्टवेयर कंपनी इन्फोसिस टेक्नोलाजीज इंडिया लिमिटेड के सह-संस्थापक और सीईओ निलेकणी जिन्हें भारतीय विशिष्ट पहचान प्राधिकरण का चेयरमैन जुलाई 2009 में नियुक्त किया गया। दस्तवेजों से यह प्रमाणित होता है कि निलेकणी के पदभार ग्रहण से कम-से-कम दो साल पहले ही विशिष्ट पहचान परियोजना लागु हो चुकी थी. यह परियोजना सूचना प्रोद्योगिकी विभाग, भारत सरकार के अंतर्गत चल रही थी. आइडेंटिटी मैनेजमेंट (पहचान प्रबंधन) सम्बन्धी एक टास्क फ़ोर्स के 2007 की रिपोर्ट और विप्रो के 2006-7 रिपोर्ट से भी यह खुलासा होता है. 2006 के आसपास आई-टी क्षेत्र की विप्रो कंपनी ने योजना आयोग को एक रिपोर्ट सौंपी थी, जिसका शीर्षक था ‘भारतीय विशिष्ट पहचान की रणनीतिक दृष्टि’ (दी स्ट्रेटजिक विजन ऑन दी यूआईडीएआई). इस रिपोर्ट को गुप्त रखा गया था मगर काफी बाद में सुप्रीम कोर्ट में इस 14 पृष्ठ के दस्तावेज को पेश किया गया। विप्रो का दस्तावेज यह भी उजागर करता है कि मतदाता सूची और विशिष्ट पहचान/आधार संख्या की सूची दोनों एक दूसरे के पार्टनर डेटाबेस है. सच्चाई ये है कि निलेकणी को केवल इसके मार्केटिंग, प्रचार और प्रसार के लिए ब्रांड एम्बेसडर के तौर पर लाया गया था. उन्होंने शुरूआती दिनों में स्वीकार भी किया था कि इस परियिजना के सफलता और असफलता सिर्फ मार्केटिंग पर निर्भर है. असल में यह कार्यक्रम तो मूल रूप में 1975 से ही चल रहा है.

विकीलिक्स ने यूआईडीएआई का एक 41 पृष्ठों वाला दस्तावेज उजागर किया। इस दस्तावेज में जानबूझ कर गलत-बयानी की गई है कि सबसे पहले भारत सरकार ने देशवासियों को स्पष्ट पहचान देने का प्रयास 1993 में किया था जो चुनाव आयोग द्वारा जारी फ़ोटो पहचान पत्र के रूप में 2003 में सामने आया, जिसके जरिए भारत सरकार ने बहु-उद्देशीय राष्ट्रीय पहचान पत्र को स्वीकृति दे दी। यह तथ्य पूर्णतः गलत है। क्योंकि 2003 में जो पह्चान पत्र चुनाव आयोग द्वारा जारी किया गया वह नागरिकों के लिए है न कि देशवासियों के लिए। यहां नागरिक एवं देशवासी के बीच अंतर को समझना अत्यंत जरूरी है। ऐसा इसलिए है, क्योंकि इसी विकीलिक्स द्वारा जारी दस्तावेज में लिखा है, ‘‘सभी देशवासियों को अनूठा पहचान पत्र जारी किया जा सकता है। यह अनूठा पहचान पत्र  ‘पहचान’ का सबूत तो है, मगर यह नागरिकता का द्योतक नहीं है।’’ यह दस्तावेज 13 नवंबर, 2009 का है।

गौर तलब है कि वित्त मंत्री प्रणव मुखर्जी ने 2009 के अपने बजट भाषण से शुरू की। उस भाषण के 64वें पारा में उन्होंने कहा, ‘‘भारतीय विशिष्ट पहचान प्राधिकरण इंटरनेट पर एक ऐसा डाटाबेस बनाएगी जो देशवासियों को जैव-सांख्यिकीय (बायो-मेट्रिक्स) जानकारी के आधार पर उनकी पहचान करेगा।’’

सरकार ने आज तक परियोजना के कुल अनुमानित खर्चे का खुलासा नहीं किया है. वित्त की संसदीय समिति ने संसद में पेश किये अपने रिपोर्ट में खुलासा किया है कि एक आधार संख्या जारी करने में औसतन 130 रुपये का खर्चा आता है जिसका देश के 130 करोड़ लोगों को भुगतान करना पड़ेगा. फ़रवरी 2009 से फ़रवरी 2017 तक प्राधिकरण ने कुल 8,536.83 करोड़ रुपये आधार परियोजना पर खर्च किये गए है.

