British Government Admits Unlawful Monitoring Of Lawyers And Clients Communications By Intelligence Agencies

British Government Admits Unlawful Monitoring Of Lawyers And Clients Communications By Intelligence AgenciesIllegal and unlawful e-surveillance is very common in countries like United States, United Kingdom and India. All these countries have been managing many e-surveillance oriented projects even at the cost of Human Rights violations. Their operations have become omnipresent and pervasive and even Judiciary of these countries has become helpless. India has taken this exercise at a level that even U.S. and U.K. cannot match. India has launched the ultimate and unconstitutional e-surveillance tool named Aadhaar and has created a “Digital Panopticon” named Digital India.

There is a universal lack of parliamentary oversight of intelligence agencies and this has given them a free hand to indulge in illegal and unconstitutional e-surveillance and eavesdropping. Google has already opposed the proposal to expand the FBI’s search warrant powers but at this point of time civil liberty activists and technology companies are fighting a lost battle. This is so because there are no laws at place that can make the governments and their agencies accountable for their wrongs. Even many companies have little respect for civil liberties and cyber security of their end consumers. Of course there are some companies like Microsoft that have adopted a robust cloud privacy framework to protect the privacy of its customers.

Communications between two individuals or entities are presumed to be private and confidential and the government and its agencies have no business to eavesdrop the same. This is more so in case of “privileged communications” like those taking place between a lawyers and his client. In shocking news it has been reported that U.K. intelligence agencies have been monitoring conversations between lawyers and their clients for the past five years in an unlawful manner and the U.K. government was well aware of the same. This has happened because there is no international recognition of Human Rights in Cyberspace as on date. Even United Nations has failed on this front to protect Human Rights of citizens in cyberspace.

Recently a British court ruled that the U.S. – U.K. surveillance regime was unlawful for seven years. This means that the regime has also failed to comply with the European convention on human rights. U.K. government is already facing a trial where it has been accused of unlawfully intercepted conversations between lawyers and their clients. The case is due to be heard before the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT). It is being brought by lawyers on behalf of two Libyans, Abdel-Hakim Belhaj and Sami al-Saadi, who, along with their families, were abducted in a joint MI6-CIA operation and sent back to Tripoli to be tortured by Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2004.

A government spokesman said that the intelligence agencies would now work with the interception of communications commissioner to ensure their policies satisfy all of the UK’s human rights obligations. Nevertheless the incidence is sufficient to raise questions about violation of right to fair trial of the victims. A draft interception code has also been recently published to streamline interception related issues. The government spokesman said the draft code set out enhanced safeguards and provided more detail than previously on the protections that had to be applied in the security agencies handling of legally privileged communications. The draft code makes clear that warrants for snooping on legally privileged conversations, emails and other communications between suspects and their lawyers can be granted if there are exceptional and compelling circumstances. They have to however ensure that they are not available to lawyers or policy officials who are conducting legal cases against those suspects.

We at Centre of Excellence for Protection of Human Rights in Cyberspace (CEPHRC) believe that similar protections must exist in India where there is no constitutional lawful interception law in existence. There is an urgent need to bring intelligence agencies reforms in India so that civil liberties of Indians can be safeguarded.

Smart Cities Cyber Security And Civil Liberties Issues In India And Their Management

Praveen Dalal-Managing Partner Of Perry4Law And CEO Of PTLBIndia is embracing the concept of Digital India and electronic delivery of services to its citizens. This is a noble intention but its actual implementation requires strong and effective techno legal framework. Digital India and initiatives based upon it cannot be successful till the foundation of Digital India itself is strong, legal and flexible. Unfortunately, Digital India project is not only suffering from many shortcomings but it is also heading towards rough waters.

Digital India is also closely related to the Internet of Things (IoT) concept. India has issued the Draft Policy on Internet of Things (IoT) (PDF) and a Revised Draft Policy on Internet of Things (IoT) (PDF). The IoT Policy of India is yet to be finalised and implemented after analysing and incorporating the public suggestions and inputs.

Smart Cities is another promising project of Indian Government to make urban cities technology oriented. While this is a fancy idea yet its implementation is not free from challenges. For instance, India has been using e-governance for delivery of public services for long. However, cyber security of e-governance services in India is still not upto the mark. This would make the proposed Smart Cities also vulnerable to sophisticated cyber attacks and cyber crimes. So before establishing Smart cities in India, Indian Government must take care of various techno legal challenges that are still not managed by India.

