Aadhaar for students: Maharashtra govt openly flouts Supreme Court order

The Supreme Court directed union as well all state government not to make Aadhaar mandatory. Yet, Maharashtra's Education Department is enforcing Aadhaar registration for all students below 14 


Despite a clear direction from the Supreme Court and statement from the Narendra Modi-led union government for not making Aadhaar mandatory, the Maharashtra government is openly flouting both. Without knowing that biometrics, especially of children is most susceptible to undergo change over years, the Education Department headed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s Vinod Tawde is forcing Aadhaar enrolment for all students across the state.
According to a report from Times of India, "Aadhaar will be compulsory for school students and they will have to apply for it by 26th June. It will be linked with children's admission numbers and government benefits they are entitled to. Over 1 crore children in the state up to 14 years of age will be brought under Aadhaar."
The Maharashtra government issued a resolution (GR) (201504211358081421) on 21st April that makes it mandatory for all students up to 14 years of age in the state to register for an Aadhaar number and connect it with their school admission number. The district collector, as well as district education officer, is asked to fully implement this scheme before 26th June and submit a report. What the Education Department has forgotten is that at present majority of schools in the state are having summer vacations and would reopen only in second or third week of June.
Quoting sources, the newspaper report says, “…the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), through the state government, has directed the state's school education and women and child welfare departments to employ agencies to bring the children under Aadhaar, instead of deploying teaching staff. But the government wants school staff to create maximum awareness among students and ensure their registration quickly. It also wants these departments to take up a massive public campaign.”
This order from the Devendra Fadnavis-led Maharashtra government is completely in contrast with the decision of the Supreme Court. On 16 March 2015, a Bench of Justices J Chelameswar, SA Bobde and C Nagappan directed the central and state governments not to insist on possessing Aadhaar for availing benefits under the various social security schemes as it reiterated an order it passed in September 2013.
The apex court did not appear appreciative when Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar submitted that some states were not abiding by the court order.
"It is your duty to ensure our orders are followed. You can't say states are not following our order," the Bench told him, stressing it was incumbent upon the central government to ensure that the states complied with the apex court's order.
Directing the next hearing of the matter in the second week of July and noting the presence of the centre and all the states, the court said: "We expect all to scrupulously adhere to our order dated 23 September 2013."
Last month, in a written reply to Lok Sabha, Planning Minister Rao Inderjit Singh said, the government was not considering any proposal to make it mandatory for citizens to get Aadhaar card issued by the UIDAI. “Various ministries, departments and agencies of Centre and states that implement different schemes/ programmes involving provisions of benefits or services are encouraged to leverage Aadhaar for elimination of fakes and duplicates from the list of beneficiaries, increasing efficiency of implementation and achieving higher levels of transparency in operations. In doing so it has to be ensured that no eligible person suffers, or is denied any benefit or service, merely for the lack of an Aadhaar," the minister had said.
Earlier too in March 2014, the Supreme Court directed the union government to withdraw all orders making Aadhaar or the unique identification (UID) number mandatory for residents.


Coming back to the issue of biometrics related with Aadhaar, it is a well-known fact that human body parts like fingerprint, iris, voice age, wither and decay with the passage of time. Is there a biological material in the human body that constitutes biometric data, which is immortal, ageless and permanent? 
Besides working conditions, humidity, temperature and lighting conditions also impact the quality of biological material used for generating biometric data. Both Aadhaar and NPR are based on the unscientific and questionable assumption that there are parts of human body likes fingerprint, iris, voice etc” that does not age, wither and decay with the passage of time.
Those who support Aadhaar and NPR seem to display unscientific temper by implication. A report “Biometric Recognition: Challenges and Opportunities” of the National Research Council, USA published on 24 September 2010 concluded that the current state of biometrics is ‘inherently fallible’. That is also one of the findings of a five-year study. This study was jointly commissioned by the CIA, the US Department of Homeland Security and the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency.
There is a need for the Parliament, Supreme Court, state legislatures and High Courts to examine whether or not biometrics provides an established way of fixing identity of Indians. 
With the Maharashtra government openly flouting directions from the Supreme Court, it is high time the apex court take suo moto action against those responsible, be it the Education Minister or other babus.





