How Making Aadhaar Compulsory Violates Our Fundamental Rights

Lately, there has been an active discussion about the implementation of Aadhaar card on various levels. Be it the welfare generating government schemes or simply applying for renewal of a passport, the centre is trying its best to make the Aadhaar card mandatory rather than voluntary.

Why use this sneaky tactic when we already have an ID system in place?

In the month of March, under the money bill, an amendment was made that mandated the declaration of the Aadhaar number while filing your income tax returns on or after July 1, 2017. For those who fail to do so, the government will have full right to cancel their permanent account number.

This raises a pertinent issue of privacy laws that our Constitution is supposed to provide us with, but to our surprise, there is nothing of such nature that exists. Therefore, we are already are in the middle of a crisis wherein being under the government’s mass surveillance has left us with literally nowhere to go.

When the highest of the country’s institutional bodies – which is responsible for framing laws to provide justice, which claims to be representative of the people of the country – willfully ignores their grievances and their pleas, it seems that its accountability has withered. They need to remain accountable to the people of this nation and also their own conscience.

Image Credit: Arun Sharma/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Being part of this gigantically diverse country of billions, when the Centre makes such a decision regarding Aadhaar, it truly exemplifies a generalised laid back attitude and a lack of proper sense of responsibility. Perhaps this has something to do with this generation experiencing digitalisation and social media which might make them care less? There is a lot of buzz on social platforms with the youth raising concern regarding this case of utter bigotry shown by the centre in the form of the ordinance of Aadhaar card.

But the major setback would be to those children who will be denied midday meals for not having attained Aadhaar cards after June 30, 2017,  in UP, followed by other states in the country. The government of this country, the parliament and the judiciary, remain tight-lipped. The privileged classes sit in their air conditioned rooms with all the luxuries in life. Meanwhile, we continue to have 31% of the world’s poor kids. On top of it, we are making sure that the government beneficiary schemes existing in this country become futile.

The central government is not only violating the mid-day meal scheme but 11 other schemes along with it. This includes the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan and the Right to Education Act. Education should be a fundamental right of every child from 6-14 years of age. The party that had opposed the very idea of the 12-digit unique identification number has completely taken a u-turn in its stand after coming into the power.

This suggests an agenda of exclusion and coercion, in a possible attempt to make the government schemes that are supposed to be free from any conditioning – and whose sole purpose is to benefit citizens who are in dire need of it – useless.

The most vulnerable of the country continue to remain agonised till date. This draconian amendment by the centre to make Aadhaar compulsory throughout the country show a lack of concern for its weaker classes.

There have been major goof ups. The data of millions of citizens have been leaked online accidentally and made available for possible hackers to extract data from and use it to indulge in criminal activities. A recent such mishap was in Jharkhand, where 1.4 million pensioners had their bank accounts linked to their Aadhaar numbers. Their personal details are now freely available.

The surveillance of the masses and without taking their consent and our lack of seriousness in fighting for our basic privacy rights – which do not exist in the first place – is melancholic.

A fine line of clarity needs to be drawn via stringent laws that define the terms of government intervention into the usage of data that belongs to the citizens of this country.

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