There are many cyber security challenges before the Narendra Modi Government that have to be addressed on a priority basis. A quick analysis of the National Cyber Security Policy of India 2013 reveals that it is suffering from many shortcomings. There are no Cyber Security Disclosure Norms in India that may require individuals and companies to share details of cyber attacks and cyber breaches. There is also an urgent need to formulate the Cyber Security Policy of India 2015 as the Cyber Security Trends are very alarming in India. Even there is no implementable Telecom Security Policy of India as on date and telecom related issues are getting complex day by day.

However, Indian Government and other stakeholders have also initiated many good projects to facilitate public delivery of services through e-governance and use of information and communication technologies (ICT). For instance, an E-Police Station in Delhi has been established that would register online FIR for motor vehicle theft cases of Delhi. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has also decided to set up an IT Subsidiary to deal with technology related banking issues. The Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) of SEBI would address cyber security issues as well. The Grid Security Expert System (GSES) of India has also been proposed by Indian Government. Indian Government has also banned private e-mail services for official communications in Government Departments. Indian Government would also launch Internet Safety Campaign very soon to spread awareness about cyber security among various stakeholders. However, the best effort of Indian Government via-a-vis cyber security is the appointment of Dr. Gulshan Rai as the first Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) of India by the Prime Minister Office (PMO) of India. This would definitely strengthen the cyber security infrastructure of India.

Another area of concern regarding Smart Cities would be protection of Civil Liberties in Cyberspace where India is lagging far behind than its International and Constitutional Obligations. Recently the Supreme Court of India has asked for a clarification from the Central Government regarding Privacy Invasive Software and Mobile Applications. India has no dedicated Privacy and Data Protection (PDF) laws. Privacy protection in the information era has to be ensured by Narendra Modi Government for the success of Smart Cities in India. Privacy Right is a Human Rights and not a Government Charity that must be protected by the Narendra Modi Government. Narendra Modi Government has made Digital India the “Biggest Panopticon of Human History” by clubbing it with Illegal and Unconstitutional Aadhaar Project. The Indian Government is making the Aadhaar Compulsory even if the Supreme Court has clearly declared on multiple occasions that Aadhaar cannot be made mandatory. Even the Indian Parliament and Judiciary are indifferent and submissive to these Illegalities of Digital India and Aadhaar Projects.

The Smart Cities project of Indian Government has both negative and positive aspects. It is for the Narendra Modi Government to remove the negative aspects and stress more upon the positive and development aspects. I hope and wish that this would be the approach of Narendra Modi Government regarding Smart Cities in India.

Source: Global Techno Legal News And Views.

Digital India Must Address Civil Liberties And Cyber Security Issues Urgently

Praveen Dalal-Managing Partner Of Perry4Law And CEO Of PTLBThe Digital India project has been launched with extraordinary publicity and fanfare. Undoubtedly a project of this mega nature and importance deserves to be taken seriously but so must be its shortcomings and illegalities. While the benefits of Digital India have been portrayed elaborately yet its shortcomings have been either ignored or poorly put forward. As a result the digital India project is facing severe civil liberties and cyber security issues.

As has been rightly said, we all are systematically, continuously and vigorously brainwashed with daily doses of social media and other forms of publicity regarding the digital India project of Indian government. However, when it comes to critical analysis of the digital India project, they are severely censored in India. Even the facets of digital India like smart cities are suffering from violation of civil liberties issues and facing dangers of inadequate cyber security.

In this post, Praveen Dalal has wonderfully analysed the shortcomings of digital India project that must be removed by Indian government. He believes that digital India is biggest panopticon of human race the moment it is clubbed with e-surveillance tool named Aadhaar.

According to Dalal, Digital India is a very ambitious and significant project by Indian Government. However, it is also suffering from some “Shortcomings” that have still not been tackled properly. As a result the Digital India project is heading towards rough waters and may face many legal and technological challenges in the near future.

I would not discuss all these shortcomings in this article but am focusing on a particular problem that has taken the shape of a “Civil Liberties Violations Menace”. Yes I am talking about the E-Surveillance and Eavesdropping aspects of Indian Government projects like Central Monitoring System (CMS), National Intelligence Grid (Natgrid), Internet Spy System Network and Traffic Analysis System (NETRA), National Cyber Coordination Centre (NCCC), etc. To make the matter worst, Indian Government has been postponing Intelligence Agencies Reforms for many decades.

