Sunday, October 19, 2014

Making Aadhaar Compulsory Is Unconstitutional And Contempt Of Court

Aadhaar initiative was introduced as an optional and enabling technology. With the passage of time, Indian government has made Aadhaar not only compulsory but also an intrusive, privacy violating and mass surveillance instrument. Surprisingly, none of the e-surveillance projects of India have any sort of parliamentary oversight. Aadhaar is also suffering from various vices and constitutional infirmities. This was the reason that the Supreme Court of India declared that Aadhaar cannot be made mandatory (Pdf) for availing services in India.

Aadhaar is also suffering from many other infirmities. For instance, there is no privacy law in India and data protection law in India (pdf) as on date. Aadhaar has also failed to address the concerns of data security, cyber security (PDF) and civil liberties in India. The intelligence agencies of India are operating without any parliamentary oversight and they need urgent reforms in these circumstances.

It is not the case that Indian government is not aware of these issues and circumstances. However, Indian government prefers to keep the things in a state of anarchy and chaos by citing national security and welfare schemes. The truth is that both the concepts of national security and welfare schemes are baseless in India when it comes to blatant violation of civil liberties of Indians.

The only solace is the fact that these issues are presently pending before the Indian Supreme Court to be adjudicated upon. The Supreme Court has already issues interim orders prohibiting the state governments and central government from discriminating on the ground of non availability of Aadhaar number. However, till now these directions have been openly violated by Indian government and various state governments.

This is also a hint of confrontation between the executive and judiciary that is solely provoked by the executive in an illegal and unconstitutional manner. There is little hope that the proposed law in this regard may be enacted very soon, if at all. The only option left in these circumstances is that the Supreme Court of India must declare Aadhaar project illegal and unconstitutional and scrap the same in the larger interest of India.