Saturday 11 June 2011

Nandan Nilekani Is Wrong Regarding Aadhar Project

Unique identification project of India (UID project of India) or Aadhar project of India is always portrayed as a welfare scheme to streamline public distribution system of India. It has been projected as a technological method to ensure equitable distribution of public utilities to needy and deserving masses.

However, this is just one of the “possible uses” of Aadhar project. The real and most dangerous use of Aadhar database would be to effectively use it for e-surveillance and lawful/unlawful interceptions.

India has no “Constitutionally Valid” Phone Tapping Law and Lawful Interception Law claims Praveen Dalal a Supreme Court lawyer and leading techno legal expert of India. A Constitutionally Sound Law must not only adhere to the Constitutional Requirements but must also respect Fundamental Rights and Civil liberties of Indians, informs Dalal. Neither Aadhar Project nor Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) are meeting “Constitutional Requirements” and are therefore “Unconstitutional” informs Dalal.

Interestingly, UIDAI framed a proposed legislation for Aadhar project and UIDAI titled National Identification Authority of India Bill 2010 (Bill). The Bill is still to become an applicable law as it has not been approved by the Parliament of India. Legally speaking, both Aadhar project and UIDAI are still “unconstitutional” in the absence of a legal framework supporting them.

However, according to Praveen Dalal even after the Bill becomes and applicable law, both Aadhar and UIDAI would remain “Unconstitutional”. This is so because the “Constitutional Safeguards” that are required to make Aadhar/UIDAI Constitutional are still missing from the proposed Bill.

The present ruling government of Congress is already in controversies for scams, corruption charges, irregularities and black money deposits, etc. in these circumstances, spending crores of money upon an unconstitutional project like Aadhar project is not a sensible option.

However, the prime minister’s office (PMO) has not taken note of this constitutional irregularity and is allowing Aadhar project and UIDAI to operate. Our Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh must urgently step in and take proper actions before it is too late.

The present unconstitutional phone tapping practices adopted by Indian government and its agencies has already become a constitutional failure. There is no need to make this constitutional failure a permanent one. Let us hope the Indian government would wake up before it is too late.

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