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Sign the REthink Aadhaar pledge

The Unique Identity Authority of India, the agency holding the UID/Aadhaar database, has enroled over a billion people into the system. In fact, the government is leaving no choice but to enroll all future generations by making Aadhaar mandatory for essential services like food, education and health care.

 In 2015, the Attorney General in the case of K.S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India, even argued before the Hon’ble Supreme Court that there is no right to privacy under the Constitution of India. The Hon’ble Court was persuaded to re-examine the basis of the right to privacy upsetting 45 years of judicial precedent.

On March 11, the government passed the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 on a short notice as a money bill, in the Lok Sabha when only 73 of 545 members were present.

Its timing and introduction as a money bill prevented necessary scrutiny given the large risks of exclusion of millions and privacy risks that arise under it. This version of the Act was never put up for public consultation and was rushed through without adequate discussion. The Rajya Sabha’s specific recommendatory amendments (including, on allowing an Opt-out clause in Aadhaar) were disregarded completely. The Aadhaar Act doesn’t have sufficient safeguards, while making Aadhaar mandatory for availing any government subsidy, benefit, or service.

Aadhaar Act, 2016 impacts all citizens of India and has been passed without consulting them or a large number of their representative, while at the same time this Government has said in the Supreme Court that we, the people, have no fundamental right to privacy. Aadhaar Regulations, introduced in September 2016 allow the government to suspend anyone's Aadhaar number without even a prior notice or mandatory hearing, provide poor grievance redressal, and fix no accountability of the Unique Identification Authority of India for Aadhaar errors and its problems. The Aadhaar Act does not allow an individual legal remedy, as only UIDAI has the authority to approach a court for an offence under the Act.

We call upon the government to: Repeal the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016, and Aadhaar Regulations that are in parliament;

And demand that the government cannot make Aadhaar necessary to avail any government benefit, subsidy, or service which a person is otherwise entitled to.

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