घोटालों के उजागर होने के कारण सूचना अधिकार कानून से तिलमिलाई कंपनियों ने सरकार से स्पष्ट मांग रखी कि सियासी दलों को अगर उनसे चन्दा चाहिए तो उनका नाम गुमनाम रखना होगा. इसका खुलासा अरुण जेटली ने अपने बजट भाषण 2017-18 में किया है. वित्त विधेयक 2017 को धन विधेयक के रूप में लोक सभा में लाकर उन्होंने कंपनियों की आज्ञा का अक्षरशः पालन किया है. कंपनिया उनके इस कारनामे से काफी खुश होगी. इस वित्त कानून 2017 ने अप्रत्याशित तौर पर लगभग 40 कानूनों में तक़रीबन 250 संशोधन किया किया है. आधार कानून 2016 में भी संशोधन कर बायोमेट्रिक आधार को अनिवार्य कर दिया गया है. इस तरह वर्तमान और भविष्य के भारतवासीयों को अनंतकाल के लिए पारदर्शी बना दिया गया है और कंपनियों को लगभग सौ साल बाद “लिमिटेड लायबिलिटी” के अधिकार के साथ-साथ गुमनाम रहने का परम निर्णायक अधिकार मिल गया है. कंपनियों को ‘लिमिटेड कंपनी’ इसलिए कहा जाता है क्योंकि कानून ने उन्हें यह सहूलियत प्रदान की है कि वे अपने क्रिया-कलाप से “अनलिमिटेड” (अंतहीन) नुकसान कर सकते है मगर उनके ऊपर अंतहीन भारपाई कि जिम्मेवारी नहीं होगी. बायोमेट्रिक आधार परियोजना ऐसे ही नुकसान का उदाहरण है. जेटली भी आपातकाल के खिलाफ लड़ने वाले सिपाहियों में शामिल थे.

गुमनाम रहने के चरम अधिकार के फलस्वरूप उन्हें गुमनाम रहकर अंतहीन नुकसान पहुंचाने का अधिकार मिल गया है. अब वे सियासी दलों को जितना चाहे उतना चंदा दे सकते है और उसके बदले देश के प्राकृतिक संशाधनों, मानव संशाधनों और लोक संस्थानों को अपने पूंजी के बलबूते आसानी से अपने वश में कर सकते है. सवाल ये है कि यह अनहोनी खुलेआम कैसे हो गयी और लोग खामोश क्यों है? सरकारी व कंपनियों के विचारकों के अनुसार भारत “मंदबुद्धि लोगों का देश” है. शायद इसीलिए वो मानते जानते है कि लोग खामोश ही रहेंगे. ऐसा भारतीय गृह मंत्रालय के तहत नेशनल इंटेलिजेंस ग्रिड (नैटग्रिड) विभाग के मुखिया रहे कैप्टन रघुरमन का मानना है.

कैप्टन रघुरमन पहले महिंद्रा स्पेशल सर्विसेस ग्रुप के मुखिया थे और बॉम्बे चैम्बर्स ऑफ़ इंडस्ट्रीज एंड कॉमर्स की सेफ्टी एंड सेक्यूरिटी कमिटि के चेयरमैन थे। इनकी मंशा का पता इनके द्वारा ही लिखित एक दस्तावेज से चलता है, जिसका शीर्षक “ए नेशन ऑफ़ नम्ब पीपल” अर्थात् असंवेदनशील मंदबुद्धि लोगों का देश है। कैप्टन रघुरमन बाद में नेशनल इंटेलिजेंस ग्रिड के मुखिया बने. इस ग्रिड के बारे में 3 लाख कंपनियों की नुमाइंदगी करने वाली एसोसिएट चैम्बर्स एंड कॉमर्स (एसोचेम) और स्विस कंसलटेंसी के एक दस्तावेज में यह खुलासा हुआ है कि विशिष्ट पहचान/आधार संख्या इससे जुड़ा हुआ है।

आजादी से पहले गठित अघोषित और अलोकतांत्रिक राजनीतिक पार्टी “फिक्की” (फेडरेशन ऑफ़ इंडियन कॉमर्स एंड इंडस्ट्री) द्वारा 2009 में तैयार राष्ट्रीय सुरक्षा और आतंकवाद पर टास्कफोर्स (कार्यबल) की 121 पृष्ठ कि रिपोर्ट में गैर सरकारी तत्वों कि साजिशों पर चिंता जतायी गयी है जो “वैश्विक निवेशकों” के भरोसे को डिगाता है. फिक्की की रिपोर्ट सभी जिला मुख्यालयों और पुलिस स्टेशनों को ई-नेटवर्क के माध्यम से नेशनल इंटेलिजेंस ग्रिड (नैटग्रिड) में जोड़ने की वकालत करती है और कहती है “जैसे ही भारतीय विशिष्ट पहचान प्राधिकरण (यूआईडीएआई) तैयार हो जाएगा, उसमें शामिल आंकड़ों को नेशनल ग्रिड का हिस्सा बनाया जा सकता है।’’ ऐसा पहली बार नहीं है कि नैटग्रिड और यूआईडीएआई के रिश्तों पर बात की गई है। कंपनियों के हितों के लिए काम करने वाली संस्था व अघोषित और अलोकतांत्रिक राजनीतिक पार्टी “एसोचैम” और स्विस परामर्शदाता फर्म केपीएमजी की एक संयुक्त रिपोर्ट ‘होमलैंड सिक्योरिटी इन इंडिया 2010’ में भी यह बात सामने आई है। इसके अलावा जून 2011 में एसोचैम और डेकन क्रॉनिकल समूह के प्रवर्तकों की पहल एवियोटेक की एक संयुक्त रिपोर्ट ‘होमलैंड सिक्योरिटी एसेसमेंट इन इंडिया: एक्सपैंशन एंड ग्रोथ’ में कहा गया है कि ‘राष्ट्रीय जनगणना के तहत आने वाले कार्यक्रमों के लिए बायोमीट्रिक्स की जरूरत अहम हो जाएगी।’

