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Aadhaar hearing: Kapil Sibal uses Narendra Modi’s Davos speech in Supreme Court to assail Centre’s scheme

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New Delhi: West Bengal on Tuesday used Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech at Davos that one who controls data would control the world to assail in the Supreme Court the ambitious Aadhaar scheme, saying the Centre would control personal information of citizens to have a grip over them.

The Mamta Banerjee government was putting forth its arguments before a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra which is hearing a clutch of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar scheme and the enabling 2016 law.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Opening Plenary during the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Reuters

Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the opening plenary during the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Reuters

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the West Bengal government, referred to parts of Modi’s recent speech at the World Economic Forum at Davos.

“Whoever controls data is the most powerful and can shape the world,” Sibal said quoting the prime minister. Using the statement to buttress his submissions against the Aadhaar scheme, Sibal said it meant that “who controls data in India will control India” and the state will use the power like “never before”.

He told the bench, also comprising justices AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan, that Aadhaar was nothing but the Right to Information of the State and the question was can it be held as constitutional?

“The answer is ‘no’,” Sibal added.

He said that it was the most important case to be decided by the apex court since independence and it was not the issue as to how much money the government was going to save, rather, the key point was whether citizens can be deprived of their fundamentals rights including the right to have choices.

“Digital world is far more susceptible to manipulations than the physical world,” he said, adding “no legislation can or should allow an individual’s personal data to put at risk”.

Sibal further said that no technology was safe and moreover, no assurance can be given that personal data of citizens would remain safe in digital space.

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“Biometric, core biometric and demographic information of an individual is irretrievable once it becomes part of the digital world,” he said, adding that such information, if put in digital domain, were like “genie which is out of the bottle” and can never be put back.

He said that the digital world was a vehicle to benefit “information economy” and the present move of the government in the form of Aadhaar would create an architecture of “an informational polity having “far-reaching consequences impacting most of personal rights which are constitutionally protected”.

Referring to provisions on deactivation of Aadhaar, Sibal said, “what kind of power is this? This is the power to cause civil and digital death (of a person).”

He gave an example of a woman being denied widow pension on the ground that she does not have Aadhaar and said, “I am entitled for widow’s pension because of my status and my entitlement has noting to do with my identity.”

The bench said the constitutionality of a law has to be judged on generality of cases and not on exceptional cases. “How does the court decide what level of risk is proper or not? Should the court get into this or should it be left to the legislature,” the bench asked.

Sibal would resume his submissions tomorrow. Earlier in the day, senior advocate Shyam Divan, who appeared for those opposed to Aadhaar scheme, referred to a report on deaths caused due to starvation in Jharkhand as the ration cards of the victims were not linked with Aadhaar and said that the issue pertained to exclusion, death and dignity.

These reports were about “extreme situations” and in a democracy, there has to be an element of choice and Aadhaar should not be imposed, he said, adding there were other ways to weed out leakages in welfare schemes.

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Divan said persons, who cannot authenticate identities under the scheme, are often treated as “ghosts” and this cannot be tested on the parameters of fundamental rights.

He said once an individual is enrolled, he is not allowed an opt-out and a person should be given a right to opt out, if he finds out that his biometric data is being misused.

“Many people, who now wants to opt-out had said that there was no genuine informed consent at the time of enrolment or they were not even aware that there is need for consent..,” he said.

Citizens’ data have been made available to private firms for commercial purpose and architectural design of UIDAI was such that it has very little control over this, he said, adding that there is no fiduciary relationship between the individual and the person collecting the data.

The bench took an example of credit card fraud and wanted to know whether this can be possible with Aadhaar. It is possible to hack into these systems, which are not as secure as the central depository, Divan responded.

“Some of these leaks can be plugged but the basic architectural design of UIDAI is faulty and biometric data is easily compromisable,” he said.

Referring to an RTI reply, Divan said that enrolment of 6.23 crore people for Aadhaar was rejected because of duplicates as the UIDAI system works on robabilistic system.

Divan concluded his submissions and said the State may say that “I will choose to recognise you only in this manner, otherwise you cease to exist? The body cannot be used as a marker for every service”.

The apex court had on 15 December last year extended till March 31 the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar with various services and welfare schemes of all ministries and departments of the Centre, states and Union territories.

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India

Pregnant Woman Gives Birth To Child At Hospital Gate

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Another act of apathy on behalf of the doctors came to light in the Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh where the doctors denied treatment to a pregnant and she delivered a baby beside the hospital gate. A video on this issue has become viral questioning the infrastructure available in Government hospitals and the indifferent attitude of doctors towards the poor patients. So far no response has been received from the hospital authorities on this issue.

Unnao district was in news recently when 40 people were tested HIV positive due to the usage of an infected syringe by a local doctor in the town. The current issue highlights the carelessness in the medical field in the town. Unnao district is a transit point for truck drivers and many of them are said to be dislodging themselves at this place.