However, nothing can beat the draconian e-surveillance project named Aadhaar that has been designed to take a complete control over the digital lives of Indians. Surprisingly both the Indian Parliament and Supreme Court of India are watching helplessly while the Executive branch has usurped the “Legislative Powers” and literally mocked all sorts of Judicial Review.

Take the example of the interim order (PDF) issues by Supreme Court of India mandating that Aadhaar cannot be made mandatory for availing various public services. Although Central Government has informed the Supreme Court that Aadhaar is not mandatory for availing public services yet it has been made compulsory for almost all the digital and non digital services in India. As a result a wonderful project like Digital India would be heading for rough waters if our Judiciary is even “Remotely Sensitive” to Civil Liberties Violation issues.

This is also not the end of the story. When everything is clubbed with Aadhaar, it gives a complete control to our E-Surveillance loving Government over our digital and non digital lives. There is nothing left to claim Informational Privacy from our own Government. Privacy is our Human Right and not a Government charity and it should not be taken away with direct or indirect methods.

What is most anguishing is the “Deafening Silence” of the Parliament of India and Indian Supreme Court to resolve these issues. Why Parliament has abdicated its “Legislative Powers” in favour of the Executive and why Supreme Court has not taken the Executive stringently cannot be explained with any rationale explanation. However, in the absence of exercise of their “Constitutional Duties” we can safely conclude the “Separation of Powers” under the Indian Constitution has “ceased to exist” in the present and turbulent E-Surveillance era of India.

Digital Panopticon Of India And The Submissive Parliament And Judiciary

Digital Panopticon Of India And The Submissive Parliament And JudiciaryDigital India is a project that is of tremendous significance if implemented properly. However, due to its shortcomings, Digital India may become the most controversial project of India till now. The worst part about Digital India project is that it has become the Digital Panopticon of India that also without any parliamentary oversight and judicial review.

In fact, Digital India is being implemented in actual contempt of Supreme Court that has directed (PDF) that Aadhaar cannot be made compulsory for government services. Indian government has informed the Supreme Court that Aadhaar is not compulsory for government services but the truth is that Aadhaar has been made compulsory for almost all the digital and non digital services of Indian government.

So bad is the situation that Twitter is censoring dissenting tweets regarding Aadhaar as well. Aadhaar is a subject that is heavily censored in India and any sort of dissent is immediately censored by platforms like twitter.

However, Supreme Court itself is responsible for this situation as it failed to declare the e-surveillance project Aadhaar as unconstitutional.  Both Parliament of India and Indian Supreme Court have failed to fulfil their constitutional duties to protect the Fundamental Rights and Human Rights of Indian Citizens in this regard.

As a result unconstitutional and illegal biometrics collection is happening in India without any sort of control and reasonableness. Digital India has become the Digital Panopticon of India because our parliament and Judiciary has not done what the constitution fathers have mandated them to do.

Aadhaar Project Is A Heavily Censored Subject In India

Aadhaar Project Is A Heavily Censored Subject In IndiaThere are very few areas where Congress and BJP Governments can act alike. Aadhaar project is one such area where both Congress and BJP have acted and reacted similarly. Neither Congress nor BJP has paid any heed to civil liberties protection in cyberspace. Both Congress and BJP have made and used Aadhaar as an e-surveillance tool meant for social exploitation. Both Congress and BJP have been instrumental in getting tweets and other public contents regarding Aadhaar censored and removed from Twitter and other websites, including Google search and news results. This is the reason why a dedicated platform was launched by us to keep a tab upon various forms of censorship activities by technology companies and social media websites in India.

The most commonly censored fields in India include intelligence agencies related subjects, Aadhaar project, NCTC, news, etc. However, Aadhaar related topics have been consistently censored by almost all companies in India. The latest in this series is the censorship of Aadhaar related tweets at Twitter. We also suspect that tweets pertaining to Digital India are also censored by Twitter to give a positive look to the initiative while removing all the negative reviews and views about the same. We are investigating into this aspect as well.

Twitter is a micro blogging platform that must respect views from both sides. Merely because a view is critical is no ground to censor or demote the same. Twitter needs to maintain a “neutral” point of view instead of obliging the Indian Government.

Aadhaar has been portrayed as a panacea to all troubles in India but in reality it is an endemic e-surveillance tool in the hands of Indian Government that must be immediately declared unconstitutional by Supreme Court of India. Both Central Government and States are making Aadhaar compulsory by direct and indirect means. But before the Supreme Court, Central Government has maintained that Aadhaar is not mandatory that statement is apparently misleading and false.

