Aadhaar Judgement of Supreme Court

 

Here is the judgement of Supreme Court in the Aadhaar Matter – https://www.sci.gov.in/supremecourt/2012/35071/35071_2012_Judgement_26-Sep-2018.pdf

Here are some updates and commentaries :

Linking PAN To Aadhaar Stands, Not Mandatory For Bank Accounts: Supreme Court - https://www.ndtv.com/business/aadhaar-verdict-pan-linking-for-income-tax-stands-bank-account-linking-set-aside-1922379


1.Three Out Of Five Supreme Court Judges Uphold Legality Of Aadhaar

_(There are three judgements. One by J. Sikri. CJI and J. Khanwilkar concur with him. Other two judgments are by J. Chandrachud and J. Bhushan.)_

2.Bank Accounts Need Not be Mandatorily Linked to Aadhaar: SC

3. Aadhaar Act Does Not Violate Privacy of Citizens: SC

4. Aadhaar Not Compulsory For School Admissions: SC

5. SC strikes down Section 57 of #Aadhaar Act which allows private entities to demand Aadhaar to access services.

6. Aadhaar can be passed as money bill

7. Pan-India linking of Aadhaar is valid

8. Top court strikes down mobile-Aadhaar linking

9. Aadhaar cannot be mandated for opening of bank accounts

Thank You Shernaz Ramanath for the inputs

https://www.livelaw.in/breaking-aadhaar-project-wholly-unconstitutional-landmark-disssent-by-justice-chandrachud/

Aadhaar verdict live updates | Supreme Court upholds validity of Aadhaar, sets conditions for use

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/aadhaar-verdict-live-updates-supreme-court-to-decide-the-validity-of-aadhaar-scheme/article25044764.ece

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Aadhaar is a Mass Surveillance Tool – Snowden

Aadhaar is a Mass Surveillance Tool and There Should Be Criminal Penalty for Its Misuse, says Edward Snowden
Labelling Aadhaar as mass surveillance tool created by Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and supported by those in power for political benefits, globally known whistleblower Edward Snowden has warned that due to linking the UID with everything, Indians could face a civil death.
He also recommended criminal penalty, including jail, for anyone demanding Aadhaar for providing a service that is unrelated with social benefits from the government.
Speaking at the fifth edition of ‘Talk Journalism’ in Jaipur via video conferencing on 11 August 2018, Snowden, who exposed mass surveillance programs run by the US government, intelligence agencies and big corporations, warned about excessive abuse and privacy violation through demanding Aadhaar for everything by the government and private players.
“You will be tracked, monitored, and recorded in a hundred different ways and not just by UIDAI, but by the Aadhaar number they created that is being used by every other company and every other group in society,” Snowden said.
“There should be a criminal penalty on those seeking Aadhaar number for providing any service and they should be sent to jail, if required, for this crime. It has become so vulnerable that if you search a number on the internet, you will get all information of a person,” Snowden said while referring to the RS Sharma Aadhaar exposure episode.
Moments after RS Sharma, Chairman of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), shared his Aadhaar number on Twitter with a challenge to ‘harm him’ on 28 July 2018, several people revealed his personal information, like permanent account number (PAN), his date of birth, mobile numbers, and residential address. Some even claimed to have created a profile on e-shopping sites using these credentials. (Read: Aadhaar: TRAI chief RS Sharma’s challenge boomeranged as his personal info gets disclosed)
Snowden feels Aadhaar should be used only for social benefit from the government and not for any other service from the government as well as private players. “The biggest crime behind this system is that it is being used for things that are unrelated to what the Government is paying for. To open a bank account, to buy a train ticket, or for more and more services they are demanding not just the number but physical (biometric) verification of your ID card. All these players and corporates have 100 ways of monitoring and abusing your privacy through this system,” he added.
Commenting on how the UIDAI phone number landed on all Android phones in the country, Snowden raised questions on user rights and privacy in India. A few days ago, millions of Android phone users found UIDAI helpline number 1800-300-1947 in their contact list. While UIDAI tried to distance itself from the helpline number controversy, Google took the blame. It stated, in 2014, the UIDAI helpline number was ‘inadvertently coded’ in Android release given to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) or mobile makers.
Snowden, however, expressed concern over this explanation from Google and overall the episode where a number was ‘pushed’ in mobile phones without the knowledge or explicit consent from the user. He said, “Google has about 95% or so market share in India, which is extraordinary. Almost everyone in India uses an Android phone. When you have that kind of position, it is very difficult to make a change that affects the mobile phone of every user in the country and yet somehow, they managed to push this phone number to everybody.”
“UIDAI should make people aware of how Aadhaar can be misused instead of transferring the blame on Google and pretending not to have any knowledge of the fact. The number of things they (UIDAI) always say is that their data is safe, their biometrics are secure. The idea is not that you can go on the internet and access anyone’s Aadhaar information directly, but that it is being leaked all over the place. There is an unrelenting train of scandals about Aadhaar, and they should respond to this in a reasonable way. They should be addressing the criticism and reforming the system instead of saying any criticism of us is illegitimate, it is scare-mongering,” he added.
The global whistleblower, who heads FreedomofPress, also talked about the importance to have free press in a democracy. He said, Rachana Khaira, the journalist from The Tribune, who was able to buy access to Aadhaar system and thus to personal details for just Rs500, deserves an award and not police complaints.
There are several people, especially youngsters, who freely share every bits and piece of information with others, without understanding their right to privacy or its implications. One of the reason could be the statements from the government to not to worry about privacy, data security and rights. “Where did that argument originate from? The answer is from Nazi Germany. But in a free society this should be the opposite. You do not need to explain why you have a right. You do not need to explain why your personal data is valuable or why you need your privacy,” Snowden said.