वैसे तो दस्तावेजों के मुताबिक अमेरिका में बायोमेट्रिक यूआईडी/अनूठा पहचान के बारे में क्रियान्वयन की चर्चा 1995 में अमेरिका के फ़ेडरल ब्यूरो आफ इन्वेस्टीगेशन के एक ट्रेनिंग केंद्र पर हो चुकी थी मगर हाल के समय में धरातल पर इसे अमेरिकी रक्षा विभाग में यूआईडी और रेडियो फ्रीक्वेंसी आइडेंटिफिकेशन (आरएफआईडी) की प्रक्रिया माइकल वीन के रहते उतारा गया. वीन 2003 से 2005 के बीच एक्विजिशन, टेक्नोलॉजी एंड लॉजिस्टिक्स (एटी ऐंड एल) में अंडर सेक्रेटरी डिफेंस हुआ करते थे। एटी ऐंड एल ने ही यूआईडी और आरएफआईडी कारोबार को जन्म दिया। अंतरराष्ट्रीय फौजी गठबंधन “नाटो” के भीतर दो ऐसे दस्तावेज हैं जो चीजों की पहचान से जुड़े हैं। पहला मानकीकरण संधि है जिसे 2010 में स्वीकार किया गया था। दूसरा एक दिशा निर्देशिका है जो नाटो के सदस्यों के लिए है जो यूआईडी के कारोबार में प्रवेश करना चाहते हैं। ऐसा लगता है कि पाकिस्तान कि तरह भारत का भी नाटो से कोई रिश्ता बन गया है. यहां हो रही घटनाएं इसी बात का आभास दे रही हैं।

ध्यान देने वाली बात ये है कि चुनाव आयोग के वेबसाइट पर मौजूद सूचना के मुताबिक हर ईवीएम में यूआईडी होता है

हैरतंगेज बात यह है कि राज्यों में जहां विरोधी दलों की सरकार है वह भी यूआईडी/आधार परियोजना का बड़ी तत्परता से लागू कर रहे हैं. मगर संसद में उसके खिलाफ तर्क दे रहे हैं. यह ऐसा ही है जैसे अमेरिकी डेमोक्रेटिक पार्टी के राष्ट्रपति जब पहली बार शपथ ले रहे थे तो उन्हें यह पता ही नहीं चला कि जिस कालीन पर खड़े थे वह उनके परम विरोधी पूंजीपति डेविड कोच की कम्पनी इन्विस्ता द्वारा बनायीं गई थी.[1] डेविड कोच ने ही अपने संगठनो के जरिये पहले उन्हें गैर चुनावी शिकस्त दी और फिर बाद में चुनावी शिकस्त भी दी. भारत में भी विरोधी दल जिस बायोमेट्रिक यूआईडी/आधार और यूआईडी युक्त ईवीएम की कालीन पर खड़े है वह भी कभी भी उनके पैरो के नीचे से खिंची जा सकती है.

लोकतंत्र में विरोधी दल को अगर आधारहीन कर दिया जाता है तो इसका दुष्परिणाम जनता को भोगना पड़ता है क्योंकि ऐसी स्थिति में उनके लोकतान्त्रिक अधिकार छिन जाते हैं. आधार मामले में विरोधी दलों का जो विरोधाभासी रुख है वह उनके विश्वसनीयता पर सवालिया निशान उठाता दिख रहा है.

इसी कड़ी में जनगणना के 15वें चरण में एक दूरगामी परिणाम वाली योजना राष्ट्रीय जनसंख्या रजिस्टर को भी जोड़ दिया गया जो अनूठा पहचान संख्या से संरचनात्मक तौर से संबंधित है। इन योजनाओं का रिश्ता कुछ अन्य प्रस्तावों एवं प्रस्तावित विधेयकों से भी है।

इस तरह निशानदेही करने के पुराने सिलसिले को संसद और नागरिकों को अंधकार में रखकर आगे बढ़ाया जा रहा है। इस संबंध में कांग्रेस नेतृत्व वाली गठबंधन सरकार कि तरह ही भाजपा नेतृत्व वाली सरकार भी अदालत और संसद की अवमानना तक कर रही है। हैरत कि बात है कि गैर कांग्रेस और गैर भाजपा सियासी दल कथनी में तो उनका विरोध करते है मगर करनी में उन्ही के नीतियों पर चल रहे है.

हैरत की बात यह भी है कि एक तरफ गाँधी जी के चंपारण सत्याग्रह के सौ साल होने पर सरकारी कार्यक्रम हो रहे हैं वही वे गाँधी जी के द्वारा एशिया के लोगो का बायोमेट्रिक निशानदेही आधारित पंजीकरण के खिलाफ उनके पहले सत्याग्रह और आजादी के आन्दोलन के सबक को भूल गए. उन्होंने उंगलियों के निशानदेही द्वारा पंजीकरण कानून को काला कानून कहा था और सबंधित दस्तावेज को सार्वजनिक तौर पर जला दिया था. चीनी निवासी भी उस विरोध में शामिल थे. ऐसा लगता है जैसे चीन को यह सियासी सबक याद रहा मगर भारत भूल गया. चीन ने बायोमेट्रिक निशानदेही आधारित पहचान परियोजना को रद्द कर दिया है.