If voices of dissent are suppressed in the manner Twitter and other companies are doing, then what is the purpose of running such websites and social media platforms? We are further analysing this situation and would come up with more detailed report, if required.

Human Rights Protection In Cyberspace Must Be Internationally Recognised

Praveen Dalal-Managing Partner Of Perry4Law And CEO Of PTLBHuman Rights and Civil Liberties are witnessing a precarious time where the respective Governments of various Nations are least concerned about them. Governments and their Agencies are openly engaging in Illegal and Unconstitutional E-Surveillance and Eavesdropping. Since there is no clear cut “International Obligations” on the part of our respective Governments to the contrary, these Governments are absolutely free to do whatever they want. The only solace can be found in the form of the text approved by the United Nations regarding Right to Privacy in the Digital Age.

This situation is further made worst due to Conflict of Laws in Cyberspace that allows the Nations to adopt and use their own Policies regarding E-Surveillance and Eavesdropping. Take the example of India. There is nothing like Civil Liberties Protection in Cyberspace in India. On the contrary, India is one of the most Endemic E-Surveillance Nation of the world. India has been engaging in numerous Illegal and Unconstitutional E-Surveillance Project that also without any Parliamentary Oversight and Judicial Scrutiny. The Privacy Rights in India in the Information Age have no meaning as we have no dedicated Laws in the fields of Privacy and Data Protection (PDF).

As on date, Mass Surveillance in India is omnipresent. For instance, projects like Aadhaar, Central Monitoring System, Network and Traffic Analysis System (NETRA), National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID), National Cyber Coordination Centre (NCCC), etc are E-Surveillance Projects that are not supported by any Legal Framework and Parliamentary Oversight. In fact, Vodafone has confirmed that India has been using “Secret Wires” in the Telecom Infrastructure to indulge in E-Surveillance. Indian Department of Telecommunications suppressed the whole incidence with a mere assurance of “Investigation” that never took place. As per my personal information, no “Public Report” was made available in this regard by Indian Government so far.

Intelligence Agencies like GCHQ and NSA intercepted and stored webcam images of millions of innocent Internet users. The Command and Control (C&C) Servers of Malware FinFisher were found in 36 Countries, including India. There are also strong grounds to believe that India and United States are collaborating on Illegal and Unconstitutional E-Surveillance and Eavesdropping. There is an urgent need to take up the issues of Civil Liberties Violations at the International Level among various stakeholders.

A good initiative in this regard has been taken by the Hague Institute for Global Justice. The Hague Institute has constituted a High Level Commission known as the Commission on Global Security, Justice and Governance (PDF). The official website of the Commission states that Humanity is facing unique and growing range of challenges like political violence, environmental decay, cyber insecurity and cross-border economic shocks. These issues have global security and justice implications that need urgent attention but far exceed state and global institutional capacities.

To overcome this capacity deficit, The Hague Institute for Global Justice and the Stimson Center have convened a Commission on Global Security, Justice, and Governance. The Commission also brings together a select group of eminent statespersons and public intellectuals to draft and recommend reforms in this regard that would be considered during the 70th Anniversary Summit of the United Nations in September 2015.

This can be a good opportunity to consider and debate about Civil Liberties Protection in Cyberspace by various Nations. There is an urgent need to bring Transparency, Accountability and Parliamentary Oversight of the Illegal and Unconstitutional E-Surveillance activities of various Nations, including India.  The United Nations and its Affiliates/Agencies can play a pro active role in this regard.

I hope and wish that the Commission on Global Security, Justice, and Governance would consider all these issues so that Governments can behave in a “Responsible and Accountable Manner”.

E-Surveillance Projects Of India Need Parliamentary Oversight And Judicial Scrutiny

Praveen Dalal-Managing Partner Of Perry4Law And CEO Of PTLBThe National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) Project of India is an intelligence related project of Indian Government that is intended to give Intelligence Agencies a “Centralised Access” to information of Indian Citizens/Residents. It is part and parcel of other Centralised E-Surveillance Projects of India like Central Monitoring System (CMS) Project of India, Internet Spy System Network and Traffic Analysis System (NETRA) of India, Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) Project of India, Aadhaar Project of India, etc. All these Projects are operating without any Legal Framework and without any Parliamentary and Judicial Scrutiny.

