Aadhaar: Is the Modi govt moving against the Supreme Court order?

The Supreme Court says Aadhaar is not mandatory for public services. Yet, like the Congress government, Modi too is forcing the biometric ID


The Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) is riding on 12-digit biometric Aadhaar number project, which itself is controversial, legally contested, disapproved by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance and found questionable by the judiciary.


There is a categorical order of the Supreme Court reiterated at least two occasions stating that Aadhaar cannot be made mandatory.

But the PMJDY brochure reads “Aadhaar number will be seeded to make account ready for (Direct Benefits Transfers) DBT payment”. It is meant to be “the single point for receipt” for all DBT.  Isn’t this against the Supreme Court judgement? And what about Modi's own views on Aadhaar? According to a report from Hindustan Times, while addressing an election rally in Bengaluru, Modi had said, “Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) had 'failed to convince the Supreme Court' and thus the (Aadhaar) scheme failed.”

Even, Nirmala Sitharaman, the then spokeswoman for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), had told the newspaper that “Aadhaar was being pushed by the Union government through an executive order and as the chief minister of Gujarat, he (Modi) was expected to implement the programme in the state. But that does not mean he will not question it and underline what is wrong. If he had not implemented it in Gujarat, he would have been blamed for delaying it."

The Supreme Court has passed an interim order on 23 September 2013 stating that availing of no public services can be mandatorily be linked to Aadhaar. On 24 March 2014, the Court restrained the central government and the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) from sharing data with any third party or agency, while dealing with a case filed by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). However, the UIDAI has already shared all the data with foreign and Indian private companies like Accenture, L1 Identities Solution and Sagem Morpho of Safran Group and Ernst & Young among others, who can keep this data for at least seven years

Meanwhile, the New Indian Express has reported that a petition has been filed by VE Rahul Goutham, a Class-X student of Kendriya Vidyalaya, Pattam, Thiruvananthapuram before the Kerala High Court against the insistence by the authorities that the Aadhaar card number be included in the application form for the National Talent Search Examination, Stage-I. The petitioner has rightly cited Supreme Court’s order saying, “in the meanwhile, no person should suffer for not getting Aadhaar card, in spite of the fact that some authority had issued a circular making it mandatory. When a person applies for Aadhaar Card voluntarily, it may be checked whether that person is entitled for it under the law, and the card should not be given to any illegal immigrant” and has submitted that insistence on Aadhaar is a violation of the Court’s order.

In fact, following the direction issued to the Union of India and Union Territory of Chandigarh by Punjab and Haryana High Court in the matter of Civil Writ Petition 569 of 2013 filed in the High Court against Union of India and others, the Executive Order for making Unique Identification (UID)/Aadhaar mandatory has been withdrawn. In its order the bench of Chief Justice AK Sikri and Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain dated 19 February 2013 had noted that the petition “raises a pure question of law.” Since the Executive Order was withdrawn, the case too was disposed of 2 March 2013 with a two page order.  The Order observes, “In this writ petition filed as PIL, the petitioner has challenged the vires of notification issued by Union of India for making it compulsory to have UID Cards."

All the High Courts, which transferred the cases filed against Aadhaar to the Supreme Court did so before its orders of 23 September 2013 and 24 March 2014. Now, it is a question of enforcement of the apex court’s order, which is being violated with impunity setting a very unhealthy precedent.

Arguing in the Supreme Court, Senior advocate Shyam Divan stated that "there is no statute to back the project" and even if there were one, the statute would be violative of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution as the project enables surveillance of individuals and impinges upon right to human dignity. Maintaining that whenever state seeks to impinge upon fundamental rights, its action must be backed by statute and not mere executive fiat, the senior advocate said, "Here, the action under the impugned project of collecting personal biometric information without statutory backing is ultra vires even where an individual voluntarily agrees to part with biometric information." But the silence of Justice KS Puttaswamy, retired judge of the Karnataka High Court as well as Divan and other petitioners appears intriguing after the new government took charge.

