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Resisting violations of the Supreme Court Orders on Aadhaar #UIDContempt

The Supreme Court of India has time and again restricted use of unique identification (UID) number or Aadhaar to public distribution system (PDS) Scheme, the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) distribution scheme, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), National Social Assistance Programme (Old Age Pensions, Widow Pensions, Disability Pensions), Prime Minister’s Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) and Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO).  The Supreme Court has repeatedly emphasised that the UID number where permitted “is purely voluntary and it cannot be made mandatory till the matter is finally decided by the Court one way or the other“. The apex court emphasised that “The information about an individual obtained by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) while issuing an Aadhaar card shall not be used for any other purpose, save as above”.
The Union of India was also required to “give wide publicity in the electronic and print media including radio and television networks that it is not mandatory for a citizen to obtain an Aadhaar card”.
In practice, in blatant contempt of the Courts orders and complete disrespect for the of the Rule of Law various government and non-government agencies have been using the UID number for functions beyond those permitted as also mandating the UID in some of the functions. Information of individuals obtained by the UIDAI has been shared beyond the purposes allowed by the Supreme Court. The government has failed to even issue notifications to its departments or to the UIDAI to cease all use of the UID number beyond that permitted by the Supreme Court.
As a consequence of the government’s coercion and disrespect of respect the Rule of Law, helpless citizens are being made to suffer for not using a UID number. Many with a UID number are being made to suffer if their biometric fails or if their number has already been used by unknown persons.
At least a dozen petitions, including several contempt petitions remain unheard by the Supreme Court.
What can helpless citizens do?
Here is a draft notice of contempt along with copies of the relevant orders of the Supreme Court that should be served to each agency in contempt of the orders of the Supreme Court after editing as required.
Name/Address of concerned authority that is forcing for an Aadhaar number
Dear Sir/Madam,
Subject: Contempt of Rule of Law and the orders of the Supreme Court of India
We are shocked that you have been continuing to require and use the UID number and associated data for purposes beyond that approved by the Supreme Court of India. We are also disturbed that you are mandating the requirement of the UID number. This is an unbelievable disrespect of the rule of law and of the repeated orders of the Supreme Court of India. 
Your actions have also resulted in coercing children, elderly and others alike to have to register for an UID number against their free will. Your actions also constitute an illegal functional creep that cannot be morally or legally justified. Your actions reek of creating a fait accompli before the court finally decides on the matter and hence does not uphold the promise of justice, liberty, equality or fraternity.
We draw your attention to the Hon’ble Supreme Court’s orders of 11 August 2015 restricting the use of Aadhaar to PDS Scheme, for the distribution of foodgrains, and cooking fuel, such as kerosene and LPG. This was extended to allow its use for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), National Social Assistance Programme (Old Age Pensions, Widow Pensions, Disability Pensions) Prime Minister’s Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) and Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) in its orders of 15 October 2015. The Court also stated that the information about an individual obtained by the Unique Identification Authority of India while issuing an Aadhaar card shall not be used for any other purpose. The use of the UID number/ Aadhaar or information associated with it for any purposes other than that allowed by the court as well as it being mandated for any purposes not allowed by the court is a contempt of the rule of law and the orders of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. 
We also draw your attention to the orders of 15 October 2015 where the Court reiterated that the UID number/Aadhaar card Scheme is purely voluntary and it cannot be made mandatory for the permitted uses till the matter is finally decided by this Court one way or the other. 
We require that you immediately cease to require the UID number as your usage does not fall into the allowed uses of the UID/ We require you to end the mandatory requirement for the UID number and make the procedures for those with or without the UID number identical.
We trust you will share your compliance of the orders within 7 days, publish widely your decision to abide by the orders of the Supreme Court and not cause us to seek other remedies and relief for your failure to respect the rule of law. 
Sincerely yours,
CC 
1. Shri Nripendra Mishra, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister, 152, South Block, Raisina Hill, New Delhi-110011
