*Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL) *

*Press Release*

*Legal compulsion forces UGC, Central Govt. to revise “mandatory
UID/Aadhaar” order, it remains voluntary *

*Revision order vindicates position of CFCL and eminent citizens who have
issued Statement of Concern and Public Statement*

* & Haryana High Court questioned legality of 12 digit biometric
UID/Aadhaar Number, Central Govt. agreed  *

*Role of Registry of the Supreme Court crucial and relevant for compliance
with the order of Chief Justice headed five Judge Bench *

*UIDAI CEO shares half truths with State Govts, Media and citizens  *

September 16, 2016: Responding to letters of Citizens Forum for Civil
Liberties (CFCL) to Chief Justice of India, Union Minister of Human
Resource Development and Secretary, University Grants Commission (UGC) and
contempt applications in the Supreme Court, UGC has “clarified that any
student who have applied or wishing to apply for scholarship/fellowship
shall not be denied benefit thereof due to non availability of Aadhaar
No./Card.”  The revised PUBLIC  NOTICE dated September 14, 2016 is
available  at http://www.ugc.ac.in/pdfnews/7057426_UGC-Clarification-reg-

CFCL had sent the attached letters on August 26, 2016, July 12, 2016 and 2nd
July, 2016 drawing their attention towards order dated 15.10.2015 passed by
the Supreme Court of India in the ‘UID/Aadhaar’ matter, i.e. *Justice
(retd.) K.S. Puttuswamy *v. *UOI & Ors.*, WP (C) No. 494/2012 and related
petitions. *The order is attached for your perusal and consideration*. The
circular of UGC which is in manifest violation of Hon’ble Court’s order is
available at http://www.ugc.ac.in/pdfnews/4792000_Aadhaar-.pdf. *The CFCL
letters to the concerned authorities are attached*.

AADHAAR/ UID scheme is presently under challenge before the Supreme Court.
After hearing the parties has passed a series of interim orders starting
the 23rd September 2013 and the last of which was passed on October 15,
2015 *inter alia*, states as follows.

*4. We impress upon the Union of India that it shall strictly follow all
the earlier orders passed by this Court commencing from 23.09.2013. *

*5. We will also make it clear that the Aadhaar card Scheme is purely
voluntary and it cannot be made mandatory till the matter is finally
decided by this Court one way or the other.*

In the related case the Hon'ble Supreme Court in SLP (CRl) 2524/2014 *Unique
Identification Authority of India* Vs *CBI* passed an order dated 24.3.2014
which reads as follows: *“More so, no person shall be deprived of any
service for want of Aadhaar number in case he/she is otherwise
eligible/entitled. All the authorities are directed to modify their
forms/circulars/likes so as to not compulsorily require the Aadhaar number
in order to meet the requirement of the interim order passed by this Court
forthwith. Tag and list the matter with main mater i.e. WP (C) No.

All the orders of Supreme Court are still in force as per Court's order of
15th October, 2015 and they will remain in force till the time court itself
does not waive them. *The Court’s order makes it clear that UID/ aadhaar
remains voluntary. *

Therefore, no one can be asked to produce UID/ aadhaar for disbursement of
all Government subsidies/Scholarships/Fellowships which are to be disbursed
directly into the beneficiaries' account.

In view of the above mentioned facts, UGC and central government is under a
legal compulsion to revise its illegitimate and illegal orders fearing
Court’s action in the face of violation of its unambiguous order.

It is noteworthy that legality of UID/Aadhaar has already been questioned
by Punjab & Haryana High Court.

In a setback to efforts to bulldoze UID/Aadhaar and related schemes,
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 was withdrawn. In its order the Punjab and Haryana
High Court bench of Justice A K Sikri, Chief Justice and Justice Rakesh
Kumar Jain dated February 19, 2013 had noted that the petition “raises a
pure question of law.” Since the Executive Order was withdrawn, the case
too was disposed of March 2, 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." It is further observed in the order that
“Second issue raised in this petition is that vide order dated 5.12.2012,
respondent No.3 i.e. Deputy Commissioner, U.T., Chandigarh has given
directions to the Branch In charge Registration-cum-Accountant, office of
Registering & Licensing Authority, Chandigarh not to accept any application
for registration of vehicle and grant of learner/regular driving licence
without UID card.”

It is noteworthy that Secretary Government of India, Ministry of
Communication and Information Technology wrote a letter to the Secretary,
Department of Defence Production asking him to introduce Aadhaar enabled
Biometric Attendance System in the department of defence production. The
system would enable an employee with an Aadhaar number to register his/her
attendance (arrival/ departure) in the office through biometric
authentication. It also says that a web based application software system
will enable online recording of attendance and that the dash board relating
to real time attendance and related statistics, can be viewed by everyone.
It is clear that this transforms a “voluntary” project into a mandatory

Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), Ministry of Electronics
and Information Technology (MeitY) [formerly Ministry of Communications and
Information Technology] has been misleading the State Governments, media
and the citizens.

Meanwhile, Ajay Bhushan Pandey, Chief Executive Officer, UIDAI has claimed
that “At least from the UIDAI side, we have not said it shall be
mandatory.” If it indeed true that UID/Aadhaar is not being made mandatory
by UIDAI then MeitY should withdraw its letter to Secretary Department of
Defence Production and other departments, agencies and State Governments.  If
it does not do so with immediate effect else it will demonstrate that it is
fibbing by articulating equivocal and questionable statements.

Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL) had sent a legal notice to the
Central Government. It responded stating, “Aadhaar is being used for Biometric
Attendance System and this does not form part of Defence application”.

Government will have us believe that there is no difference between
“age-old attendance register” and UID/Aadhaar enabled Biometric Attendance
System. It is eminently clear that UIDAI is sharing half-truths with State
Governments, media and the citizens.