Pregnant Woman Gives Birth To Child At Hospital Gate

So, there are more chances of HIV being spread from various places to this area. According to the statement of a Councillor in that area, there are as many as 500 cases of HIV positive in that area if proper tests are done. Uttar Pradesh Health Minister ordered an immediate enquiry in this case.

 

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Entertainment

After Rani Padmaavat, It Is Now Rani Lakshmi Bai’s Turn

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Queen Kangana Ranaut has been working hard on the sets of her new film, Manikarnika. The movie is directed by Krrish, Telugu young director who National Award winning film, Kanche and also historical fiction, Gautamiputra Satakarni last year. He got this offer after successfully completing the movie Gautamiputra Satakarni in less budget and in planned number of days.

Baahubali writer, Vijayendra Prasad wrote the screenplay of the film and it is said to be one of his dreams to write a movie on the great warrior queen.

Kangana Ranaut completed almost 90% of her work for the film. Soon, the movie theatrical trailer and songs will be released to kick start the promotions. The movie is initially planned for an April release but it could release in the month of June, due to few delays in the shoot.

Karni Sena took the baton of promoting Padmaavat by protesting the release of the movie. They disrupted the shoot, slapped Sanjay Leela Bhanshali and even warned the makers to not release. They made the Governments of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana, Bihar ban the movie from release.

Went to Supreme Court to stay the movie release and once, it released they burnt the buses and free screens in huge malls. After all that, they recently agreed their mistake and announced that they mistook the intentions of the makers. Now, they have asked Governments of various states to show the film to everyone.

Sarwa Brahmin Mahasabha decided to do the same for Manikarnika. Till today, they haven’t raised any objections, but now they are saying the makers are planning to destroy the image of great Queen by showing her having a relationship with a British officer. They are demanding that the movie should be shown to them first and then only it should release. The makers have made it clear that they took Government permission and submitted the draft early for no objection certificate.

READ  Ranbir Kapoor, Varun Dhawan or Sidharth Malhotra - pick your date for Valentine's Day!

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Ranbir Kapoor, Varun Dhawan or Sidharth Malhotra – pick your date for Valentine’s Day!

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Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and we are sure couples are busy planning their romantic dates already. 14th February is celebrated all over the world and you can literally feel the love in the air. While many believe it’s a bit cliched and you don’t need a day to proclaim your love for special someone. There are others who don’t mind enjoying it with their partners and make them feel loved. The couples will definitely have a reason to celebrate and plan some candlelight dinners with a bouquet of roses as a customary ritual and gift, the ones who are single and ready to mingle shouldn’t be disappointed either.

With a bunch of our dashing B-town boys who are pretty single, there can never be a reason to be sad and heartbroken. While popular names like Shahid Kapoor, Ranveer Singh and even Sushant Singh Rajput are already taken, there are others who are still available. And we bet, if given a chance, you, too, will love to date them on Valentine’s Day. What if we ask you to chose your date between Ranbir Kapoor, Varun Dhawan or Arjun Kapoor? Whom will you pick? Tough question, right? Well, we can help you with it. We elaborate on who’s an ideal choice and the reason why you should date them.

Ranbir Kapoor

Ranbir Kapoor is easily the most eligible bachelor in town. He’s smart and his droopy eyes can make any girl go weak in her knees. If we have to name someone Prince Charming, Ranbir is the only name that comes to our mind. Also there has to be a reason why beauties like Deepika Padukone and Katrina Kaif have dated him in the past. His charm has a long lasting effect, even on divas, and this itself should motivate you enough to vote for him.

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Varun Dhawan

They say girls like humour and they love guys with good comic timing. Who else but Varun Dhawan fits in this category? We have already seen him ace the comic genre with hits like Judwaa 2 and Main Tera Hero. Varun is funny and quite the boy of every girl’s dream. And last but not the least, he’ll give you numerous reasons to flaunt your million dollar smile on any given day.

Sidharth Malhotra

When we say tall, dark and handsome, there’s only name that fits the bell – Sidharth Malhotra. He is incredibly stylish and his boyish charm works wonders on girls. His athletic physique, on the other hand, makes us swoon over him. Apart from his good looks, his coy smile and infectious persona should be the major reason for you to pick him as your date for Valentine’s Day.

Aditya Roy Kapur

Have you seen Aditya Roy Kapur’s hot bod? If yes, you won’t need a reason to not see him as your Mr Right. And to top that, he has dimples. Yes we say it again ‘DIMPLES.’ What else do you even need? Shah Rukh Khan is unfortunately taken and apart from him, Aditya is the only actor who has such cute dimples. SRK fans can pick him up right away.

Arjun Kapoor

You always need a good friend in your partner and Arjun Kapoor can be one. He’ll listen to you when you want him to and advise you, if need be. He’s the kind of guy you take home to meet your parents. There’s no better partner than a best friend. And always remember, your best friend can be your partner but seldom can your partner be your best friend. After all Shah Rukh Khan had once said, ‘Pyaar Dosti Hai.’

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So go ahead and pick your Valentine’s date. Here’s hoping may the best guy win.

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