2. Prime Minister of India, 152, South Block, Raisina Hill, New Delhi-110011 Email:narendramodi@narendramodi.in Twitter: @narendramodi @pmoindia
3. President of India, Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi – 110 004 email: [email protected] 
4. Chief Justice of India, ℅ Chief Justice’s Conference Secretariat, Supreme Court of India, Tilak Marg, New Delhi-110 201
Here is a draft notice of contempt you should also send to the UIDAI along with copies of the relevant orders of the Supreme Court for contempt of the orders of the Supreme Court.
Dr AB Pandey
Chief Executive Officer (CEO),
Unique Identification Authority of India -UIDAI
3rd Floor, Tower II, Jeevan Bharati Building,
Connaught Circus,
New Delhi – 110001
Subject: Contempt of Rule of Law and the orders of the Supreme Court of India
We are shocked that you have been continuing to service authentication and KYC requests for UID numbers and provide associated data for purposes beyond that approved by the Supreme Court of India. This is an unbelievable disrespect of the rule of law and of the repeated orders of the Supreme Court of India. 
Your actions are resulting in coercing children, elderly and others alike to have to register for an UID number against their free will. Your actions also constitute an illegal functional creep that cannot be morally or legally justified. Your actions reek of creating a fait accompli before the court finally decides on the matter and hence does not uphold the promise of justice, liberty, equality or fraternity.
We draw your attention to the Hon’ble Supreme Court’s orders of 11 August 2015 restricting the use of Aadhaar to PDS Scheme, the distribution of foodgrains, and cooking fuel, such as kerosene and LPG. This was extended to allow its use for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), National Social Assistance Programme (Old Age Pensions, Widow Pensions, Disability Pensions) Prime Minister’s Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) and Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) in its orders of 15 October 2015. The Court also stated that the information about an individual obtained by the Unique Identification Authority of India while issuing an Aadhaar card shall not be used for any other purpose. The use of the UID number/Aadhaar or information associated with it for any purposes other than that allowed by the court as well as it being mandated for any purposes not allowed by the court is a contempt of the rule of law and the orders of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. 
We require that you:
1. Immediately cease providing any authentication and/or KYC or support and use of the UID number for purposes other than those permitted by the Supreme Court of India. 
2. Cease to provide any UID authentication or KYC to any organisation mandating the use of UID number for the permitted purposes. 
3. Issue notifications and wide publicity in the electronic and print media including radio and television networks, as required by the orders of the Hon’ble Supreme Court dated August 16, 2016, to make it clear that you will not 
A. Provide authentication and KYC services beyond those permitted by the Supreme Court or 
B. Cause or allow any agencies to cause anyone to require registering for an UID number or 
C. Allow anyone to suffer for want of it and that UID number. 
We trust you will share your compliance of the orders within 7 days, publish widely your decision to abide by the orders of the Supreme Court and not cause us to seek other remedies and relief for your failure to respect the rule of law. 
Sincerely yours,
CC: 
1. Shri Nripendra Mishra, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister, 152, South Block, Raisina Hill, New Delhi-110011
2. Chief Justice of India, ℅ Chief Justice’s Conference Secretariat, Supreme Court of India, Tilak Marg, New Delhi-110 201
3. You can tweet it to the CEO of UIDAI  @ceo_uidai
4. You can send emails to UIDAI’s DG dg@uidai.gov.in and  alok.shukla@uidai.gov.in
While there is talk about digitization, it is better if you can send these complaints through registered post. This will help you get an acknowledgement and you can also file an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act to know progress of your complaint.
If required, you can also mark a copy of your complaint to Moneylife mail@moneylife.in.
Please ask others who face the same scene as you to complain. Do please tweet your complaints with #UIDContempt.

(Dr Anupam Saraph  is a Professor, Future Designer, former governance and IT advisor to Goa’s former Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and the Global Agenda Councils of the World Economic Forum. He has designed delivery channels and ID schemes for good governance in his previous roles.)

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Comments (2)

  1. vimalavidya

    It is a timely article ..very useful.
    But one matter again to be clarified.>>>whether it can be insisted in the public distribution system compulsorily ???

  2. K SHESHU BABUo

    This indicates the impunity with which the executive is controlling the judiciary. The SC orders on various issues have not been followed and the court could not take any serious action

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