Why are citizens being made to seek Aadhaar, which is admittedly only a residence proof? How does absence of resident proof consequent into denial of citizen's entitlement. The students of law are routinely taught by their law professors that the Supreme Court’s order is the law of the land. Aadhaar matter seems to be demonstrating that it is no more the case.   

Is India an island where news from other nations does reach the ear drums of decision makers in India? It is such deafness that contributed to grant of permission for testing of war chemicals in Bhopal.

Given the fact that Supreme Court has not scheduled any specific three judge bench to hear the Aadhaar case filed by Justice Puttaswamy, relying on a letter of Justice Mandagadde Rama Jois, former Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, currently a Member of Parliament, the Kerala High Court has to rise the occasion and decide whether Supreme Court's order is supreme or an illegitimate order of the government is supreme. Besides Justice Puttaswamy, Major General SG Vombatkere, who retired as Additional Director General, Discipline and Vigilance in Army Headquarters, has also filed a petition against the identifier project branded ‘Aadhaar’.

Relying on the pre-existing orders of the Supreme Court, the report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, Kerala High Court has a historic opportunity to restrain the Centre, Planning Commission and the UIDAI from issuing biometric Aadhaar numbers by way of an executive notification of 28 January 2009. The decision can save Indians from the most dangerous transaction being entered into through the unfolding Data Grid.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s is visiting the US. It would be timely to recollect the visit of Barack Obama, President of US with a 200-strong business delegation during 6-9 November 2010 to expanding US exports and increase investments by US companies in India.


Some 20 business deals worth around $10 billion were on the horizon but notably almost $15 billion worth deals were signed as per the official statement from the White House.

Among these deals were “The Unique Identification Project: L-1 Identity Solutions, headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, and another US-headquartered company, lead two of the three vendor consortia, which have been pre-qualified by the Unique Identity Authority of India (UIDAI) for the first phase of an effort to register Indian residents with a 12-digit unique number using biometric identifiers. Unprecedented in scale, seeking to register 1.2 billion Indian residents, the UID program aims to enhance delivery of government services in India.”


Out of these two companies L1 has now been taken over by French conglomerate Safran Group.


The search for the real beneficial owner or controller of L1 can be quite revealing. As to the reference of “another US-headquartered company, lead two of the three vendor consortia” and its identity, the White House statement was silent.

Both Obama and Dr Manmohan Singh, the then Indian Prime Minister agreed that “in an increasingly interconnected world, it is vital to safeguard areas of the sea, air, and space beyond national jurisdiction to ensure the security and prosperity of nations”. Admittedly, the bio-metric Aadhaar database is being stored on a cloud, which is “beyond national jurisdiction”.  In fact,  it is under the US jurisdiction and beyond India’s jurisdiction.

The new government has seen similar merits in UID. However, questions that merits attention of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the National Security Advisor is: How many countries in West Asia have a biometric ID database like Aadhaar, National Population Register (NPR) and digital identity? What are its ramifications for nations’ sovereignty? Can’t friends become foes of super powers and vice versa? If the preventive steps are not taken before such situation emerges, the biometric database of all future leaders and officials of India can reach countries whose governments are commercial czars in real time. Human history has been testimony to the possibility of the latter becoming inimical to India’s over all interest to safeguard their supreme commercial interests. They say commerce is war by other means.

Remember, the French Government had to abandon biometric profiling of its citizens after the French Constitutional Council found the law proposing the introduction of a new biometric ID for French citizens as unconstitutional. Incidentally, a French conglomerate is facilitating something in India, which has been outlawed in France. In India, it is headquartered New Delhi. Likewise, the Supreme Court of the Philippines struck down a biometric-based national ID system as unconstitutional on grounds of invasion of privacy.

In his 2009-10 Budget Speech, Pranab Mukherjee as Finance Minister had announced, “The UIDAI will set up an online data base with identity and biometric details of Indian residents and provide enrollment and verification services across the country.” Like the previous government, the Modi government too is deluded into believing that “online data base” of residents of India (inclusive of citizens) it will safeguard the sovereignty of the Republic.

