The Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018 (Aadhaar Amendments Bill) was passed by the Lok Sabha with very little debate and scrutiny. The DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2018 (DNA Bill) was similarly passed in the Lok Sabha with no amendments despite concerns raised and despite requests to refer the Bill to a Standing Committee. There are now suggestions that the government is likely to break from tradition and go beyond passing a Vote on Account in the upcoming Budget Session by listing the aforementioned bills for discussion and passing in the Rajya Sabha in the final session of this Parliament.
The Aadhaar Amendments Bill allows the use of the biometrics-linked 12-digit ID for commercial purposes, including banks and mobile services. This is in blatant violation of the Supreme Court judgment which prevented the use of Aadhaar by the private sector. There are also reports that Aadhaar may be linked to voter IDs. The DNA Bill allows for the creation of a widespread DNA database of Indian citizens, without specifying the purpose for which it may be used, how long it will be kept.
Over 260 organisations and concerned citizens across the spectrum of Indian society have written (read the letter) to the Vice President of India, who is also the Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha, and the Prime Minister demanding that both these bills be subjected to greater scrutiny by the Rajya Sabha by sending them to appropriate Parliamentary committees. Among the signatories are:
Petitioners in the Aadhaar case that was before the Supreme Court, such as Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey, Shanta Sinha, Devasahayam M G, Dr. S. G. Vombatkere and others
Eminent jurists including Justice V. S. Dave (Retired High Court Judge and former Chairman of Rajasthan Law Commission), Indira Jaising (former Additional Solicitor General of India), Prof. G. Mohan Gopal (Former VC, National Law School University, Bangalore and Former Director, National Judicial Academy, Bhopal) and Professor G Haragopal (Visiting Professor, NLSIU, Bengaluru)
Around 40 former civil servants including Rahul Khullar, Former Chairman, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)
Politicians - Yogendra Yadav (Swaraj Abhiyan) and Raghavendra Rao (Secretary, Bhosari Vidhan Sabha, Aam Aadmi Party, PCMC, Pune)
Indian armed forces and veterans: Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat (former Chief of the Naval Staff of India)
Jayati Ghosh, Satish Deshpande, Aditya Nigam and several other academics
Journalists and writers (P. Sainath, Nityanand Jayaraman, Rohini Hensman and many others)
Various kinds of artists - filmmakers (Anand Patwardhan) and musicians (Charul Bharwada and Vinay Mahajan)
Trilochan Sastry and Jagdeep Chhokar (who are IIM professors and Founding members of the Association for Democratic Reforms), Anand Teltumbde (who has been a management professional) and Prof. Varun Arya (Formerly President, IIT Delhi Alumni Association & Secretary, IIM Ahmedabad Alumni Association)
Numerous activists and prominent members of civil society like Farah Naqvi, Deep Joshi, Ashish Kothari and Swami Agnivesh
Organisations / collectives: Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA), the National Center For Labour, INSAF, Citizens Forum for Mangalore Development, the Forum Against Oppression of Women, Mumbai and more
It is very important and urgent to get the message out to leaders of all political parties and MPs of the Rajya Sabha that these bills MUST be sent to the appropriate Parliamentary committees for expert testimony and citizen inputs. Bypassing such process pose a threat to citizens democratic rights.
Please tweet “Send the Aadhaar Amendment Bill and DNA Bill in the Rajya Sabha to the Select Committee” @MVenkaiahNaidu, @narendramodi, @RahulGandhi, @AIADMKOfficial, @MamataOfficial, @yadavakhilesh, @Naveen_Odisha, @NitishKumar, @ncbn, @trspartyonline and other leaders of political parties.