Supreme Court does not give relief to Biometric Data Collector, Government of India for Aadhaar/UID

Supreme Court does not give relief to Biometric Data Collector, Government of India for Aadhaar/UID

How can collection of DNA samples and biometric data collection precede passage of Human DNA Profiling Bill, 2012 and and National Identification Authority of India Bill, 2013

Previous Orders of Supreme Court, Andhra Pradesh High Court and Punjab and Haryana High Court rules against 12 digit biometric aadhaar/unique identification (UID) NUMBER


West Bengal Assembly's resolution against aadhaar/unique identification (UID) number on the horizon, action by other State Legislatures awaited  

November 26, 2013, Kolkata: Supreme Court did not give relief to Biometric Data Collector, Government of India for 12 digit biometric aadhaar/unique identification (UID) NUMBER.

Clearly, States which are making aadhhar in manifest contempt of Supreme Court's order dated 23 September 2013 directed, “In the meanwhile, no person should suffer for not getting the Aadhaar card in spite of the fact that some authority had issued a circular making it mandatory”. On November 26, 2013, the Supreme Court bench of Dr. Justice B.S. Chauhan and Justice S.A. Bobde heard the case against 12 digit Aadhaar/Unique Identification (UID) number for biometric profiling Indians and pronounced that " Interim order to continue, in the meantime." The order said, "List this matter for further hearing  on  10th  December, 2013."

The involvement of biometric and surveillance companies of USA, France and other transnational enterprises who are storing and possessing the sensitive personal data of Indians for 7 years as per contract agreements (whose copies have accessed using RTI) is an assault of the sovereignty of citizens and the country. Those members of the Union Cabinet who are guilty for passing on the data of Indians to foreign biometric and surveillance companies must be censured and held liable and accountable in the upcoming session of the Parliament and State legislatures.

The order reads: "After hearing the matter at length, we are  of  the  view that all the States and Union Territories have to be  impleaded  as respondents to give effective directions.  In view  thereof  notice be issued to all the States and Union Territories through  standing counsel. The advocates who have already  entered  appearance  must file their replies within  a  period  of  three  days  from  today. Learned standing counsel for the States who  were  not  represented may take instructions from their respective States and  file  their  response within one week."

It is quite sad that legal minds in the States have not informed their chief ministers about the grave ramifications of aadhaar. It is quite strange that so far States have failed to defend erosion of their autonomy because of centralized databases of biometric data and in resisting the illegitimate advances of the social control technologies. After Court's order of November 26 they and academic institutions will have to give up their Ostrich policy.

Citizens and States must note that it is not a question of aadhaar number being voluntary or mandatory, which seems to be the focus of the proposed resolution in the State Assembly. It is a question of citizens being turned into subjects using illegal and illegitimate biometric Aadhaar number which is quite well documented.

It may be noted that Human DNA Profiling Bill, 2012 is under circulation drafted under the aegis of the Department of Biotechnology of the Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India, which seeks to collect human DNA samples, profile them and store them. But even without this collections of DNA samples is going on? How can collection of DNA samples and biometric data collection precede passage of Human DNA Profiling Bill, 2012 and and National Identification Authority of India Bill, 2013

Ntably, Kerala’s leader of the opposition VS Achuthanandan from CPI (M) has asked the government to drop the ‘Aadhaar' project on 26 August 2011. This has been welcomed by anti-aadhaar researcher and campaigners. Although belated Achuthanandan has noted that fingerprints and other biometric information of citizens were being collected under the project violated provisions of the Citizenship Act of 1955 and Citizenship Rules of 2003, neither of which permitted collection of biometric information of Indian citizens.

On 25 September 2013, the CPI (M) issued a statement saying, “The Polit Bureau welcomes the judgement of the Supreme Court that the Aadhaar Unique Identity cannot be made mandatory for receiving social benefit schemes. The government has been illegally instituting the cash transfer schemes and identification of beneficiaries of social welfare schemes based on the Aadhar identity.” (Source:http://cpim.org/content/judgement-welcomed)

Speaking to Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL), Prof. Tarun Naskar, West Bengal MLA from SUCI on November 27, 2013 informed that State Government will formally introduce the resolution on Aadhaar in the first week of December, 2013. When asked about his position on the proposed resolution on aadhaar, he said it will be based on his party's consistent stand on the issue. His party has called for scrapping of aadhaar. 

It may be recalled that after submitting 3.57 crore signatures against Aadhaar/UID to the Prime Minister on March 14, 2012 Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI)-Communist party’s journal has denounced the Unique Identity (UID) or Aadhaar scheme as ‘subversion of democracy’ in its four page analysis.
 
It had taken note of the severe indictment of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance in its report placed before Parliament on December 13, 2011. According to the report, the UID/Aadhaar project has been conceptualized “with no clarity of purpose” and “directionless” in its implementation, leading to “a lot of confusion”. The Standing Committee also observed that while framing of relevant law is under way, the continuance of the project is “unethical and violation of Parliament’s prerogatives”. The collection of biometric and personal data and issuing of UID numbers do not have any statutory sanction until the Bill is passed by Parliament. The journal endorses Parliamentary Standing* *Committee’s report saying, “There is every merit in this observation.”  The party holds that “In the absence of a Constitutional provision or legal framework, all the actions of the UIDAI are technically unconstitutional and illegal.”

It is apprehended that “The possibility that some such agencies (data collecting entities) are aligned to communal and fundamentalist groups and thus having ulterior motive in collecting non-mandatory information, cannot be ruled out.”

States and citizens have failed to appreciate that “several countries including the US, the UK, Australia, China, Canada and Germany have tried such projects but aborted them midway as impractical. The US –arguably the most surveillance prone society in the world – passed a Federal law requiring the States to allow the Federal Department of Homeland Security to access State databases such as drivers’ licences and motor vehicle registration but failed to implement the same.”

It must be recalled that meanwhile, a Division Bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court comprising Chief Justice Kalyan Jyothi Sengupta and P.V. Sanjay Kumar passed an order on November 21 that Aadhaar cannot be made mandatory. Punjab and Haryana High Court bench headed by Chief Justice A K Sikri passed an order March 2, 2013 after hearing a matter challenging a circular making UID number mandatory. The moment Court raised questions of laws, the circular was withdrawn by the central government. The decision underlined that UIDAI is legally assailable and indefensible. Supreme Court order vindicates the Punjab and Haryana High Court order, report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance and the Statement of Concern dated September 28, 2010 issued by 17 eminent citizens including Justice VR Krishna Iyer, Prof Romila Thapar, late SR Sankaran, Justice AP Shah, late KG Kannabiran, Bezwada Wilson, Aruna Roy and Prof Upendra Baxi seeking halting of the project. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Subordinate Legislation is also seized with the compliant dated 18.3.2013 on how Subordinate Legislation for Biometric Identity is illegal & illegitimate and constitutional, legal, historical & technological reasons against UID number scheme.

For Details: Gopal Krishna, Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL), Mb: 09818089660, 08227816731, E-0mail:gopalkrishna1715@gmail.com

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