साइबर और बायोमेट्रिक पहलों से मौलिक और संवैधानिक अधिकारों का अतिक्रमण हो रहा है. प्रौद्योगिकी आधारित सत्ता प्रणाली की छाया लोकतंत्र के मायने ही बदल रहा है जहां प्रौद्योगिकी और प्रौद्योगिकी कंपनियां नियामक नियंत्रण से बाहर है क्योंकि वे सरकारों, विधायिकाओं और विरोधी दलों से हर मायने में कहीं ज्यादा विशाल और विराट हैं।

ऐसा लगता है कि कांग्रेस ने यह स्वीकार कर लिया है कि आधार आपातकाल में लागु की गयी संरचना का ही हिस्सा है.

जयराम रमेश ने राज्य सभा में नशबंदी और आधार की तुलना के बाद कहा कि “यह बात सही है कि बच्चा हमने पैदा किया, लेकिन बच्चे को भस्मासुर आप बना रहे हैं।“ दस्तावेज बताते हैं कि असल में इसकी पैदाइश भस्मासुर के रूप में ही हुई थी.

सरकार ने कंपनियों को गुमनाम रहने का अधिकार दे दिया गया है. कंपनियों के दबाब में सरकार, जो कि जनता की नौकर है वह खुद को अपारदर्शी और जनता जो उसकी मालिक है उसे पारदर्शी बना रही है. और उसके बाद यह अलोकतांत्रिक दावा किया जा रहा कि सरकार का देशवासियों के शरीर पर अधिकार है. इस दावे के दूरगामी परिणाम होंगे.इंदिरा गाँधी और उनके एक वंशज को भी ऐसा ही लगा था. वे केवल पुरुषों के शरीर पर हाथ रख रहे थे. इसका खामियाज़ा उन्हें भुगतना पड़ा. आधार में मामले में तो स्त्री और पुरुष दोनों के शरीर के संवेदनशील हिस्सों पर हाथ डाला जा रहा है. इतिहास अपने को दोहरा रहा है. ताज्जुब की बात ये है कि विस्मृति का स्वांग कर आपातकाल की संरचना और दर्शन के खिलाफ आन्दोलन करने वाले आज तानाशाही की संरचना को लागु करते दिख रहे है.
( डॉ गोपाल कृष्ण, लोकनीति विश्लेषक व सिटीजन्स फोरम फॉर सिविल लिबर्टीज के सदस्य है जो आधार विधेयक, 2010 के सम्बन्ध में वित्त की संसदीय समिति के समक्ष विशेषज्ञ के तौर पर पेश हुए)

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India – No #Aadhaar, no banking and threat to privacy: Do you have a choice?

The government has made Aadhaar mandatory for access to banking and filing I-T returns. But there are serious concerns about possible breach of privacy with private entities having access to Aadhaar data.

A woman at an Aadhaar enrollment centre

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 1
    Aadhaar-less bank accounts will be frozen after December.
  • 2
    Aadhaar is mandatory for filing I-T returns.
  • 3
    Aadhaar data is accessible to private companies.

On June 1, the revenue department of the finance ministry issued a notification making linking of Aadhaar with bank accounts mandatory.

The notification amended the Prevention of Money-laundering (Maintenance of Records) Rules, 2005 to make quoting of Aadhaar mandatory along with PAN or Form 60 by individuals, companies and partnership firms for all financial transactions of Rs 50,000 or above.

This has intensified the privacy debate in the country. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee termed it anti-poor and said, “Aadhaar has serious issues about privacy.” The Supreme Court is already seized with the question of privacy versus Aadhaar.

IS AADHAAR MANDATORY?

The Supreme Court has more than once told the government not to make Aadhaar mandatory for citizens.

In 2015, on two occasions, the Supreme Court ruled that “it is not mandatory for a citizen to obtain an Aadhaar card” asking the government to advertise this prominently.

The production of an Aadhaar card will not be condition for obtaining any benefits otherwise due to a citizen, the Supreme Court had said. However, the apex court has allowed the government to link various schemes including MNREGS, LPG, PDS, EPFO, Old Age Pension etc with Aadhaar.

But, the Supreme Court ruling in 2015 clearly read, “… 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.”

The apex court has set up a constitutional bench to hear Aadhaar case. The Aadhaar Act 2016 also does not make Aadhaar mandatory for citizens.

HOW GOVERNMENT MADE IT MANDATORY

While the case is pending in the Supreme Court, the government has moved fast with Aadhaar enrollment drive.

This was backed by the Budget 2017 (passed by Parliament), which mandated seeding of Aadhaar number with Permanent Account Number (PAN).

Then came the amended Finance Act 2017. It made enrollment in Aadhaar compulsory for obtaining a PAN and filing Income Tax returns.