The Finance Ministry’s 108-page White Paper on Black Money under the title ‘Strategies for Curbing Generation of Black Money through Illegal or Criminal Activities’ reads: “While efforts such as UID and direct transfer of subsidies will stop leakages in some sectors, in other sectors the problem will have to be addressed differently”. What is not acknowledged is that leakages are not problems of verification of identity but problems of eligibility. The new government has failed to appreciate as well.

Besides this it is yet to be conclusively established as to whether or not biometric, surveillance, identification and security technology companies are involved in amassing Black Money as part of Black Economy-through electoral finance and other unrecorded means.

Under the chapter, ‘Creating an appropriate legislative framework’ the White Paper elaborates on the role of the Unique Identity (UID)-Aadhaar project. The relevant text of the White Paper at page 49 reads: “The Aadhaar platform will facilitate payments under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MG-NREGA); old age, widow and disability pensions; and scholarships to be made directly into beneficiary accounts in selected areas. This initiative will cut down corruption and the generation of black money in India.” It is ironical that Unique Identity (UID)-Aadhaar project is mentioned under the title ‘Creating an appropriate legislative framework’ because Aadhaar and its Centralised Identities Data Register (CIDR) is being prepared outside any ‘appropriate legislative framework’.  

The recommendations of the Committee Headed by Chairman, Central Board for Direct Taxes (CBDT) on Black Money, at page 84 states: “The steps taken in recent years for simplifying and placing the administrative procedures concerning taxation, trade and tariffs and social transfers on UID based electronic interface, free of discretion and bureaucratic delays, are vital building blocks of the approach for tackling corruption and black money in our country.” Such claims manifest short term and long term vested interests in the UID-Aadhaar project aimed at creating ‘solutions architecture’ through linguistic corruption in the form of proposed National Information Utilities (NIUs) by Union Finance Ministry’s Technology Advisory Group on Unique projects. These NIUs are envisaged as private companies with public purpose and with profit making as the motive but not profit maximising. The construction of this sentence betrays the ulterior motives of these interests. It appears that words indeed have meaning, which the masters give to it as Lewis Carroll famously noted in her work Alice in Wonderland, a classic case of nominalism, a tendency of the ruling elite to decide on the meaning of a word.

Eight AEBAS systems provided by UIDAI have been installed at six gates of Venkaiah Naidu headed Urban Development Ministry. Was Naidu misleading the Parliament and the citizens of the country by contending that Aadhaar is “niraadhar” on the floor of the House? BJP was either misleading the country then or its doing so now.

The Planning Commission, whose expiry has been announced by Prime Minister Modi, is in the process of reviewing the state-wise and Union Territory wise progress of Aadhaar after Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) cleared phase-V of the UID scheme to undertake enrollments in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand on 10 September 2014. UIDAI has been given a target of ensuring enrollment of 100 crore Indian residents by the end of 2015 nay “at the earliest”.

In a country, governed by rule of law, when there is no ambiguity about the order of the apex court, how is it that Aadhaar related programs are being made mandatory? Is law still the king or the new kings-the Big Data companies- have usurped the state of affairs in the most non-violent coup imaginable?     

You may also want to read…


Why biometric identification of citizens must be resisted? Part 1

Biometric identification is modern day enslavement -Part 2

Biometric profiling, including DNA, is dehumanising -Part 3

Marketing and advertising blitzkrieg of biometric techies and supporters -Part 4

History of technologies reveals it is their owners who are true beneficiaries -Part 5


UID's promise of service delivery to poor hides IT, biometrics industry profits –Part 6

Technologies and technology companies are beyond regulation? -Part 7

Surveillance through biometrics-based Aadhaar –Part 8

Narendra Modi biometrically profiled. What about Congress leaders?-Part 9

Aadhaar: Why opposition ruled states are playing partner for biometric UID? -Part 10