Although the BJP Government has not decided about the fate of National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) of India yet it is supporting the NATGRID project. BJP seems to be following the Congress tradition of Non Transparency and Non Accountability regarding Law Enforcement Agencies and Intelligence Agencies of India. Conferring any sort of Legal Immunity upon such Agencies would further complicate the scenario.

It is not the case that BJP Government is not aware of these circumstances. However, BJP has preferred not to take any action in this regard and this may create serious “Constitutional Issues” in the near future. Indian Citizens, Organisations and Entities are also well within their “Constitutional Rights” to refuse to cooperate with these e-Surveillance Projects as a compliance with illegal demands of projects like NATGRID, CCTNS, CMS, NETRA, Aadhaar, etc would  make them liable for various Civil and Criminal Liabilities. Similarly, Privacy Rights in India and their violations would also raise serious “Legal and Constitutional Issues”.

Recently Banks in India refused Aadhaar based authentication for banking purposes. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has also postponed the implementation of biometric authentication for credit card swipe machines and ATMs due to protest by Banks of India. Now Banks in India refused to give direct access to NATGRID Project of its Customer’s Details.

Indian Laws and Polices are heavily leaning in favour of Illegal E-Surveillance, Phone Tapping and Eavesdropping. For instance, there is an urgent need to repeal the Telegraph and Cyber Law of India. There is also an urgent need to formulate a Lawful and Constitutional Interception Law of India as Phone Tapping in India is widely done in an Illegal and Unconstitutional Manner. E-Surveillance Policy of India is also required to be formulated that can specify the modes, manner and scope of E-Surveillance in India.

The Telecom Policy of India and Telecom Security Policy of India must also be aligned with the Constitutional Protections and must be clean from E-Surveillance Oriented Approach. India’s International E-Surveillance Collaborations must be subject to “Constitutional Restrictions and Judicial Scrutiny”. India has been using Illegal E-Surveillance and Secret Wires to indulge in Surveillance related activities. Even the claim of investigation by Indian Department of Telecommunications (DOT) regarding Government Snooping Allegations by Vodafone proved to be a Sham and Façade only as no “Public report” has been shared by DOT and Indian Government in this regard so far. The matter seems to have been “Put Under the Carpet” forever.

Clearly Illegal E-Surveillance, Phone Tapping and Eavesdropping would continue to exist in BJP led regime and Indian Citizens must protect their Civil Liberties in Cyberspace and real space on their own.

Supreme Court Of India Must Immediately Declare Aadhaar Project As Unconstitutional

PRAVEEN-DALAL-MANAGING-PARTNER-OF-PERRY4LAW-CEO-PTLB4Any Government holds the Public Resources in a “Fiduciary Capacity” as a Trustee for the future generation. This is the gist of the Public Trust Doctrine that is frequently applied by Courts around the World while dealing with Environment and natural resources related issues. Can this Doctrine be applied to “Public Money”? I believe it should be made applicable to the hard earned Public Money as well that is given to our Government in the form of various Taxes.

Can Politicians misappropriate Public Money through corrupt means and deposit the same in foreign banks out of the reach of Indian Government? Can Indian Capital be kept out of the reach of Indian Government so that it is not used for Development and Reforms in India? Can Indian Government spend enormous financial resources upon Projects that have no Parliamentary Oversight and are actually violating the protections conferred by the Indian Constitutions?

We all know that the answers to these questions cannot be anything except No. Still all of these Evils and Corrupt Practices are happening in India. When the latest BJP led Government was formed, the Supreme Court of India directed it to Constitute and Notify a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe Black Money deposited in Foreign Jurisdictions. The same we promptly done by the Narendra Modi led Government and I really appreciate this “Alacrity and Commitment” of Modi. Now the SIT has been constituted and it has already started functioning.

On the one hand India has recovered $310 million from Finmeccanica helicopter deal while on the other hand a sum of Rs 2,039 crore has been granted in the budget for the Aadhaar Project. India terminated the helicopter deal in January 2014 citing a breach of integrity after allegations of bribery emerged in Italy against executives at Finmeccanica’s helicopter unit. Surprisingly, the Modi Government did not find anything wrong with the Aadhaar Project that has already consumed thousand of Crore of hard earned Public Money without any Parliamentary Oversight, Transparency, and Accountability.