The government has court’s permission to link its welfare schemes – which are voluntary in nature – with Aadhaar, which, the apex court said, could only be voluntary. This means that if a citizen does not want to avail benefits of those schemes like Old Age Pension, Widow Pension etc, s/he can stay away from Aadhaar.

The Finance Act effectively meant that an earning member of Indian society is a potential criminal if s/he does not have an Aadhaar as the citizen would not be able to file I-T returns, which s/he is legally bound to do.

ARE AADHAAR DATA IN SAFE HANDS?

Recently a report by the Centre for Internet Society said that more than 13 crore Aadhaar data were leaked, stolen or compromised.

Leakage of Aadhaar data of cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni‘s family members made headlines. Similar leakage of lesser mortals must have gone unnoticed.

Section 29 of the Aadhaar Act prohibits sharing, publishing, displaying or posting publicly the core biometric information collected under the project except in “the interest of national security”. However, the Act does not state what constitutes national security.

Further, Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act, 2016 allows private companies to use the Aadhaar data to establish “identity of an individual for any purpose”.

There are several reports confirming that the Aadhaar data of Indian citizens are with companies like Accenture, Ernst and Young, L-1 Identity Solutions – the American biometric technology provider and of course, Microsoft whose Skype Lite recently ruffled many privacy right activists in the country.

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and the government allow access to Aadhaar data of people by these companies through Authentication User Agencies, which are both governmental and non-governmental entities.

WHAT DO PEOPLE WANT?

According to an online survey conducted by noted citizen engagement platform LocalCircles, about 86 per cent of the respondents were in favour of a privacy law in India. Over 9,600 people participated in the survey.

Nearly 60 per cent of the respondents identified 18 attributes including biometrics and financial transactions to be brought under the purview of the privacy law. These attributes are:

Biometrics: Iris/retina scan, finger print scan, DNA

Personal: Aahaar details, passport details, date of birth, voter ID card details, mobile phone details, residential address information, family details, medical records

Financial: PAN card information, Bank account details, credit ratings, salary/compensation, performance at work, debit/credit card details, income tax details

RIGHT TO PRIVACY IN INDIA

There is no specific law passed by Parliament for protection against breach of privacy of individuals in India. A bill, Privacy Bill, 2011 was drafted by the UPA-II government but it is hanging fire since then.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is said to have asked his ministerial colleagues to speed up the process regarding the Privacy Bill, on which last discussion is said to have taken place in March, 2015. The Bill is apparently on hold due to objections from intelligence agencies.

Only the Information Technology Act, 2000 has some express provision guarding individuals against breach of privacy by corporate entities. Section 43A was inserted into the IT Act in 2008 which makes the companies compromising sensitive personal data liable to pay compensation.

The government made eight rules on the basis of Section 43A of the IT Act. Beyond this, the right to privacy is dealt with under Article 21 of the Constitution which guarantees right to life and personal liberty.

COURTS ON RIGHT TO PRIVACY

In August 2015, while hearing the Aadhaar case, the Supreme Court referred the question of the constitutional validity of the right to privacy as fundamental right to a larger bench, which has now been constituted.

But, this was not the first time when the apex court dealt with the right to privacy question. In 1954, an eight-judge bench in MP Sharma vs Satish Chandra case and in 1962 a six-judge bench of the Supreme Court in Kharak Singh vs State of Uttar Pradesh case had equated the right to privacy with right to personal liberty but rejected it as fundamental or constitutional right.

The Delhi High Court had decriminalised homosexuality ruling a reading down of a provision in the IPC Section 377 that makes the act a crime. However, the Supreme Court later rejected the right to privacy theory in the matter upholding Section 377 of IPC.

The Supreme Court will be revisiting its old rulings and renewed legal debates when it reopens after the summer vacation and the Aadhaar case is brought up for hearing.

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/aadhaar-bank-accounts-income-tax-pan-card-privacy/1/980954.html

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Bengaluru #Aadhaar racket busted: Five arrested for issuing ID with fake documents

According to the police, the centre has been functioning for the past three years.
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Five persons who have been issuing Aadhar cards to applicants with fake documents in Bengaluru have landed in police custody. According to the police, they have been running the centre for the past three years and the police suspect that they must have issued at least a 100 Aadhar cards using fake documents.

The arrested include Mohan Kumar, owner of an Aadhaar card enrollment centre, his associates Devaraj, Pradeep Kumar, Megha Dutta and Srinivas Rathode, reports The Times of India.

The Yelahanka Town Police arrested the accused after filing an FIR based on a complaint filed by officers of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). The accused were found to be charging between Rs 1000 and Rs 5000 for facilitating the issuance of the cards. Based on the complaint, the accused have been booked under various IPC Sections and sections of Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits, and Services) Act 2016.

The police nabbed the five accused by catching them red-handed offering to issue Aadhar card using fake documents. The police told TOI that their personnel in plainclothes visited the centre, posing as applicants. At the centre, the policemen were assured that they would get an Aadhar card despite not having original documents, for an amount of Rs. 5000.

ET Tech reports that Ashok Lenin, deputy director, UIDAI regional office, Bengaluru, has submitted a report in the case to the Deputy Director General Pronab Mohanty.