2 years ago

Recently person from election commission came & inform our society people that get your Aadhar Card,else you will not be allowed to vote in election.When contacted their office ,they said what can we do ,we are getting such orders from our seniors.Really sic state of affairs.

BSNL to allow unlimited free calling at night

The scheme covers all major landline general plans of rural and urban areas, landline special plans and all major combo (landline and broadband) plans


State-run BSNL said Thursday it will introduce unlimited free calling at night from its landline phones to all landline and mobile phones of all service providers across India from May 1.
With this, the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd intends to promote landline usage. "This unlimited free night calling shall be available from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m.," a company statement said.
The scheme covers all major landline general plans of rural and urban areas, landline special plans and all major combo (landline and broadband) plans.
"BSNL landline phone offers voice clarity. Now landline customers can make unlimited calls comfortably anywhere in India to all networks from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. without paying call charges," the statement added.


PEEPING TOM (Pvt) Ltd—Very Private, Indeed

A mild inconvenience that can be overcome as soon as one wants to


Almost everybody must be guilty of this offence. Copping out. Opting out of work, or an engagement, or an appointment, or attending court. And the usual excuse? ‘Not well’. Sick. Headache, stomach ache, the flu. Usually, it is just a mild inconvenience that can be overcome as soon as one wants to.
Experience tells us that attendance in courts is where this ‘story’ most often crops up. A month back, a judge passed an order dismissing a case because the ‘sick’ complainant had avoided appearing before him. The next-in-line would be at the place of work. Monday morning blues. A death in the family, the deceased being far removed by relationship, is another usual plea. The list is long and very imaginative.
Our topic this time is workplace-related. A woman was employed as a secretary. She reported to the management; obviously an important assignment. However, as it often happens, she could not get along with others. She soon reported sick. She had, she claimed, a bronchial infection. Later, it turned worse. She did not attend work for a long time. She sent in a doctor’s and a specialist’s certificates.
In the judgement mentioned above, the judge dictated in his order that no medical certificate was presented for absence from the court. Some proof was needed to justify non-attendance. In the case of our sick woman, six certificates were sent. The management, however, was not convinced. Her phone calls ‘reporting ill’ were doubted.
The question was how best to prove the secretary wrong. It is precisely in such situations, more ego-driven than anything else, that things get out of hand. Someone thought of a brilliant idea. Spying on her seemed the best way to beat her at her game. Obviously, no boss would do the dirty work. 
It was handed over to a professional detective agency. Spying is the name of the game.
It worked. Over four days, the detective went to work. He did a thorough job. Not only did he shadow the employee, he kept tabs on her husband as well. And the house. And the dog. He followed her to the laundrette where she did the laundry, ostensibly all by herself. She was video-graphed. And photographs were printed from the recording. She seemed OK. At least, she did not seem to suffer from the various illnesses she had claimed to be afflicted with. She was truly nailed.
Now, you be the judge. What would you do, if you were the management? What would you do if you were the employee?
Confronted with the evidence, the secretary hit back. How dare they follow her? Had she no right to privacy? Thus offended, she sued. Reminds one of a Gujarati saying of a chor (thief) threatening the kotwal (policeman).
The Federal Labour Court decided in favour of the woman. She had asked for damages. It ruled that she deserved to be compensated, though not as much as she asked for. It awarded Euro 1,000/-. That is, about Rs80,000/-. Less than 10% of what she had demanded. Not really that much in Germany; but good enough for ‘not attending work’!
The court explained its ruling. It said that there must be a legitimate reason, for example, a theft, to put sleuths on someone’s trail. Just conjecture is not enough. The compensation was more or less a slap-on-the-wrist order. But it did set a precedent. No snooping by the management.
This, of course, raises some disturbing questions. What about the CCTVs, the omnipresent cameras on closed circuit? If one is warned about the cameras’ presence, is it enough? These days, one is monitored at all times. Two years back, in an English Old Bailey (Crime) Court, the whole sequence in a murder trial was sought to be proved by these cameras. Something that lasted over an hour, including a bus ride. Would that also be an invasion of privacy?
Technology has a lot to answer; recorders need to be careful. 
(Bapoo Malcolm is a practising lawyer in Mumbai. Please email your comments to mail@moneylife.in)


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