Is Nandan Nilekani acting as an agent of non-state actors? –Part 11


Aadhaar and UPA govt's obsession for private sector benefits–Part 12

CIA-funded MongoDB partners with UIDAI to handle Aadhaar data –Part 13


Are Indians being used as guinea pigs of biometric technology companies? -Part 14

Aadhaar: Is the biometric data of human body immortal and ageless? Part 15

Aadhaar: The propaganda of transnational vested interests –Part 16


Aadhaar: Pakistan handed over, India giving database on a platter– Part 17

Engineered row in US-India relations, an attention diversion tactics of big brothers?—Part 18


Aadhaar: UIDAI and the ‘fifth column’ of Napoleon—Part 19

Aadhaar: Turning citizens into subjects through social control technology companies –Part 20


Why Kejriwal govt in Delhi should abandon biometric Aadhaar?—Part 21


Aadhaar for LPG: Oil companies, Ministry of Petroleum & UIDAI disobeying Supreme Court order–Part 22


Why Vasundhara Raje should immediately withdraw circulars making Aadhaar mandatory -Part 23


How Congress has been proven wrong on biometric Aadhaar and NPR -Part 24


Aadhaar, NPR, UN resolution and deafening silence of political parties –Part 25


Is Congress converging UID numbers of EVMs and Indian voters? –Part 26


Is our political class trapped by economic hit men from database empires? -Part 27

Aadhaar & database risks: Will India evaporate to become nobody in our life time? –Part 28


How BJP’s Yashwant Sinha is wrong about ‘biometric’ National Population Register –Part 29


Aadhaar: The lies of Nilekani and Congress over biometric profiling –Part 30


Why the PMO is hiding behind Election Commission on Nilekani’s resignation? -Part 31

Who allowed merger of voter database with the illegal Aadhaar? Part 32


Has Nilekani followed Pakistan’s NADRA in creating, enforcing Aadhaar? –Part 33


How biometric IDs can stir 'the Pot' and lead to civil war? -Part 34


Will Nandan Nilekani be held accountable for violating service conduct rules and citizens’ rights? Part 35


Is Narendra Modi right in going back to Aadhaar?


(Gopal Krishna is member of Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL), which is campaigning against surveillance technologies since 2010)

Shashikant Chaudhari
6 years ago
We indians also do things for foreign countries which is outlawed in India,,for example beef export to foreign countries though it is out lawed in our country.Hence how it can be wrong for Safron doing it.What is independence if we still have to look at foreign countries to run our country.Are you suggesting that laws are re to be made in foreign and we just have to ratify it? that to without any change.In India ,We Indians like to do what majority wants.and that is democracy.We dont think that all what happens in western world is democratic tradition.Or constitution is different.Have anybody heard different laws for male and female citizens except India.We do.have you heard any country differentiating between their own nationals for govt jobs,Parliament,Military,Education,,nowhere,,but we do.Because we are different.
7 years ago
This article is nothing but rhetoric. The author should have done more research on Aadhaar. The frivolous points mentioned here have been taken as-is from cheap news websites and tv channels who are miles away from reality. If the author is so sure about the issues then he should either file RTI or in the worst case file a police complaint.

