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Prasanna S @prasanna_s
, 45 tweets, 6 min read Read on Twitter
#Aadhaar hearing continues. Attorney General KK Venugopal commences his arguments for the Union Govt.

He announces the batting line up ...says he will be followed by Rakesh Dwivedi (UIDAI), Jayant Bhushan (RBI) Sr advs and Gopal sankaranarayan appearing for intervenors.
Even as he laments that petitioners have taken almost 19 days, promises to keep the Union arguments as brief as possible.
Says Aadhaar is not an isolated measure but follows a series of measures put in place to solve the problems that Aadhaar solves.

Says Aadhaar is a serious effort..all alternatives such as smart cards were considered and then decisions taken.
A-G asks permission for putting in two LCD panels in SC and get the @ceo_uidai to make a presentation to Court and says he can take an hour and answer any questions on info security that the Bench may have.

CJI asks him first to meet the legal contentions that the Petitioners...

He gives a brief list of 14 points raised..including all usual suspects. A-G agrees it is a good summary.

Some discussion in the Bench.
Sikri J and DYC J think may be it would be better to take the factual background from the CEO. There may be a power point presentation tomorrow.

A-G says at the end they will also show a 4-minute video of the security arrangements in the building etc.
CJI is non commital and asks A-G to begin first. (Me thinks CJI is not convinced it is going to be any useful).
A-G begins with poverty levels at independence; corruption; leakages in welfare etc. Has handed over a note which he is relying on.

Next point is that for a long time till 2016 Aadhaar was purely voluntary and no question of FR violation in that case.
A-G says that there is a long line of decisions that have established under Article 21 various rights including dignity shelter etc..and that Aadhaar is a measure to secure them all.

Sikri J observes that it is a conflict were both parties are invoking Article 21.
CJI paraphrases A-G and says he is basically making the argument of reasonableness.(Me thinks: Is judge-splaining a thing?)
Sikri J says but exclusion and the various affidavits before us puncture the reasonableness claims. May be the ppt will address it he says.

DYC J says poiltical guarantees advance economic rights and not the other way round. Cites the Bengal Famine and Mahrashtra famine...
...contrasts. and why there were more deaths in Bengal famine and how access to information was critical. A-G disagrees and says Bengal Famine was more due to Churchill prioritising war effort.
A-G adament that privacy cannot a sole ground to deny these millions of people other rights.

Bhushan J does not agree with the proposition.

A-G asserts that those two rights have to be balanced and Court to make a value judgment.
A-G earlier mentioned that these are 'NGOs' that have come arguing for privacy and no deprived individual had come to Court. DYC J and Sikri J disagree and point to multiple affidavits and a party in person who addressed them.
A-G repeats that before 2016 it was always voluntary and no question of FR violation.

DYC J and Sikri J ask how there could be waiver or assumption of informed consent.
A-G reads from his note ... link to be uploaded at lunch time once I get hold of a soft copy.

We now get the broad line that the Union is taking. Union are of the opinion that the "balance" of rights favours them.
Among other things..A-G cites the Rajiv Gandhi statement on only 15 paise of every 1 rupee reaching the intended benficiaries in welfare scheme.

Sikri J jokes that some economists have gone into this figure and proved him wrong. He laughingly saying it is 17 paise, not 15!
A-G then quotes from a 1997 World Bank Report on India spending leakages etc. (He is still reading, better I upload his written submissions than try to capture here in tweets. )
In his readings, he makes the argument that human discretion at multiple levels including last mile is the reason for corruption and leakages and that Aadhaar replaces that human discretion with a simple biometric match tech.
... Still reading.
He is reading from the Wadhwa Committee report on PDS as quoted in the 2011 PUCL v Union of India decision.
On the history ..A-G emphasises that Nandan Nilekani was entrusted with the task.

Bench rises for lunch.
Hearing resumes. A-G continues reading from his note. Link here:…

Referring to Binoy Viswam extracts ..particularly the paras that quote from Jean Dreze and Amartya Sen book.

(Recall that Jean Dreze has filed 2 affidavits in this matter contradicting..
..the stand of Govt. on the effectiveness of Aadhaar and detailing the exclusion caused by Aadhaar in Jharkhand).
A-G then wants to go through the list of all 144 Section 7 notifications.

Sikri J interrupts and aska about the first notification relatable to Employees Pension scheme. Asks where is the question of leakage or fraud in that case?

Sikri J says exclusion is aggravating when....
....such rights are involved. Sikri J asks about a hypothetical where a pensioner may be abroad for the moment with his son but wants his pension credited. Why is he now required to present himself for aadhaar.

A-G says there has to be an actual case...
...says there are no deprived petitioners here..but these are PIL petitioners. He asserts that there are no actually excluded person complaining.

DYC J ans Sikri J don't look convinced.
DYC J queries again about multiple problems with requiring aadhaar for pensioners...people who have dementia etc....these are all real problems.

A-G refers to World Bank saying Unique Id is the only way to progress (Me thinks: !!!)
A-G now reading from page 118 circular in the Union's latest affidavit.

Link here:…
A-G says this is a welfare state and that Govt will not leave anyone in the lurch or deny anybody.
DYC J asks how EPS pension a subsidy or benefit or service in terms of section 7.
A-G replies that it will be covered under the defintion of Benefit under the Aadhaar Act.
DYC J asks that exclusion is undeniable. That as recently as in Dec 2017 there was a consideration in Cab Sec is indicative of it. DYC J wants the Govt to come up front about it and tell the Court what measures have been taken. A-G promises to lay those before Ct.
But A-G for the moment wants to read the transcript of his recent lecture that he gave titled "Poverty as a challenge to Human Rights" (Page 42 of the written note he submitted today. See tweets above for the link).
A-G says 300 million people are poor in India and they cannot be deprived of their right under Article 21 for the privacy interests of a few petitioners or the elite.
A-G reads page 112 of the latest affidavit (link above) Cabinet Sdcretariat note that seeks to make exceptions to ensure no exclusion.
A-G handed over a copy of the worldbank report by the name ID4D.
A-G says exclusion cannot be a ground of striking down the project. Whereever there are problems Govt will take care of them, he promisingly says.
A-G says the highly researched ID4D report says this is the only way of development!
A-G is now reading from the ID4D report.
(Earlier, I realise I missed tweeting the interaction in which A-G denied that the deaths in Jharkhand reported as due to aadhaar were actually not so. He said one of them had 30000 in her bank a/c and could not have died due to starvation!)
Sikri J asks where is the necessity of centralising the data etc...why aren't lesser intrusive methods considered.
A-G says there is no question or possibility of aggregation.

Sikri J questions on proportionality and says there are many admissions and they were read out by Petitioners including 49k enrollers having been blacklisted.
A-G says deduplication is not possible in smartcard.

Bench rises for the day.

A-G again presses for CEO of UIDAI presentation.

KV Viswanathan, sr. Adv for petitioners asks for the right to question. Bench agrees but says it cannot be a freewheeling cross examination.
CJI still non committal about allowing the presentation.
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