January 2, 2019
Saugata Roy opposes the introduction of The Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill
Madam, under Rule 72(1) of the Rules and Procedures, I oppose the introduction of The Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill. The reasons are given below.
The Bill is in contravention of Supreme Court judgement dated September 26, 2018 in Justice AS Puttuswamy v/s Union of India in WT-Civil no. 494. The judgement restricted the use of Aadhaar for only such things which have the colour of a subsidy and which are paid out of the consolidated fund of India. Further, the judgements explicitly prohibits the use of Aadhaar by private parties by declaring Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act, 2016. These apply to either voluntary or mandatory Aadhaar based on authentication by private entities.
The present Bill proposes amendments to the Aadhaar Act, Telegraph Act and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, which will in effect circumvent the Supreme Court judgement and allow the continued use of Aadhaar-based KYC authentication by private entities for mobile and banking services, respectively.
Problematic clauses of the Bill are:
Firstly, Clause 7 of the amendment to Section 4 of the Aadhaar Act, mandating authentication of Aadhaar number holder for provision of any service.
Secondly, Clause 24 to the amendment of Section 4 of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1986, allowing any licensed telecom service provider to conduct an Aadhaar-based authentication.
Thirdly, Clause 25, inserting a new Section 11(A) in the PML Act, 2002, which allows banking companies to conduct Aadhaar-based authentication for offline verification. The Bill may allow private entities to hold the Aadhaar data in disregard of Supreme Court judgement which required all agencies to delete Aadhaar authentication laws.
Fourthly, privacy and security concerns related to Aadhaar remain unaddressed. We highlight here that while private entities were allowed us of Aadhaar-based KYC, there were several reports of fraudulent transactions of scanning of citizen’s personal data as well as personal wealth.
Fifthly, the Bill has been brought without stakeholders’ consultation hence the amendments should be thoroughly studied.
Sixthly, we apprehend that the Government may once again take the Money Bill route to move these amendments in Parliament despite the warnings provided by Supreme Court and a cross-section of political parties. We worry that the Government’s primary interest is in maintaining the status quo on Aadhaar that is, ensuring that it can be used by public while paying disservice to Supreme Court direction and the concerns of the general public.
In the light of the above, I beg to plea that this Bill is outside the legislative purview of the House, in that it violates the Supreme Court judgement. Hence, this Bill should not be introduced and I strongly oppose the introduction of the Bill under all laws possible.