I request everyone to appreciate the great work that is happening in India.
irfan ahmed
7 years ago
Within India, the real person behind aadhaar is not Nandan Nilekani or Narendra Modi, it is Pranab Mukherjee who launched it as Finance Minister and Mukesh Ambani without any legislative mandate. Mukherjee, Ambani and Nandan are yet to subject themselves to biometric profiling. It seems Modi is innocent. He got conned into it by his advisors.
Shashikant Chaudhari
Replied to irfan ahmed comment 6 years ago
Irfan Sahab,,
Mukherji,Mukesh bhai & Nandan are having passports so they have allready given biometrics.If Hon Supreme Court allows seeding of Aadhaar and Passport they will have to apply for Aadhaar even if they did not want to.Moreover Aadhaar is voluntary.
S K Nataraj
7 years ago
First , let the authorities arrange to send the Aadhaar Cards by Regd. Post. We have seen umpteen reports about Aadhaar cards lying unclaimed at
Post Offices and in a few cases lying scattered across roads.
When an identity purpose scheme is launched, should it not have been done with proper safeguards as to it's despatch, ensuring each applicant getting the card 100%? This is one of the biggest failures of Nandan's planning process? Will anyone applying for a passport agree if the passport were to be sent by ordinary post? Have you heard of any passport lying unclaimed at any of the post offices, or lying scattered on the roads in any part of the country? I wonder what the Director of UIDAI and other senior officials think about this? There is no planned way they have gone about in the matter of Aadhaar Registration. It has simply been haphazard and totally unplanned.
Coming to Banks and Aadhaar linkage, I am very certain that it will be a disaster. Banks will not be able to handle direct benefits transfer, and this is going to become the biggest scam in the country, with hundreds of crores of rupees not going into the rightful accounts, and being siphoned off by unscrupulous people/agents/others.
In any new scheme , a lot of planning has to go into the effort, and all loopholes need to be plugged, so that the scheme will be robust, and will serve its stated purpose. None of this seems to be have been worked out in the case of Aadhaar.
Shashikant Chaudhari
Replied to S K Nataraj comment 6 years ago
Natarajan Sir,
Subsidy payments are done through National Payment Authority electronically.Banks had already issued debit cards for withdrawl.
Next is UIDAI is not executing project without Planning,, otherwise 93 crores would not have Aadhaar.Govt policy restrained J & K,All north eastern states,Tamilnadu,W.Bengal,Odisha were kept out of Aadhaar by UAIDAI.These states are under control of NPR ,,which is different project.UAIDAI has nothing to do with it..In these states Govt district Collectorate is responsible for isue of Aadhaar.Probable reason seems border area and large concentration of illegal immigrants.
Shashikant Chaudhari
Replied to S K Nataraj comment 6 years ago
Natrajan Sir,
Passport is paid facility ,,Aadhaar is not,,hence prime responcibility is for government to to co operate.through Post.Do you suggest that Post office throws away all letters?.If this was the case,why they would have transported to destination in first place.Government documents are to be posted free of cost.How ever I suggest that It shoud be posted in Brown Envelopes.& there should be charge for postage,throgh courier and other documents pricessing fee to expediate the delivary,,,VOLUNTARY Ofcourse.
7 years ago
Very clearly Mr. Modi and this government too is effectively doing what it pleases. I think the honeymoon period is coming to an end. We the middle class will have to get together to get our rights else the system will continue to screw the silent and the non organised. The rhetoric of Mr. Modi will start to wear thin if the approach of this government continues as it currently is.
irfan ahmed
7 years ago

u forgot about UK, Australia, France, USA and China in the list. why did they abandon biometric ID. ur conclusion is flawed. governments which r willing to submit their citizens as guinea pigs for experiments by biometric companies have indeed gone for it. Pakistan handed over its biometric ID database to US agencies refer to Wikileaks interview with Imran Khan (refer to wikileaks website). Greece citizens database was stolen. refer to Reuters report. Fate of Philippines-- Biometric ID card refer to the order of Philippines Supreem Court. do some research. it is readily available on web. ur faith in unscientific biometric aadhaar database is misplaced. did discover BJP become enlightened after elections about aadhaar. it misled citizens during its election by saying it considered aadhaar to be a fraud.
Ram Das
7 years ago
Mr. Gopal Krishna asks a rhetorical question
"How many countries in West Asia have a biometric ID database like Aadhaar, National Population Register (NPR) and digital identity? What are its ramifications for nations’ sovereignty?"

Let me count larger countries in West & south East Asia with biometric ID and database
1. Pakistan -- biometric ID card & database
2. Bangladesh -- Biometric ID card & database
3. Malaysia -- Biometric ID card & Database
4. Philippines-- Biometric ID card and Database
Shall we add National ID card to this list?
1. China
2. Indonesia
3. Singapore
4. Korea
5. Vietnam
Shall we try going West of Pakistan?
Iran (national ID w/o biometric)

Conclusion: Nearly all have national ID. Half of them have biometric. Several have moved to biometric in the last ten years. Example: Malayasia (2012), Bangladesh (2008).