Vakharia’s victory

The unceasing and untiring efforts of chartered accountant Jehangir Bisney and advocate Shireen Baria ensured a landmark judgement in the unique case of a semi-coma patient in Secunderabad. Dr Parin Vakharia of Secunderabad, who is 94 years old and presently in a semi-coma state for the last seven years, started receiving hostile calls and messages from her banks and other institutions for linking her Aadhaar.
Vakharia is a retired founder dean of the faculty of social work, The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, retired social affairs officer in the social services section of the United Nations Bureau of Social Affairs at New York, USA and retired director of Princess Esin Women’s Educational Centre at Purani Haveli Hyderabad. She has been incapacitated and bedridden since 2011 due to a cerebrovascular accident.

  Dr Parin Vakharia (above l) and Jehangir Bisney

  Shireen Baria

With Bisney’s assistance, efforts started in April 2017 to enable Vakharia get an Aadhaar card. In order to do this, two attempts were made by the Aadhaar authorities by bringing the required equipment to her home to obtain her fingerprints and biometrics. However, on both the occasions the enrolment was rejected due to very poor quality of fingerprints and the inability to capture her biometrics due to her age. Because of her prolonged state of semi-coma, she was unable to open her eyes voluntarily or hold the eyes still for scanning.
Thereafter, Bisney sent several emails to the Unique Identification Authority Of India (UIDAI) but he did not receive any reply to his emails. Frustrated, he personally approached a senior official at UIDAI Hyderabad who gave him a patient hearing and assured him that the formalities for issue of the Aadhaar card would be completed in a few days. However, despite several reminders to the said official, there was no concrete response.
Banks, mutual funds, financial institutions and other places where Bisney was dealing with on behalf of Vakharia, were sending repeated reminders for linking of her Aadhaar card. He feared that non-submission of the same by the due date could create tremendous hardship for her in the event of her bank accounts and other investments getting frozen and inoperative.
Left with no option, Bisney approached his friend and Supreme Court lawyer Baria based in Secunderabad to take up the matter. A finely worded legal notice was sent to UIDAI by Baria. However, UIDAI failed to respond to this too.
With the then deadline of March 31, 2018 for the linking of the Aadhaar looming large, Bisney and Baria filed a writ petition before the Hyderabad High Court. Baria mentioned that Vakharia was under immense pressure to obtain an Aadhaar number, failing which her entire earnings, income and investments in all her bank accounts would be frozen and become inoperable, leaving her with no remedy for her sustenance and medical needs. If Vakharia was not issued an Aadhaar card she would not be able to pay her medical expenses nor the salaries/payments to doctors, nurses, caretakers, thus endangering her life and infringing upon her fundamental right to life, it was argued. There was a strong possibility of a restriction upon her liberty to use her own monies for want of an Aadhaar card. In view of her age and medical condition, the High Court immediately stayed the requirement of the Aadhaar. In this landmark judgment, Vakharia thus got relief from the submission of the Aadhaar to banks and financial institutions.
Vakharia has no living relatives in the twin cities of Secunderabad and Hyderabad and she was just very fortunate that her chartered accountant Bisney stepped in. The Supreme Court bench of five judges hearing clubbed petitions against Aadhaar linkages on May 9 heard submissions by senior advocate Shyam Divan. He said that people have been facing a lot of difficulties in authenticating and specifically cited her case.
Bisney feels that “there are lakhs of Vakharias in India and everyone does not have a Bisney or a Baria to come to their rescue. Such people are deprived of their pension, ration and other financial transactions just because their fingerprints and/or biometrics failed to get them the Aadhaar.” Bisney hopes that the Supreme Court presently hearing the Aadhaar case considers all such circumstances before passing a judgment. “No person in India can be deprived of his or her right to livelihood for want of an Aadhaar card,” he averred.

