Usha Ramanathan is an independent law researcher and one of the leading critics of Aadhaar
I am disappointed with today’s verdict. I was hoping that the court would come on the side of the people. I think they have bought the marketing gimmick of the Aadhaar that it is build to benefit the poor. The biggest problem faced due to this (decision) is the people living in poverty.
There have been many cases in the past when a person has been denied benefits because he did not have Aadhaar linked to some documents. Many people even have died of hunger, and families of deceased sewage workers denied compensation because Aadhaar was not linked. Data suggest that 6 per cent of the finger prints and 8 per cent of the iris has not worked even once.
You impose a technology that is insecure, that is untested which is not working The government claim that the poor has benefitted from the programme is inaccurate and misrepresent the whole project … the majority have treated welfare as if it doesn’t come within the context of rights. The fundamental understanding that what the people of the country are entitled to , is what has been misread by the majority. I see in the judgment a continuity of their relationship. Courts are relatively independent, but they see themselves not coming in the way of the state. I have a certain sympathy with a majority of judges that they don’t get what the technologies does and what these people are behind it. We need a whole vision as what tech is doing to our life.
Today, I find many people are anxious about technology. We also know that this project was something that was promoted by the companies and used the coercive power of the state. The collaboration between the corporate and state is that the government will collect all the data which becomes an identity platform on which business will be built. The state also took the money bill root to pass the act. If money bill route is taken to cut down our liberties, then it is highly problematic. The state surveillance is not going anywhere. The court didn’t even ask about state surveillance. We raised this concern but it does not resonated with the majority.
They said that the state will keep the data safe but there have been many instances of fake ID generation. I view that point raised Justice D Y Chandrachud will open new doors for discussion about the topic in future. In our constitutional history, minority stand over the time has become the majority voice.