Earlier in May, after 3 Pakistan nationals living illegally in Bengaluru were traced, the police had found that they possessed identity cards including Aadhar. Subsequently, a doctor from Jayanagar government hospital was arrested for helping the three get an Aadhar card.

More recently, the Delhi police busted a fake Aadhar card racket, who made fake Aadhar cards without proper documents for Rs 200.

http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/bengaluru-aadhar-racket-busted-five-arrested-issuing-id-fake-documents-63744

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What does the #Aadhaar and PAN Judgment say ?

By Gautam Bhatia

Image result for aadhaar pan

In a judgment delivered, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutional validity of S. 139AA of the Income Tax Act, which makes quoting one’s Aadhaar number mandatory while filing income tax returns. The Court also stayed S. 139AA(2), which provided for the cancellation of PAN cards for failure to comply. In view of the multiple Aadhaar cases pending before the Supreme Court, it is important to clarify what precisely the Court decided, what it didn’t decide, and what it left open (a summary of the arguments can be read here (Part I), here (Part II), and here (Part III)).

What the Court didn’t decide

Recall that on August 11, 2015, a three judge bench of the Supreme Court had referred the constitutional challenge to Aadhaar (then an executive scheme) to a larger bench, on the basis that the constitutional status of the right to privacy was uncertain, and needed to be authoritatively decided. That larger bench has not yet been constituted. Consequently, at the beginning of the Aadhaar/PAN arguments, the Court wanted to “tag” this case to the pending challenge before the (still-to-be-constituted) larger bench. The Petitioners then informed the Court that they would make their arguments without relying on the right to privacy. The Court agreed to this.

During the course of arguments, Mr Shyam Divan advanced arguments based on the right to bodily integrity, dignity, and informational self-determination, under Article 21 of the Constitution. In its judgment, however, the Court held that all these arguments were facets of the right to privacy, and could not be decided here. Consequently – and the Court was very clear about this – no argument under Article 21 would be decided by it, whether it was framed as an argument from dignity, or from informational self-determination. This means that the constitutional validity of Aadhaar on the ground of Article 21 has not been decided one way or another by the Court (the Court has not even expressed an opinion), and all arguments on that count remain open.

That said, it needs to be pointed out that the Court’s lumping of all Article 21 arguments into an omnibus “right to privacy” is far from satisfactory. For example, in paragraph 71 of its judgment, the Court cites an American Supreme Court judgment (invoked by the Respondents) to hold that the right to informational self-determination is an aspect of the right to privacy, and so need not be considered by it. The Court does not cite – or engage with – the material placed on record by the Petitioners which specifically demonstrated that the right to informational self-determination was different from the right to privacy, in terms of its origins (in German constitutionalism) and development. As I shall show subsequently, this is a problem that afflicts much of the Court’s opinion.

What the Court did Decide: Process

Two arguments were made before the Court on the nature of the law itself. The first was that the law could not have been passed in the teeth of Supreme Court orders specifying that Aadhaar could not be made mandatory, without taking away the basis of those orders (which S. 139AA didn’t do – see Part I for details). To this, the Court said that those earlier orders had been passed when Aadhaar was still only an executive scheme, and it was open to the legislature to pass a law making Aadhaar compulsory. The Court’s decision here would imply that in future challenges to other laws making Aadhaar mandatory, its prior orders would not be an impediment; however, insofar as Aadhaar is sought to be made mandatory for something through an executive order without a law, those earlier orders would continue to hold the field (paragraph 94).

It was also argued that the process of enrolling and obtaining an Aadhaar number, as set out under the Aadhaar Act, was a voluntary process. S. 139AA of the Income Tax Act, however, made quoting an Aadhaar number for filing IT returns mandatory, and thus indirectly forced taxpayers to enrol for an Aadhaar number, even though the Aadhaar Act explicitly stated that Aadhaar was an entitlement, and not an obligation. To this, the Court stated that the Income Tax Act and the Aadhaar Act operated in different fields, and that the Aadhaar Act was not the “mother Act.” (paragraph 92) I do not propose to deal with this reasoning in detail, since the argument has been set out at some length in Part I (link above), and readers can make up their own minds whether the Court’s answer was satisfactory.

What the Court did Decide: Article 14

It was argued by the Petitioners that S. 139AA contravened Article 14 in two ways: first, by drawing a distinction between individuals and non-individuals, and requiring the former to acquire an Aadhaar number. If – as the State claimed – its goal was to eliminate duplicate PANs and black money, then why were individuals only being singled out through the means of compulsory Aadhaar? The Court responded by stating that it was the State’s prerogative to deal with problems such as duplicate PANs and black money in an incremental or piecemeal fashion, and to make a start with targeting individuals.

It was also argued, however, that the introduction of Aadhaar would not actually solve the problem of duplicate PANs, because there was evidence to show the existence of multiple Aadhaar numbers themselves, as well as the well-documented ability to fake both biometric details and iris scans. Consequently, there was no “rational nexus” under Article 14.