 

By: BEYNIAZ EDULJI

PARSIANA

21-MAY-2018

Hint of new Aadhaar deadline?

The Centre on Tuesday assured the Supreme Court that the government was open to extending beyond March 31 the deadline for linking Aadhaar cards with bank accounts and mobile phones.

“We have extended the deadline in the past too. We can do it again. Let’s see how the hearing proceeds. If required, we can do it again,” attorney-general K.K. Venugopal told a five-judge constitution bench.

The bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, is dealing with a slew of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar law.

The attorney-general gave the assurance during the closing hours of the day’s hearing in response to pleas made by senior advocates who felt the hearing might extend beyond March 31.

Although not officially stated, there are indications that the deadline could be extended till May 31 or even beyond as the hearing of the case may go on for another month. Thereafter, such benches usually reserve the judgment. The verdict may be pronounced a month later or in July after the summer vacation.

https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/hint-of-new-aadhaar-deadline-213837?ref=hm-ft-stry-2

Rs 500, 10 minutes, and you have access to billion Aadhaar details

It was only last November that the UIDAI asserted that “Aadhaar data is fully safe and secure and there has been no data leak or breach at UIDAI.” Today, The Tribune “purchased” a service being offered by anonymous sellers over WhatsApp that provided unrestricted access to details for any of the more than 1 billion Aadhaar numbers created in India thus far.(Follow The Tribune on Facebook; and Twitter @thetribunechd)It took just Rs 500, paid through Paytm, and 10 minutes in which an “agent” of the group running the racket created a “gateway” for this correspondent and gave a login ID and password. Lo and behold, you could enter any Aadhaar number in the portal, and instantly get all particulars that an individual may have submitted to the UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India), including name, address, postal code (PIN), photo, phone number and email.What is more, The Tribune team paid another Rs 300, for which the agent provided “software” that could facilitate the printing of the Aadhaar card after entering the Aadhaar number of any individual.When contacted, UIDAI officials in Chandigarh expressed shock over the full data being accessed, and admitted it seemed to be a major national security breach. They immediately took up the matter with the UIDAI technical consultants in Bangaluru.Sanjay Jindal, Additional Director-General, UIDAI Regional Centre, Chandigarh, accepting that this was a lapse, told The Tribune: “Except the Director-General and I, no third person in Punjab should have a login access to our official portal. Anyone else having access is illegal, and is a major national security breach.”

1 lakh illegal users

Investigations by The Tribune reveal that the racket may have started around six months ago, when some anonymous groups were created on WhatsApp. These groups targeted over 3 lakh village-level enterprise (VLE) operators hired by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (ME&IT) under the Common Service Centres Scheme (CSCS) across India, offering them access to UIDAI data.CSCS operators, who were initially entrusted with the task of making Aadhaar cards across India, were rendered idle after the job was withdrawn from them. The service was restricted to post offices and designated banks to avoid any security breach in November last year.Spotting an opportunity to make a quick buck, more than one lakh VLEs are now suspected to have gained this illegal access to UIDAI data to provide “Aadhaar services” to common people for a charge, including the printing of Aadhaar cards. However, in wrong hands, this access could provide an opportunity for gross misuse of the data.The hackers seemed to have gained access to the website of the Government of Rajasthan, as the “software” provided access to “aadhaar.rajasthan.gov.in”, through which one could access and print Aadhaar cards of any Indian citizen. However, it could not be ascertained whether the “portals” were genuinely of Rajasthan, or it was mentioned just to mislead.Sanjay Jindal said all of this could be confirmed only after a technical investigation was conducted by the UIDAI.


