Petitioners complete pre-act chronology: Day 1 of arguments over; hearing will resume tomorrow
Petitioners complete pre-act chronology: Day 1 of arguments over; hearing will resume tomorrow
SD: the UK abandoned its identity system beacause it was "unsafe, untested.... and could be a threat to personal rights." (still quoting the Standing Committee)— Gautam Bhatia (@gautambhatia88) January 17, 2018
United Kingdom revoked it biometric database, petitioner tells SC
SD points to the Committee's observation that the United Kingdom revoked its national biometric database.— Gautam Bhatia (@gautambhatia88) January 17, 2018
Justices AK Sikri and DY Chandrachud seek to know how is the Aadhaar biometrics system different from the biometrics for US Visa?
Ensuring Aadhaar data is not misused not enough to grant it legality, petitioners argue in case
Justice Chandrachud asked that if the government ensures that Aadhaar data is used only for the purpose it is collected, will it address the concerns raised by the petitioners. To this the petitioner's lawyer replied that the design in itself is bad as it allows State domination. Shyam Divan further argued that the problem is not that whether the State is actually tracking its citizens or not but the fact that the Aadhaar makes it possible.
Aadhaar alters the relationship between the citizen and the State
Senior Advocate Shyam Divan today submitted in court that Aadhaar seems too alter the relationship between the citizen and the State, while diminishing the status of the citizen. All rights, a citizen could earlier freely assert have now been made part of a “compulsory barter”, averring, “The barter compels the citizen to give up his biometrics ‘voluntarily’, unless the number is seeded in databases of the service provider, the citizen is denied access to these most essential facilities. "Inalienable and natural rights are dependent on a compulsory exaction.”
'People's Constitution is being sought to be converted into a State's Constitution'
#Aadhaar case: Senior Supreme Court lawyer, Shyam Divan, appearing for petitioners, told the five-judge Constitution bench that '#Aadhaar may cause death of citizens' civil rights. A people's Constitution is being sought to be converted into a State's Constitution.'— ANI (@ANI) January 17, 2018
Aadhaar act cannot be used to deny basic amenities, rights or benefits, says petitioner's lawyer Shyam Divan
Collection of crucial biometric data for 7 years illegal, passing Aadhaar act doesn't cure illegality, petitioner tells court
SD: When you are picking up sensitive data for seven years, there must be some standard of governance.— Gautam Bhatia (@gautambhatia88) January 17, 2018
SD says that biometric collection was patently illegal, and that illegality was not cured by the passing of the Aadhaar Act.— Gautam Bhatia (@gautambhatia88) January 17, 2018
Aadhaar a giant electronic leash, says petitioner in court
#Aadhaar: Sr adv Shyam Divan, for petitioners, argues:— News18 Courtroom (@News18Courtroom) January 17, 2018
* Aadhaar may cause death of civil rights of citizens
* State will dominate citizens
* A people's Constitution is being sought to be converted into a State's Constitution
#Aadhaar: Divan adds:— News18 Courtroom (@News18Courtroom) January 17, 2018
* People's rights can't be tethered to a switch
* Aadhaar is a giant electronic leash
* Aadhaar was an advent of all intrusive State which recognises numbers and not people
Arguments to resume at 2.30 PM
Hearing resumes, final arguments in Aadhaar case begins
The final arguments in Aadhaar case begin before the Constitution Bench of Supreme Court. At the start of the arguments, Attorney General sought time bound arguments. A-G reminded the Bench that Ramjanmabhoomi land title dispute case is also scheduled to be taken up from 8 February.
Retired High Court judge and accused IM Quddusi moves CBI court against leak of phone records
#MCI scam: Retd HC judge and accused IM Quddusi moves CBI court against leak of phone records.— News18 Courtroom (@News18Courtroom) January 17, 2018
He seeks probe against those behind the leak, questioning whether CBI leaked records.CBI court to hear case on Jan 22. A website and NGO CJAR have release the transcripts.
Since Supreme Court's 2013 verdict on homosexuality, at least 10 countries have legalised homosexuality
A total of five countries — Uruguay, New Zealand, France, Brazil, and England and Wales — legalised gay sex in 2013. Here is the full report on how the world has changed its views on homosexuality since 2013.
What two recent SC judgments tell us about court's altered view on sexuality and privacy in India
Ajay Kumar writing for Firstpost details that two judgments, one regarding rights of transgender people and the other about the Right to Privacy show that the court's view has changed considerably on sexuality and privacy.
Judges meeting for lunch
India Today reported that the CJI is meeting the judges for lunch. Three of the dissenting judges are present at the meeting. Justice Chelameswar is absent. Justice Bobde and Justice Goel are not present as well.
