20th November, 2012


Ms. Manik Karanjawala,

The Tarkunde Memorial Foundation, New Delhi.


Dear Ms. Manik,

We are writing to you about the 6th Tarkunde Memorial Lecture to be addressed by Mr. Nandan Nilekani, Chairman, UIDAI on 23rd November, 2012.

PUCL has consistently opposed the UIDAI project and unequivocally opposed the project on grounds of being an unacceptable intrusion by the State into citizen’s right to privacy, as having questionable motives and constituting a serious threat to human rights, amongst other reasons. We have also opposed UIDAI as being part of a larger corporate-centric and driven project seeking to push technocratic solution to critical issues of governance failures which cannot be rectified by UIDAI. This being our stand, we find ourselves unable to associate ourselves with the choice of Mr. Nandan Nilekani as speaker for the lecture.   (Please see the attached letter issued on this way back in 2010 in which Mr. Kannabiran was also a signatory).

We are informed that Sacharji has already spoken to you about this and that you had agreed not to associate PUCL’s name with the lecture. We thank you for accepting our request and dropping the name of PUCL from the publications, banners or publicity material connected with this lecture which you confirmed to Kavita Srivastava too.

The PUCL and the larger human rights community holds  Justice Tarkunde in high esteem even today, for  his incredible contribution as a civil liberties champion along with his role in founding and shaping an  organisation like the PUCL. There is a lot of outrage that the speaker chosen to deliver the lecture should be associated with an issue which the human rights community finds contradictory to the very ideals that Justice Tarkunde’s  work and persona reflected.

It is for these reasons the demand for calling off the lecture by the larger human rights community should be appreciated and respected.

We are sorry if we have caused you any embarassment.

With regards,

                  Dr. V. Suresh,

                  National General Secretary (Elect), PUCL.