Those who have wasted Crore of hard earned Public Money upon the Illegal and Unconstitutional Aadhaar project must be made answerable to Indian Courts as soon as possible instead of granting further funds to the Aadhaar. This is giving a “Negative Signal” that “Constitutional Norms” are just Paper Words and the Powerful are simply beyond the reach of “Rule of Law”. This is also giving an indication that Politicians are beyond the Scrutiny and Reach of Indian Courts. This is a “Dangerous Trend” that has to be stopped immediately by the Supreme Court of India.

The only solaced for the Modi Government is a promise to formulate Legal Framework for the Aadhaar Project. However, this promise must not face the similar fate as witnessed during the Congress led Government. Even if the Modi Government succeeds in formulating a Law for Aadhaar Project, the same must be Just, Fair and Reasonable. It should not be of the type suggested by the Congress Government as that would not pass the “Test of Constitutionally” before the Supreme Court of India.

The Aadhaar Project is suffering from many “Vices and Illegalities”. These include Civil Liberties Violations, Unconstitutional E-Surveillance Issues, Data security and Cyber Security Issues, Compulsory Nature of Aadhaar, Unaccountable Intelligence Agencies, Foreign E-Surveillance Threats, Telecom Security Issues, Integration with Surveillance projects like NATGRID, Unconstitutional Biometrics Collections, etc. All these aspects make the Aadhaar Project an Unconstitutional Project that was required to be Scrapped by the Modi Government.

The Illegality of Aadhaar Project has already been Challenged before the Indian Courts. The Supreme Court of India has even held that the Aadhaar Number/Card cannot be made Compulsory for availing Public Services in India. The Supreme Court has also prohibited UIDAI from sharing Biometric Data with Indian Government Agencies without Data Owner’s Consent. This may have prompted the Modi Government to suggest Legislation for Aadhaar.

Our readers can access the Interim Order of the Supreme Court at Unique Identification Authority Of India And Anr. v. Central Bureau Of Investigation, SLP (Cr) No(s).2524/2014 (PDF).

Among all this Chaos and Illegalities one this is very clear. The current allocation of Public Funds to Aadhaar Project by the Modi Government has been done at a time when there is neither a Parliamentary Oversight nor any Techno Legal Measures to protect Civil Liberties of Indians. Of course, this is a mere allocation at this time and it would be a totally different story if no fund is utilised till the “Constitutional Roadblocks” are removed by the Modi Government. Till that time the funds must be kept intact.

As per media reports, the UIDAI is planning to spend precious 30 Crore of hard earned Public Money on “Convincing Indians” that Aadhaar is a “Welfare Scheme Project”. This is absurd to even suggest much less accepted as Aadhaar has no “Welfare Elements” attached to it whatsoever. From its present form one can easily deduce that Aadhaar Project is a Draconian E-Surveillance Project that has been launched along with other E-Surveillance Projects like Central Monitoring System (CMS), Internet Spy System Network and Traffic Analysis System (NETRA), etc. The fact is that Indian Government, Aadhaar Project and UIDAI are hiding truth from Indians.

Obviously, the Modi Government would approach the Supreme Court of India to make the Aadhaar Number/Card Compulsory for availing Government Services in India. The scenario has already changed in India as Government Departments are insisting upon use of Aadhaar as the “Exclusive Identity” for availing various Schemes and Services from them. They are making Aadhaar Mandatory despite the “Clear Directions” of Supreme Court. This is not only violation of various statutory provisions but is also a “Contempt of Court” as the Supreme Court’s order is binding upon all Government Authorities.

No Government Agency, Authority or Department can dare to flout Supreme Court’s order unless it has backing of Indian Government either directly or indirectly. If Government Departments and Authorities are insisting upon Aadhaar despite Supreme Court orders and the Indian Government is not taking any “Strict Action” against such Government Departments and Authorities, this is a clear indication that the Modi Government is not interested in following the orders of Indian Supreme Court regarding Aadhaar Project.

It is high time for Indian Supreme Court to declare the Aadhaar Project Unconstitutional and scrap the same till it is in conformity with “Constitutional Norms”. It is equally imperative for the Modi Government to not waste even a single Rupee upon Aadhaar till it is clear of various “Infirmities and Illegalities”.

Aadhaar Project And UIDAI May Be Backed By A Legislation To Give It Legitimacy And Legal Sanctity

Aadhaar Project And UIDAI May Be Backed By A Legislation To Give It Legitimacy And Legal SanctityAadhaar project has been suffering from numerous legal and technical infirmities. This has made the Aadhaar project and UIDAI an illegal and unconstitutional project and authority respectively. In its present form Aadhaar project was a fit case for its scrapping by the Narendra Modi government.