Hearing to resume at 2.30 pm
Bench rises for lunch. To resume at 2 30. Cheers.— Gautam Bhatia (@gautambhatia88) January 17, 2018
Shyam Divan explains the different aspects of the project
....is causing widespread exclusion all across the country where people are unable to access basic services. And how authentication failures report are unacceptably high.— Prasanna S (@prasanna_s) January 17, 2018
Meanwhile companies are unable to stop themselves from sending informative messages
This is not the way we have you to feel about us. We want to inform you that, we are unable to stop calls and message of Aadhaar linking as it is an informative message.— Idea Customercare (@idea_cares) January 17, 2018
Shyam Divan takes Court through work of the petitioners to counter the State's claims that there are only elitist concerns against Aadhaar
The petitioners include ex-servicemen, social workers, Magsaysay award winners among others.
SD takes the Court through the work and the qualifications of the petitioners, such as Sudhir Vombatkere (35 years in uniform), Bezwada Wilson (founder of Safai Karmachari Angolan)...— Gautam Bhatia (@gautambhatia88) January 17, 2018
Shyam Divan for the petitioners: Aadhaar a system of exclusion
SD: The petitioners before you are people who work in the field. They work in rural India and study rural India. They have found that Aadhaar is operating as a system of exclusion.— Gautam Bhatia (@gautambhatia88) January 17, 2018
Shyam Divan for the petitioners: You cannot live as a citizen of India without an Aadhaar
SD: Effectively today, you cannot live as a citizen of India without an Aadhaar.— Gautam Bhatia (@gautambhatia88) January 17, 2018
Shyam Divan is taking the court through the history of the case
SD: In 2012, many citizens filed PILs against the Aadhaar scheme. In 2013, a two judge bench referred the matter for final hearing, and made it clear that nobody should suffer from lack of an Aadhaar card.— Gautam Bhatia (@gautambhatia88) January 17, 2018
The petitioners' alternative argument
SD: If the Aadhaar Act is upheld, then in the alternative, no citizen should be deprived of any right or benefit for the lack of an Aadhaar card.— Gautam Bhatia (@gautambhatia88) January 17, 2018
Petitioners: The State is empowered with a ‘switch’ by which it can cause the civil death of an individual
SD:The State is empowered with a ‘switch’ by which it can cause the— Prasanna S (@prasanna_s) January 17, 2018
civil death of an individual. Where every basic facility is linked to
Aadhaar and one cannot live in society without an Aadhaar
number, the switching off of Aadhaar completely destroys the
Shyam Divan lays out the scope of the constitutional challenge
Shyam Divan lays out the scope of the constitutional challenge.— Gautam Bhatia (@gautambhatia88) January 17, 2018
Petitioners: The case at hand is unique. There are few judicial precedents to guide us
SD: The case at hand is unique. In part, this is because the programme— Prasanna S (@prasanna_s) January 17, 2018
challenged here is itself without precedent. No democratic society
has adopted a programme that is similar in its command and sweep.
There are few judicial precedents to guide us.
Petitioners argue that if the Aadhaar programme is allowed to continue unimpeded, it will hollow out the Constitution
SD: Through a succession of marketing strategies and smoke and mirrors, the government had rolled out a program designed to tether every citizen to an electronic leash.— Gautam Bhatia (@gautambhatia88) January 17, 2018
Attorney-General KK Venugopal asks for time allotment for arguments
Before Shyam Divan can begin, A-G submits that this is a matter where there are many counsel on both sides and that there should be a time allotment.— Prasanna S (@prasanna_s) January 17, 2018
The Aadhaar bench has assembled in Courtroom 1
Aadhaar bench assembles.— Gautam Bhatia (@gautambhatia88) January 17, 2018
"Tuesday was a sunny day at the Supreme Court after days of clouds over its cohesiveness and probity"
"A new day seems to be in order in the Supreme Court after clouds over its cohesiveness and probity. The CJI should now show the light and redeem the institution's glory by getting all his brother and sister judges along, to end this crisis and convert it into a chance to bring about all necessary institutional reforms," writes Utkarsh Anand on News18.
Main arguments before the court
Livelaw reported that the petitioners argue that details for Aadhaar are collected by private contractors and NGOs hired by UIDAI without any safeguard. This makes them prone to misuse. They claimed that empirical research shows that the biometric identification denoted for UID, namely the the iris scan and fingerprint identification, is faulty and is could be abused.