It is at this stage that the judgment becomes highly problematic, because the Court appears to simply repeat the assertions of the State, without adverting to or engaging with the objections raised by the Petitioners. For example:

Respondents have argued that Aadhaar will ensure that there is no duplication of identity as bio-metric will not allow that and, therefore, it may check the growth of shell companies as well.” (paragraph 99)

“By making use of the technology, a method is sought to be devised, in the form of Aadhaar, whereby identity of a person is ascertained in a flawless manner without giving any leeway to any individual to resort to dubious practices of showing multiple identities or fictitious identities. That is why it is given the nomenclature ‘unique identity’. (paragraph 118)

“However, for various reasons including corruption, actual benefit does not reach those who are supposed to receive such benefits. One of the main reasons is failure to identify these persons for lack of means by which identity could be established of such genuine needy class. Resultantly, lots of ghosts and duplicate beneficiaries are able to take undue and impermissible benefits. A former Prime Minister of this country has gone to record to say that out of one rupee spent by the Government for welfare of the downtrodden, only 15 paisa thereof actually reaches those persons for whom it is meant. It cannot be doubted that with UID/Aadhaar much of the malaise in this field can be taken care of.” (para 118)

“To the same effect is the recommendation of the Committee headed by Chairman, CBDT on measures to tackle black money in India and abroad which also discusses the problem of money-laundering being done to evade taxes under the garb of shell companies by the persons who hold multiple bogus PAN numbers under different names or variations of their names. That can be possible if one uniform proof of identity, namely, UID is adopted. It may go a long way to check and minimise the said malaise.” (paragraph 118(ii))

“Thirdly, Aadhaar or UID, which has come to be known as most advanced and sophisticated infrastructure, may facilitate law enforcement agencies to take care of problem of terrorism to some extent and may also be helpful in checking the crime and also help investigating agencies in cracking the crimes. No doubt, going by aforesaid, and may be some other similarly valid considerations, it is the intention of the Government to give phillip (sic) to Aadhaar movement and encourage the people of this country to enroll themselves under the Aadhaar scheme.” (paragraph 119)

“As of today, that is the only method available i.e. by seeding of existing PAN with Aadhaar. It is perceived as the best method, and the only robust method of de-duplication of PAN database. It is claimed by the respondents that the instance of duplicate Aadhaar is almost non-existent. It is also claimed that seeding of PAN with Aadhaar may contribute to widening of the tax case as well, by checking the tax evasions and bringing in to tax hold those persons who are liable to pay tax but deliberately avoid doing so.” (para 119)

In each of these paragraphs, the Court effectively echoes the State’s claim, assumes it to be true, and does not engage with the detailed objections raised by the Petitioners (see Parts I and III). All the talking points are here: how biometric identification is the “best method”, how unique identity is actually “unique”, how terrorism will be tackled through Aadhaar, how “ghosts” will be removed, and so on (note that every one of these points were opposed in court). It is telling that, at various points, the Court even uses language such as “it is claimed” and “Respondents have claimed that”, but doesn’t even trouble to subject those claims to any kind of independent scrutiny.

India has an adverserial legal system. An adverserial system presumes the existence of opposing parties, who marshall their respective facts and evidence into legal arguments, and place it before the Court, which acts as a neutral umpire, adjudicating the rival claims. When there are competing claims, especially competing factual claims, the Court decides by applying legal techniques such as burdens and standards of proof, or taking the assistance of amici curiae who are domain experts. What the Court is not supposed to do is to act like a rubber stamp, simply accepting the State’s assertions as true without engaging with the counter-arguments, or subjecting them to independent scrutiny. However, “rubber stamp” is the only way to describe the Court’s recitation of one side’s arguments, and sidelining (to the point of ignoring) the other.

What the Court did not decide: the strange case of the vanishing Article 19(1)(g)

The Court records Mr Datar’s argument that the invalidation of PAN cards affects an individual’s right to do business, and violates Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution. The Court also records – and agrees – with his argument that for an infringement of Article 19(1)(g) to be justified under Article 19(6), the test of proportionality is to be applied. However, after recording this, and after waxing eloquent about the wonders of biometric identification, the Court returns no finding on the issue of proportionality. The discussion on Article 19(1)(g) begins at paragraph 106, and ends at paragraph 124, where the Court notes:

“Therefore, it cannot be denied that there has to be some provision stating the consequences for not complying with the requirements of Section 139AA of the Act, more particularly when these requirements are found as not violative of Articles 14 and 19 (of course, eschewing the discussion on Article 21 herein for the reasons already given). If Aadhar number is not given, the aforesaid exercise may not be possible.”

However, there is absolutely no analysis on whether making Aadhaar compulsory, on pain of cancellation of PAN cards, is proportionate in relation to the stated goal of deduplicaton. This is a crucial omission, because the proportionality test is a detailed and complex four-part test, which requires the State to show that its proposed act infringes upon a right only to the minimal extent necessary to achieve the goal, as well as an overall balancing exercise. It is here that a number of arguments would have become extremely salient, including statistics on the percentage of duplicate PANs (0.4%) which the Court dismisses at an earlier part of the judgment, the existence of multiple Aadhaars (which the Court never engages with), and so on – all of this would have been extremely important in determining whether S. 139AA was a proportionate interference with the right under Article 19(1)(g). (Notably, the only response of the Attorney-General of India to the 19(1)(g) argument was “who cares about Article 19(1)(g) these days?)