In order to comprehend the sophistry involved in such averments, it is
germane to recall the intervention of National Human Rights Commission
(NHRC) in the case wherein Indian students in USA were made to wear radio
collars. NHRC ensured that the government acted to ensure that the human
rights of students are protected. It is germane to note that radio collar
is based on biometric data like voice print. If making Indian students wear
biometric radio collar constitutes an act which Government of India
admitted as an act of violation of human rights, indiscriminate biometric
profiling is also an act of violation of human rights. As per Section 2 (G)
of Aadhaar Act 2016, “biometric information” means photograph, fingerprint,
Iris scan, or any other biological attributes specified by regulations.
Thus, it clearly includes biological attributes like voice print and DNA.

If UID/Aadhaar enabled Biometric Attendance System is indeed a “digital
equivalent” of “age-old attendance register”, why did NHRC object to radio
collar which can also be argued by sophists to be “digital equivalent”. If
the “digital equivalent” means biometric equivalent as well then it makes
DNA based identity and attendance will also be deemed equivalent to
“age-old attendance register”. It is quite evident that such is deeply

Coincidentally, NHRC’s views on National Identification Authority of India
Bill, 2010 (Aadhaar Bill, 2010) helped Parliamentary Standing Committee on
Finance in its recommendation to trash the Bill and the biometric data
based UID/Aadhaar programme.

The fact is that the application of biometric UID/Aadhaar was restricted to
‘civilian application’ and was not meant for defence application. Central
Government’s Biometrics Standards Committee had categorically stated that
UID/aadhaar’s is meant only for “civilian application” but the order on
aadhaar enabled biometric attendance system has been extended to defence
employees as well.

It is evident that Central Government has illegitimately and illegally been
trying to make UID/Aadhaar Number mandatory by making it structurally
irreversible outwitting Court’s directions although the very first promise
which legally questionable UIDAI made in its UID/Aadhaar Enrolment Form
is/was that it is “free and voluntary”. Government’s notification of
September 12, 2016 also underlines it. The fact is that it is neither free
nor voluntary. It is not free because the foreign companies involved are
admittedly charging Rs 2.75 per enrolment. Central, State Governments and
other agencies have been illegally seeding UID/Aadhaar in their IT systems
to make it structurally mandatory. It is only Court’s order that has kept
UID/Aadhaar “voluntary.” *Earlier government had tried unsuccessfully to
make even disbursal of judges’ salary conditional on UID/Aadhaar. *

Such attempts to make UID/Aadhaar have emerged as an act of bullying by the
government agencies and turning citizens into subjects by making right to
have inalienable, natural, fundamental and constitutional rights
conditional on biometric identification.

The revision of the UGC’s order by central government ahead of the upcoming
hearing in the Supreme Court vindicates the position of CFCL and eminent
citizens who have issued Statement of Concern and Public Statement seeking
halting of UID/Aadhaar project. This revision reveals that the central
government, state governments and other agencies who have been attempting
to make it mandatory have been manifestly been wrong.

Although Constitution Benches have started sitting since January 15, 2016
after your intervention, birth of Constitution Bench UID/Aadhaar Number
case continues to experience labour pains. Court’s website as of September
16, 2016 states that UID/Aadhaar case is a “Five Judges Matter” but among
the 10 Constitution Bench cases listed for hearing, it finds no mention
despite the fact that a five judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India
wrote, "Since there is some urgency in the matter, we request the learned
Chief Justice of India to constitute a Bench for final hearing of these
matters at the earliest". Unless these words are accorded due respect and
attention, the meaning of the words of Court will lose their gravity.

The role of Registry of the Supreme Court in ensuring compliance of the
order of Chief Justice headed five Judge Bench is quite crucial and
relevant in this regard.

In view of the “urgency” admitted and recorded by Court’s Bench of five
judge headed by Chief Justice of India to the biometric UID/Aadhaar Number
case, it appears inappropriate that even as the apex Court is to determine
the legal status of UID/Aadhaar, Indian residents are being coerced to
accept 12 Digit Biometric UID/Aadhaar Number as a *fait accompli. *

Following the revision order of central government, there is a logical
compulsion for withdrawing the letter and all consequential letters by
which UID is made applicable to defence application i.e. Department of
Defence Production in the interest of supreme national security.

Central Government has kept State Governments in a dark about its
transnational linkages and implications the latter are yet to realize that
UID/Aadhaar project is a grave threat to federalism as well.

Under the tremendous influence from unregulated and ungovernable technology
companies, Central Government and State Governments have failed to
safeguard national security and citizens’ inalienable rights.

It is possible that such civilian and non-civilian applications are being
bulldozed by some commercial entities in order to store and read biometric
and DNA script of Indian population in the aftermath of the sequencing of
Human Genome for epigenetics, medicine, big data, social control,
inheritance, eugenics and genetic determinism.

*For Details*: Gopal Krishna, Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL)*,
Mb: 09818089660, 08227816731, e-mail-1715kris...@gmail.com

 *Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL) has been working on the issue
of Unique Identification (UID) Number branded as “Aadhaar” since 2010. CFCL
appeared as an expert to give testimony in front of Parliamentary Standing
Committee on Finance which examined the National Identification Authority
of India Bill, 2010 (Aadhaar Bill, 2010). A series of articles on the
subject are available at http://www.moneylife.in/author/gopal-krishna.html

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Attachment: CFCL's Letter to UGC 2nd July 2016.docx
Description: MS-Word 2007 document

Attachment: CFCL's Letter to Union HRD Minister 12 July, 2016.docx
Description: MS-Word 2007 document

Attachment: CFCL's Letter to Hon'ble CJI AUGUST 26, 2016.docx
Description: MS-Word 2007 document

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