Five-judge bench led by CJI Dipak Misra will start hearing the Aadhaar case at 11.30 am
A 5-judge bench,led by #CJI,will start hearing #Aadhaar case at 11.30 AM.— News18 Courtroom (@News18Courtroom) January 17, 2018
It will be interesting to see if the #AttorneyGeneral again argues there's no urgency to decide on validity of #Aadhaar now that data protection law is being mulled & a new facial technique is being brought
#AadharMythBuster being used on Twitter to promote Aadhaar
Some policy experts are not impressed with those efforts.
Justice J Chelameswar is not in the Supreme Court today
At a time when who comes to court at what time, who sits late and when there are 'chai or charcha' in the morning: Justice J Chelameswar is not in SC today. And so aren't Court no.7 and 11.— Utkarsh Anand (@utkarsh_aanand) January 17, 2018
Why the Chief Justice's power must be kept in check
The Chief Justice is largely sheltered from public view while exercising his administrative powers, according to Business Standard. The authors write, "This creates an administrative authority, free of many of the constraints imposed on other agencies. The administrative powers of the Chief Justice have grown with time. However, the Court has failed to devise a parallel mechanism to keep a check on these powers... A slew of corrective measures are now required."
Court to take up 29 pleas against Aadhaar
The court will take up 29 pleas against Aadhaar. The final hearing on the pleas challenging Aadhaar comes five years since the first was filed.
Group of private companies bat for use of Aadhaar for eKYC and background verification process
According to an Economic Times report, a petition has been filed by the Digital Lenders Association of India (DLAI) which comprises startups such as CapitalFloat, LendingKart, ZestMoney, IndiaLends as well as early-stage investment firms and companies which provide authentication services and background verifications. These companies are particularly appealing to ensure advantages such as eKYC offered by Aadhaar help a lot in real-time verification of customers.
Legally speaking, the petition is being termed as an 'intervention application' which has yet to be accepted by the SC. There is no clarity on when it will be heard according to legal experts who have spoken to ET.
Number of people issued Aadhaar numbers has increased manifold since SC started hearing Aadhaar petitions
In the five years that the Supreme Court has been hearing the Aadhaar petitions, the number of people issued Aadhaar numbers have gone up from 20-25 crore in 2012 to 119 crore, reports NDTV.
'Aadhaar: Enabling a form of supersurveillance', argues Suhrith Parthasarathy
Suhrith Parthasarathy argues in The Hindu that the government will, no doubt, argue that Aadhaar can bring about many benefits. However any policy, howsoever poorly framed, will likely bring about certain gains. The question is ultimately one of proportionality and justice. Arguing that the government's aim is to create a seamless police state, which will chill our freedom and give the State rampant power he asks whether the Supreme Court will dare to stop this.
Policy expert Alok Prasanna Kumar weighs in on the possible change of bench in the Loya case
A recusal usually is a clear thing "not before [me]" or "a bench not having [either one of the two judges]" or some such thing. This is putting the ball back in the CJI's court over allocation of cases. A mysterious move since no one asked for it. Something's afoot.— Alok ಪ್ರಸನ್ನ कुमार (@alokpi) January 16, 2018
'Aadhaar is an evolving endeavour and UIDAI responsive to public concerns', argues Nandan Nilekani
In an article in the Hindustan Times, Nandan Nilekani argues that the concern about the ‘linking’ of Aadhaar to various services are over-hyped and baseless.
He goes on to insist that we should "applaud the UIDAI for being responsive to the concerns of the public. We need to recognise that providing a unique, secure identification, with instant authentication anywhere, to 1.3 billion Indians is an evolving endeavour."
Major untoward incidents that have happened with Aadhaar
Despite the number of reports over the last couple of years, UIDAI has constantly maintained that the server and the data itself, especially biometric data is safe.
However there are numerous instances where incidents have come up where Aadhaar's secureness has been questioned. These include app-based flaws, disclosures on government websites, third party leaks, sale of data etc. Click here for report on all of these incidents.
Bench hearing Loya case might be changed
The SC order in #JudgeLoya death case is nonetheless 'mysterious'.— Utkarsh Anand (@utkarsh_aanand) January 16, 2018
Has Justice Arun Mishra/MM Shanatanagoudar decided to recuse? Or since no next date of hearing is given, the matter is likely to come up before a different bench in natural course after months? pic.twitter.com/6dxn5WQe7J
Developments in Bofors case could affect Loya case
The Supreme Court made certain observations in the Bofors case regarding who can file a case in criminal matters, reported The Times of India. This could have an effect on the Loya case as all the PILs in the case have been filed by advocate associations or individuals who had no connection with the judge.
RECAP: Judge Loya died due to 'heart attack', no cause for suspicion, says Nagpur Police
The Nagpur Police on Tuesday said that there was no cause for suspicion regarding the death of judge Loya and that he had indeed died of a heart attack.
