Aadhaar Card Is No More An ‘Amigo’ – High Time To Understand!
Democracy In India
Democratic form of government is a citizen oriented form of government, in which citizens rest the supreme power to decide their leader and are provided with varied rights and duties. Not even the Government can exploit the citizens because of these rights. All these facts have turned mere ear-pleasers as according to Economist Intelligence Unit, democracy in India has become flawed. There can be a number of instances recalled to justify this statement but here I will bring forth one instance, which in my opinion needs to be brought under scrutiny at present and that is ‘Aadhaar Act 2016’. This Act is directly linked to Right to Privacy, which is our Fundamental right. According to this Act, Aadhaar Card will become a nationalised identity proof and will be needed to carry out every activity in the nation. So far, so good. It also includes linking of Aadhaar Card with our bank accounts, sim cards, social media accounts, etc. When we consider this fact, there occurs some kind of insecurity in the minds of people, which is genuine. But a fact to be vigilantly observed is it will be a future event, so for now it can’t be imposed on the citizens at least till 31st March, 2018.
Do Petitioners Outcast Opponents?
A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court against the implementation of Aadhaar Act. In the recent hearing, both the parties presented their points. The petitioners talked about their concern regarding the security of biometric data, which is extremely sensitive as it includes the finger prints and iris scans that can be easily misused. Moreover, they were worried about linking Aadhaar with every basic right as government can easily switch off the 12-digit number and completely destroy the individual. They compared this situation to ‘civil death’ of an individual. The opponents made their point that the Government needed the data to know the statistics of the potential people for welfare schemes and understand if the benefit of the schemes was actually reaching them. This statement was satisfactory but clearly there were loopholes, which were unanswered when talked about security of data if opponents lost the case. Moreover, it was brought forth the Court that if Aadhaar Card becomes mandatory then, every person should get all the facilities without neglecting anyone and this task won’t be a piece of cake as it looks to be.
The petitioners stated that the Government could track and in some way influence an individual’s behaviour, which was completely unconstitutional. It infringed Right to Privacy of an individual. Also the Government was giving access of the sensitive data to the private sector, which can be extremely dangerous for the citizens and the country indeed.
Continuation Of Discrepancies
The loopholes in the mechanism have been observed for a long period of time and every time, they are shrugged away by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), leaving the citizens in doubts. A Democracy includes the unique characteristic of criticising any policy, not with the motive to malign it but to find repercussions and correct them, so that the end result is positive. But in this case, the meaning of Democracy is clearly misunderstood. Recently, a tribune reporter was allowed access of biometric data of a number of people for a minimal amount through the official Aadhaar website. It was later denied by the authority and an action was taken against the reporter. Many such instances have taken place in the past which makes every Indian question the validity of this mechanism. But not in a single case a valid answer is provided regarding the execution of a certain mechanism that will secure the data, rather calls are being made to every person, who has not yet linked Aadhaar to do so soon.
Aadhaar Act Is One Of A Kind
Globally, no country has a mechanism like ours. Even if some countries have Government issued identity proofs, there are some restrictions on it to avoid exploitation of its citizens. No identity proof encapsulates biometrics of its individuals. Private sector is not given any access to this data in any way. But here, we ourselves are giving away our information not as a matter of choice but as obligation. A number of international agencies have spoken against this step taken by the government. Recently, Snowden, an American whistleblower, tweeted about Aadhaar and called it as ‘an improper gate to service’ and went to the extent of pleading the nation to criminalize it. He also pointed out issues regarding the security of data. When internationally people are able to observe certain fishy things we too need to keep an open eye.
Almost everybody dreams but only some have the capability to make them a reality. Thus, execution plays a big role, mere planning won’t do any good. Authorities are responsible for taking their citizens into confidence and then implement plans in a right manner. Also when we proudly say that India is the biggest democracy, then let’s not undermine democracy by not being aware of our rights as it provides the power to decide to the citizens. Let’s remain constitutional and not make India a state of a dictator. Whether to wait for a verdict for the act or not lies completely on the citizens, do ponder on it.