Saturday, January 7, 2012

UIDAI Thinks It Is Above Indian Constitution

Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is managing one of the most controversial projects of India known as Aadhar project of India. Till now it is well known and established that Aadhar project of India is unconstitutional, undemocratic and anti parliamentarian. This is also the reason that in all probability Aadhar project of India would be scrapped.

Although UIDAI framed a legal framework titled National Identification Authority of India Bill-2010 (NIDAI Bill 2010) yet techno legal experts like Praveen Dalal out rightly rejected such Bill. He maintained that in the absence of various Procedural and Constitutional Safeguards in the proposed Bill, both Aadhar Project and UIDAI were Unconstitutional. Even today, Aadhar Project and UIDAI are Unconstitutional, opines Praveen Dalal.

However, UIDA persisted in its endeavours without meeting the constitutional requirements and the NIDAI Bill 2010 was finally rejected by the Parliament's standing committee on finance. The panel unanimously recommended that the government should withdraw the present NIDAI Bill 2010 and bring a new one. Further, the committee also found the Aadhar project directionless and recommended that the project should reviewed by bringing in a fresh Bill. This seems to be acceptance of the suggestions provided by experts like Praveen Dalal and endorsing the concerns raised by Aadhar Watch Initiative of India.

So for the time being the UIDAI is functioning under an executive order of the ministry of planning. So legally Aadhar project and UIDAI are working without any legal framework and with great disregard to the constitutional requirements. If this was not enough, UIDAI director general R.S. Sharma believes that the authority will take up the legal framework matter at the Union cabinet level and continue to function as per the mandate of the planning ministry.

He is of the opinion that the need for legislation was felt to give a separate and independent role to the UIDAI so that the process becomes fast, easy and flexible but in case any proposed Bill is not passed, work of the authority is not going to be affected.

This is a strange opinion that shows how our constitution and parliamentary functioning is of no significance to the executive of this nation. The executive branch of Indian constitution is simply bypassing the Indian parliament and constitution of India with great disregard to the constitutional safeguards. This explains how the Aadhar project and UIDAI continued unconstitutionally for such a long period of time. This is also a warning that constitutional failure is imminent if this approach continues for long.