Mr. Gopal Krishna: please do some internet research prior to writing your article.
irfan ahmed
Replied to Ram Das comment 7 years ago
Independent MPs who are not slaves of political parties wonder aloud as to what will be the ramifications of FDI in defence and Database creation for sovereignty. How about transferring India's Census work to Accenture, Ernst & Yound and Safran the way Germany handed it over to IBM in 1930s & enjoy the music
Ram Das
7 years ago
Dr. Gopal Krishna's rants if nothing else are entertaining.
Take for example:
"Admittedly, the bio-metric Aadhaar database is being stored on a cloud, which is “beyond national jurisdiction”. In fact, it is under the US jurisdiction and beyond India’s jurisdiction."
Fantasy 1: Aadhaar database is stored on a [public] cloud.
Fact: Aadhaar database is stationed in two datacenters managed by UIDAI in BLR and Delhi.

Fantansy 2: Even it is stored in the cloud, it does not imply that it is under US jurisdiction.
Fact: There are hundreds of private clouds in India and thousands in rest of world that are beyond US jurisdiction. Please pick up a primer on Cloud.

But I forget. Dr. Gopal Krishna is not interested in fact based logic. His rant is clear " Down with the US imperial pigs and their lackeys".
Replied to Ram Das comment 7 years ago
Mr Ram,

kindly get your facts and references right.

Refer to Nandan Nilekani's speech as UIDAI chairman wherein he claims,
"Fundamentally I think Aadhar
solves a number of problems. First
, for many people it is a first ID
which is on the cloud". http://www.cuts-international.org/30thAn...
7 years ago
Supreme Court has been turned into "Old Moses" from "Animal Farm. A Bogey Man to be used when it is convenient and ignored when not. There are mosques howling their "Aaazan" at all odd hours of the day through amplified megaphones. There are "speed bumps" constructed on every other high way by the local panchayats. High Courts find ways to ignore Supreme Court judgements as they do the law of the land. India is law less. The Constitution itself makes it so by enshrining casteism and communalism while proclaiming the state to be "secular" along with several other imaginary things. The only secular forces in India are corruption and inflation yet every politician demands that religions must be secular while the laws and government themselves are not!
sohan modak
7 years ago
I hope that Modi Government does not commit the foolishness of moving against the Supreme court. And then, where are Meenakshee Lekhi, Piyush Goel, Subramaniam Swamy? Looks like the God complex has hit Modi and his consort.
7 years ago
Supreme court verdict is based on current laws. We need to pass the UIDAI bill in parliament to make it a law.

Inspite of all the BJP political rhetoric, Modi has realised this alone can eliminate corruption in India . Aadhar will change India like nothing has ever and the digital India can only be made on the Aadhar back bone,
I imagine a scenario where all assets are linked to Aadhar , every piece of land will have an Id linked to Aadhar no, every building, every bank account, every demat account, every vehicle ownership Id, every commodity account, Insurance policy , PAN ACCOUNT, PF ID and anything else which can be classified as an asset. When someone builds up any asset the source of funds shall be sought

All passports, medical records on the cloud linked to health insurance policy, educational records shall all be on a repository on the cloud, no need to show paper copies and attest them and employment and office attendance records, school records, criminal and jail records shall all be Aadhar linked. We can become a , corruption free nation by digitising all assets.
Ramesh B Mhadlekar
Replied to JACOB THOMAS comment 7 years ago
Who cares now a days for SC decisions,such decisions are violated blatantly by RBI and nobody raises a hue and cry over it.I do not think SC will object to such violations,Is desh mein sabi kuch chalta hai.SC decisons have to be followed by law fearing small and ordinary people not the highly educated or powerful persons.This country needs Saudi laws for the betterment of country,corrupt would die because of Heart attack only,if Saudi laws are introduced in this country.
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