‘Privacy at risk’“Leakage of Aadhaar data reveals that the project has failed the privacy test. At the recently concluded 11th WTO Ministerial Conference, India submitted a written position on e-commerce, opposing the demand for negotiations on e-commerce by the US and its allies. The latter were demanding access to citizens’ database for free. The revelation by The Tribune also means that the proposed data protection law will now hold no purpose, as the data has already been breached. The state governments must immediately disassociate themselves and cancel the MoU signed with UIDAI,” said Gopal Krishan, New Delhi-based convener of the Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties, who appeared before the Special Parliamentary Committee that examined the Aadhaar Bill in 2010.A quick chat, and full access

  • 12:30 pm: This correspondent posing as ‘Anamika’ contacted a person on WhatsApp number 7610063464, who introduced himself as ‘Anil Kumar’. He was asked to create an access portal.
  • 12:32pm: Kumar asked for a name, email ID and mobile number, and also asked for Rs 500 to be credited in his Paytm No. 7610063464.
  • 12:35 pm: This correspondent created an email ID, aadharjalandhar@gmail.com, and sent mobile number ******5852 to the anonymous agent.
  • 12:48 pm: Rs 500 transferred through Paytm.
  • 12:49 pm: This correspondent received an email saying, “You have been enrolled as Enrolment Agency Administrator for ‘CSC SPV’. Your Enrolment Agency Administrator ID is ‘Anamika_6677’.” Also, it was said that a password would be sent in a separate mail, which followed shortly.
  • 12:50 pm: This correspondent had access to the Aadhaar details of every Indian citizen registered with the UIDAI.

Printing Aadhaar cardThis correspondent later again approached Anil Kumar to ask for software to print Aadhaar cards. He asked for Rs 300 through Paytm No. 8107888008 (in the name of ‘Raj’). Once paid, a person identifying himself as Sunil Kumar called from mobile number 7976243548, and installed software on this correspondent’s computer by accessing it remotely through “TeamViewer”. Once the job was done, he deleted the software drivers, even from the recycle bin. Possible misuseGetting SIM cards, or bank accounts in anyone’s name. Last month, a man was arrested in Jalandhar for withdrawing money from someone’s bank account by submitting a fake Aadhaar card.

 

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 3

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/rs-500-10-minutes-and-you-have-access-to-billion-aadhaar-details/523361.html

Key Aadhaar Linking Deadlines You Should Know

Deadlines postponed indefinitely

https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/deadline-for-linking-aadhaar-to-government-schemes-extended-indefinitely-1787255

http://www.moneylife.in/article/deadline-to-link-aadhaar-with-bank-account-extended-indefinitely/52441.html

The deadline for linking bank accounts with Aadhaar is December 31, 2017

Key Aadhaar Linking Deadlines You Should Know
The last date to link Aadhaar with mobile phone number is February 6, 2018

Government has announced the mandatory linking of Aadhaar to various financial services, the deadlines of which are fast approaching. The Unique Identity Authority of India (UIDAI) has announced different deadlines for linking of Aadhaar with bank accounts, PAN, mobile numbers and others. Missing these deadlines may lead to dissolution of important services. However, a five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court is yet to decide on granting of an interim stay on Aadhaar being made mandatory to be linked with all these utilities.

This is based on a plea by petitioners who challenged the linking of Aadhaar with various essentials, saying it violates the right to privacy.

Here’s the list of various deadlines that you must know in order to avoid termination of any of your essential services:

Aadhaar-Bank Account linking deadline

The deadline for linking bank accounts with Aadhaar is December 31, 2017. The linking can be carried out at the bank’s branch or through net banking.

Aadhaar-PAN linking deadline

The Central Board of Direct Taxes has extended the deadline for linking Permanent Account Number (PAN) with Aadhaar to March 31, 2018. The Aadhaar-PAN linking can be done on the Income Tax website.

Aadhaar-mobile phone number (SIM) linking deadline

The last date to link Aadhaar with mobile phone number is February 6, 2018. The linking can be done at a store or a service centre or by calling the customer services wing of the service provider.

Aadhaar-insurance policy linking deadline

The deadline to link insurance policies with Aadhaar is December 31, 2017. This can be done by logging into the insurance companys’ websites or visiting the customer services departments of the providers.

Aadhaar-Mutual Fund linking deadline

The last day to link your Aadhaar card with mutual fund investments is December 31, 2017. The linking can be done by taking help of the registrar and transfer agents.

Aadhaar-Social Security Schemes linking deadline

The last day to link Aadhaar to social security services is December 31, 2017. These services include availing of LPG cylinders and educational scholarships, among other things.

Aadhaar-PPF linking deadline

Updating Aadhaar details by December 31, 2017 is mandatory for subscribers of Public Provident Fund.

https://www.ndtv.com/business/linking-aadhaar-important-deadlines-that-you-should-not-miss-1786918

https://www.ndtv.com/business/aadhaar-linking-aadhaar-linking-deadlines-last-date-what-to-do-other-details-1785339

 

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.)