oppn parties Lots of Sudhaar Needed in Aadhaar

News Snippets

  • In reply to a question in Parliament, the government says it is empowered to lawfully intercept, monitor or decrpyt information stored in a computer resource in the interest of sovereignty or integrity of India
  • Police stop a 12-year old girl on her way to the Sabarimala shrine
  • In Karnataka, the JD(S) indicates that it might support the BJP government if it falls short of numbers after the bypolls
  • Congress pips the BJP in local body elections in Rajasthan, winning 961 wards to the BJPs 737
  • After Airtel and Vodafone-Idea, Jio also indicates that tariffs will be raised from December
  • Sources in Shiv Sena say that they might revive the alliance with the BJP if it offers the 50:50 deal
  • A miffed Sanjay Rout of the Shiv Sena says that it will take "100 births" to understand Sharad Pawar
  • Mobile operators Vodafone-Idea and Airtel decide to raise tariffs from next month
  • Sharad Pawar meets Sonia Gandhi and says more time needed for government formation in Maharashtra
  • Justice S A Bobde sworn in as the 47th Chief Justice of India
  • Supreme Court holds hotels liable for theft of vehicle from their parking area if parked by valet, says "owner's risk" clause is not a shield from such liability
  • Finance Minister says she is receiving feedback from many sectors that recovery is happening as there is lower stress
  • Sabarimala temple opens, but police bar the entry of women below 50 years
  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says Air India and BPCL to be sold off by March
  • Media person Rajat Sharma resigns as DDCA president
Two Muslim litigants in Ayodhya refuse to accept the Supreme Court order, say review petition might be filed
oppn parties
Lots of Sudhaar Needed in Aadhaar

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
It is criminal to commit a crime and then destroy evidence, including making an attempt to destroy the evidence. Hence, if one commits a murder and then hides, or tries to hide, the murder weapon, one compounds the crime. By registering a FIR against Rachna Khaira, the reporter of The Tribune newspaper, who broke the news of Aadhaar data being sold for just Rs 500, the government is attempting to compound the crime committed by UIDAI in exposing citizen’s private data to multiple unauthorized agencies. In classic mafia tradition, the government is shooting the messenger for bringing the bad news. Also, it is a flagrant attempt to browbeat the media. How is a reporter to be held guilty if she has exposed a racket that accesses and sells the private data of the citizens from the Aadhaar database? It is the UIDAI that should be held guilty. The reporter, in fact, should be rewarded for her outstanding work.

Any responsible and caring government would listen to the grievances of the citizens and try to redress them, even if it means going back to the drawing board for applying its pet scheme. But this government, tutored in a devious manner by the UIDAI, is trying to bulldoze its way out of the predicament it finds itself in over the safety of, and occasional leakage of, Aadhaar data. There is no doubt that linking Aadhaar with various government schemes will stop huge leakage of funds and eliminate crony capitalism and linking it with certain investments and payments will ensure that people do not make the same with unaccounted money. It will go a long way in bringing transparency in government spending and eliminating shady transactions. But whatever benefits the linking brings, it certainly cannot be at the cost of compromising the private data of the citizens.

The UIDAI has been tasked with gathering the data and developing and applying the software that would enable linking of Aadhaar with whatever the government has in mind. Obviously, this also means that the UIDAI will put in place robust systems that would prevent unauthorized persons from accessing this data. But it has been proven multiple times that the security systems of UIDAI are not robust enough to prevent unauthorized access. Instead of taking the UIDAI to task, the government picks on those who expose its shortcomings. Of course, nothing better can be expected from a government that had told the Supreme Court that it does not consider privacy to be a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution.

The Supreme Court has clearly stated that “the right to privacy is protected as an intrinsic part of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 and as a part of the freedoms guaranteed by Part III of the Constitution.” Of course, this right is not absolute but one thing is certain – no government can force the people to give their personal information and biometrics and then be lax enough to let unauthorized persons access the data – for profit or otherwise. The UIDAI claims that the biometrics have not be compromised (should we be grateful for small mercies?) as if unauthorized access to name, address, telephone number, date of birth etc does not matter at all. As the case challenging the Constitutional validity of Aadhaar is being heard in the apex court, UIDAI will have to ensure that its database conforms to the parameters of privacy. These leakages prove that UIDAI has compromised privacy. Will the court now scrap Aadhaar?