However, the Modi government made a policy decision to continue with the Aadhaar project. The government has also shown its inclination to remove the legal infirmities by which the Aadhaar project and UIDAI are suffering. As per media reports the Modi government is planning to formulate a legislation to make aadhaar project and UIDAI legal.

At the same time, Privacy rights in India must also be protected by Modi government. Modi government must not forget that Privacy is our Human Right and not a government charity. Till now the Modi government has not shown any political will to formulate the privacy law of India.

On the other hand, the Modi government has been continuing with unconstitutional e-surveillance projects like Central Monitoring System and NETRA. There is also no indication that Privacy law of India would be formulated soon. In these circumstances, it would be a tough task for Indian government to formulate a legal and constitutionally sound law for Aadhaar project and UIDAI.

It would also be a futile exercise to make a law for Aadhaar project by simply arranging few provisions here and there. The proposed law must be strictly constitutional in nature to avoid legal challenges before the courts. The illegality of Aadhaar project has already been questioned before Indian courts. The Supreme Court of India has already held that Aadhaar cannot be made mandatory for availing public services in India. The Supreme Court has also prohibited UIDAI from sharing biometric data with Indian Government Agencies without data owner’s consent.

Meanwhile, the Modi government may approach the Supreme Court and seek clarification regarding the stay on government’s move to use Aadhaar for availing benefits of welfare schemes and direct benefits transfer (DBT) schemes. Modi has already asked finance minister Arun Jaitley to try and resolve all legal issues surrounding Aadhaar. However, this is not an easy task and there is no sense in launching Aadhaar project before resolving all these issues.

The Modi government’s first budget has allocated a huge amount of public money for the Aadhaar project. However, not even a single rupee must be spent till Aadhaar project and UIDAI are made legal and constitutional. Much public money has already been wasted and the Modi government must not repeat the mistake committed by Congress government.

Narendra Modi Must Scrap Aadhaar Project As Well Along With The Cabinet Committee On UIDAI

PRAVEEN-DALAL-MANAGING-PARTNER-OF-PERRY4LAW-CEO-PTLB4The Aadhaar Project is the most “Obnoxious” and “Evil” Project that Indian Government has been pursuing till now. In my personal opinion, the very foundation of Aadhaar Project is based upon “Lies and Deception” and this Project should have been “Scrapped” long before. However, the previous Government not only deliberately kept this “Illegal and Unconstitutional Project” alive but also wasted crore of “Hard Earned Public Money” on a Project that is clearly Illegal and Unconstitutional.

I still hold the same opinion about Aadhaar Project, i.e. Aadhaar Project must be “Scrapped Immediately” by the new Government. The Truth is that Aadhaar Project has no “Welfare Elements” involved but it is a “Purely E-Surveillance Project” that is operating in great disregard to “Constitutional Rights” of Indian Citizens.

Fortunately, the Constitutional Validity of Aadhaar Project has been questioned in the High Courts and Supreme Court of India. The Supreme Court has even held that Aadhaar Card/Number cannot be made mandatory for availing public services in India. The Supreme Court has also prohibited UIDAI from sharing biometric data with Indian Government Agencies without data owner’s consent. Even a Parliamentary Committed rejected the proposed National Identification Authority of India Bill 2010 finding it “Inadequate and Unsuitable”.

What is surprising is that despite all these “Illegalities and Irregularities”, the previous Government did not deem it fit to scrap the Aadhaar Project. Now it is the “Constitutional Duty” of the Narendra Modi led Government to scrap Aadhaar Project as soon as possible. Both the Judiciary and Parliament have shown their “Displeasures” against Aadhaar Project and this is sufficient hint for the present Executive to scrap this Unconstitutional Project.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already scrapped all the Empowered Groups of Ministers (EGoMs) and Groups of Ministers (GoMs). Now it has been reported that Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday scrapped four Cabinet Committees, including one on Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), as part of his efforts to minimise decision-making processes. The Prime Minister will also be reconstituting the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs, the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs and the Cabinet Committee on Security.

This is a “Bold and Good Decision” in the “Right Direction”. The next step should be Scrapping of Aadhaar Project of India as it is a “Remedy Worst than Malady”. Narendra Modi Government must get rid of burdensome projects like Aadhaar and save valuable financial resources for useful public projects alone.