The omission is all the more glaring because the proportionality test was introduced by the author of this judgment – Justice Sikri himself – in his judgment in the NEET case. It is truly extraordinary that a judge who introduces a doctrine in one judgment, writing for a Constitution Bench, simply refuses to apply it a few months later when sitting as part of a two-judge bench!

What is even more problematic is the absence of a finding on proportionality. This is reminiscent of the Supreme Court’s judgment in Koushal vs Naz, where the Court’s chosen method of dealing with inconvenient arguments is to set out the submissions, set out the position of law, and then just move on to something else: if you close your eyes and chant “na na na”, long enough, maybe it will go away. A correct application of the four-part proportionality test would have required rigorous scrutiny of the State’s claims on behalf of Aadhaar – but if there is one thing that defines this judgment, it is a complete and utter unwillingness to hold the State to account.

Relief

There is a significant amount of confusion with respect to the relief that the Court does grant – a “partial stay” of S. 139AA(2) (cancellation of PAN) until the main Aadhaar case is decided. The Court states:

“Those who still want to enrol are free to do so. However, those assessees who are not Aadhaar card holders and do not comply with the provision of Section 139(2), their PAN cards be not treated as invalid for the time being. It is only to facilitate other transactions which are mentioned in Rule 114B of the Rules.”

One reading of this passage is that it remains mandatory to provide an Aadhaar number while filing IT returns (after July 1), but if one doesn’t already have an Aadhaar Card, then one’s PAN will not be canceled for failure to comply; however, one’s tax returns shall be invalid, and therefore subject to other penal provisions for not paying tax. On another interpretation, however, S. 139AA(2) provides the punishment for failure to comply with S. 139AA (refusal to provide Aadhaar number for IT returns). The staying of S. 139AA(2) (for those who have no Aadhaar number yet) necessarily implies that there is no penal consequence to follow from violating S. 139AA itself. Over the course of the day, I have heard both views being defended by competent lawyers, implying that at the very least, there is some amount of confusion here.

Conclusion

In its judgment today, the Supreme Court leaves the most crucial issues (Article 21) undecided, and footballs them to the unicorn Constitution Bench that is still to sit after a year and nine months after referral. The Court’s analysis of Article 14 is sketchy, defined by its uncritical reliance upon the State’s claims about Aadhaar (claims that were disputed in Court, and are disputed on a daily basis in the public sphere), and its analysis of Article 19(1)(g) is non-existent.

In a matter where the stakes are this high, this is just not good enough.

—https://indconlawphil.wordpress.com/2017/06/09/the-aadhaarpan-judgment/

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SC- Government cannot force people to link #Aadhaar with PAN card

Supreme Court says Aadhaar not mandatory, but those who have it must link to PAN card for Income Tax returns

The Supreme Court said the government must formulate a scheme to prevent the leakage of personal details. It also said the stay would hold till the Constitutional Bench decides on the privacy matter of Aadhaar.

Aadhar card, Aadhar card mandatory for IT return, IT return, SC on aadhar card mandationThe Supreme Court has issued a partial stay on the Aadhaar – PAN Card – Income Tax matter for those who do not have an Aadhaar card.

The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the government’s decision to link Aadhaar to one’s PAN card but refused to make it compulsory for those who don’t have an Aadhaar card or who have not yet applied for one, till a Constitutional Bench decides on the privacy question pending before it. In effect, those who possess an Aadhaar card have to link it to their PAN card. Those who have enrolled and not yet got their Aadhaar card are also exempted from mandatory linkage and the penalising invalidation of their PANs if they don’t link it. The Supreme Court also said the government must formulate a scheme to prevent the leakage of personal details, a concern many citizens and civil society groups have expressed.

A bench comprising Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan also upheld the legislative competence of Parliament in enacting the law to this effect. It also clarified that it has not touched upon the issue of Right to Privacy and other aspects that the Aadhaar scheme affects the human dignity which has to be decided by the Constitution bench.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said the order was a vindication of Centre’s stand. “Court upheld validity of law, since a larger challenge is pending before the Constitution Bench.”

On privacy, the two-judge bench said the government must put in place measures to ensure there is no leakage of data. “The government (has) to take proper and appropriate steps and the scheme in this regard has to be devised at the earliest to instill confidence among the citizens that the data would not be leaked,” the bench said.

In its earlier arguments, the government had informed the apex court that the PAN will be rendered invalid from July 1 and not from when a person had applied for it if a user does not link his or her Aadhaar card details to it by June 30.

Defending its decision to make Aadhaar card mandatory for filing one’s Income Tax returns, the government had earlier said the move would help to weed out fake and fraudulent financial accounts.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi HAD earlier told the two-judge bench headed by Justice AK Sikri, “Today, anybody can get a PAN card with any name on it. A person can get several PAN cards — say, as Mukesh Gupta, then another as Mukesh Kumar Gupta, and a third as M K Gupta, so on and so fort http://indianexpress.com/article/india/supreme-court-stays-mandatory-linking-of-aadhaar-card-to-pan-card-for-income-tax-returns-4696138/

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