Any 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”.