"Nagpur Police undertook a thorough investigation in this case and his death was due to a heart attack", Shivaji Bodkhe, Joint Commissioner of Police, Nagpur told reporters. "The postmortem, as well as the forensic reports too, confirm the same. There was nothing unusual in the report," he said.
Dipak Misra's olive branch to ‘rebel’ Supreme Court judges may not contain trust deficit in judiciary
Sreemoy Talukdar argued in Firstpost that the nature of the gambit is such that the dissenting judges must take their dissent to its logical conclusion. Any attempts at papering over the crisis or shutting the eyelids closely and hoping the dust storm will subside won't work.
A day after divisions in the Supreme Court burst out in the open on Friday when four senior most judges took an unprecedented step of addressing the media to accuse Chief Justice Dipak Misra of breaching rules in assigning cases to appropriate benches, Attorney-General KK Venugopal said the press conference held by four senior Supreme Court judges could impact public confidence in judiciary.
At a hurriedly called press conference at his residence, Justice J Chelameswar and three other colleagues said the Supreme Court administration was "not in order" and their efforts to persuade Justice Misra even this morning "with a specific request" failed, forcing them to "communicate with the nation" directly.
The four judges — Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Madan B Lokur besides Justice Chelameswar — released a letter they wrote to Justice Misra a couple of months ago, conceding that he was the master of roster but that was "not a recognition of any superior authority, legal or factual of the Chief Justice over his colleagues".
Asked specifically if they were upset over reference of the matter seeking a probe into the suspicious death of Judge Loya, Justice Gogoi said: "Yes."
Judge Loya, who was hearing a case relating to the killing of gangster Sohrabuddin Sheikh in an alleged fake shootout in which BJP chief Amit Shah was named an accused (later discharged), died of cardiac arrest in 2014. His family has raised doubts over the circumstances in which Judge Loya died and have sought an independent probe into it.
Pleas seeking probe came up for a hearing in the Supreme Court on Friday when the top court expressed concerns over it and said it was a "serious issue". It asked the Maharashtra government to produce all the documents related to the case before 15 January.
In a seven-page letter, the four judges said they were not mentioning details of the cases only to avoid embarrassing the institution because "such departures have already damaged the images of this institution to some extent".
The clash among the judges in the highest court also comes in the wake of a controversial order in November in which Justice Misra declared that the Chief Justice "is the master of the roster" having exclusive power to decide which case will go to which judge.
The CJI had given the order a day after a two-judge bench headed by Justice Chelameswar had passed an order that a five-judge bench of senior most judges in the apex court should be set up to consider an independent probe into a corruption case in which bribes were allegedly taken in the name of settling cases pending before Supreme Court judges.
Holding that the Chief Justice was only the first among equals, the four judges contended that there were well-settled and time-honoured conventions guiding the Chief Justice in dealing with the strength of the bench required or the composition thereof.
"A necessary corollary to the above mentioned principle is the members of any multi-numbered judicial body, including this court, would not arrogate to themselves the authority to deal with and pronounce upon matters which ought to be heard by appropriate benches, both composition-wise and strength-wise with due regard to the roster fixed," they wrote in the letter.
They said any departure from the two rules would not only lead to "unpleasant and undesirable consequences of creating doubt in the body politic about the integrity of the institution" but would create "chaos".
The four judges also touched upon another controversial issue, the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) on appointment of judges over which the Supreme Court had locked horns with the government.
The government, the letter said, had not responded to the communication and "in view of this silence it must be taken that the MoP has been accepted by the government on the basis of the order of this court".
Justice Chelameswar told the media that they were "convinced that unless this institution is protected and maintains its requirements, democracy will not survive in the country or any country... The hallmark of a democracy is independent and impartial judges."
"Since all our efforts failed... Even this (Friday) morning, on a particular issue, we went and met the Chief Justice with a specific request. Unfortunately we could not convince him that we were right."
Justice Gogoi said they were "discharging debt to the nation that has got us here".
The government appeared to distance itself from the controversy, saying the judges should sort the issue themselves.
Minister of State for Law PP Chaudhary said: "Our judiciary is one of the known, recognised judiciaries in the world. It is an indepenedent judiciary. At this stage I think no agency is required to intervene or interfere. The Chief Justice and other members should sit together and resolve. There is no question of panic."
The Supreme Court split had an immediate political fallout, with CPI leader D Raja saying after meeting Justice Chelameswar that Parliament will have to device methods to sort out problems like this in the top judiciary.
Two judges, Justice SA Bobde and Justice L Nageshwar Rao, are understood to have called on Justice Chelameswar.
With inputs from IANS
Updated Date: Jan 17, 2018 16:07 PM
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