The Supreme Court of India’s September 2018 judgment, which declared the Aadhaar project Constitutional, failed to account for petitions challenging the Aadhaar project on religious grounds, and the merging of the National Population Register and the Aadhaar database, among others. Crucially, the judgment ignored the fact that, across India, starvation deaths stemmed from Aadhaar-related issues in at least 46 cases between 2015 and 2018. The aftermath of the SC judgment highlights the judgment’s lapses sharply - as many as 19 lakh beneficiaries in Odisha have been denied their monthly rations for not linking their Aadhaar number with ration cards under the pilot One Nation One Ration Card programme. The “function creep” of the Aadhaar project extended to the National Register of Citizens, with the biometrics of those excluded from the NRC in Assam stored in order to prevent them from applying for an Aadhaar number or availing welfare services in other parts of India.
Rethink Aadhaar, in collaboration with a host of grassroots campaigns, is organising a People’s tribunal on Aadhaar-related issues in order to review the actual on-ground impact over the ten years of the project’s existence, with particular emphasis on the developments since the Supreme Court’s Aadhaar judgment. This two-day event is proposed for February 29 and March 1, 2020, and will feature an accomplished jury comprising among others a former Member of Parliament and a former judge of the Supreme Court of India.
What: People’s tribunal on Aadhaar-related issues
When: February 29 and March 1, 2020, 9am - 8pm
Where: 301 (3rd Floor), ISI, 10, Lodhi Institutional Area, New Delhi
Live tweets: http://twitter.com/@Article21_Ind and http://twitter.com/@no2uid
The Tribunal will help put evidence of the Aadhaar project’s relentless “function creep” and its impact - on welfare schemes, on our informational privacy, and of our right to have rights - before the public together with the jury’s opinion. This, we expect, will help develop a widely endorsed critique of the State’s continued reliance on the Aadhaar number as a “truth machine”, one which gains in significance given the current focus on updating the National Population Register and subsequently preparing the National Register of Indian Citizens. For instance, the fact that possessing an Aadhaar number does not constitute proof of citizenship is not widely known nor advertised.
The documentation prepared for the tribunal will further serve as material using which we can further push the government to acknowledge and act upon the lapses in administering the Aadhaar project and, at the very least, ensure actual and total compliance with the Supreme Court’s direction that no one should be denied any service or welfare benefit for want of an Aadhaar number.
Welcome & IntroductionThe People’s Tribunal on Aadhaar-related issues is only the latest effort in a long, continuing story of resistance against the Aadhaar project.
A people's history of the Aadhaar projectWhat did the SC judgment mean for the Aadhaar project, for welfare rights, and the right to privacy?
Session coordinated by Nawasha Mishra
Aadhaar and the Public Distribution SystemThis critique of ABBA and Aadhaar seeding in the Public Distribution System also reviews recent intiatives such as mandating Aadhaar linking for renewing ration cards and the One Nation One Ration Card programme.
Sakina Dhorajiwala; Rajendran Narayanan
Issues related to MGNREGA, including from the use of ABPS & AePSWe discuss the impact of the use of Aadhaar-based initiatives, including the Aadhaar Payment Bridge System and Aadhaar-enabled Payment Systems, on employees under the MGNREGA.
Deepika Joshi, Dr. Indranil Mukhopadhyay, and Srinivas Kodali
Issues relating to Health care and DBT in Health careMaking Aadhaar linking mandatory for health schemes made access difficult; now the creation of Electronic Health Records elevates the threat of profiling.
Sakina Dhorajiwala and Nachiket Udupa
Aadhaar's impact on farmersThis session examines the issues faced by farmers, in particular those from tribal communities, as a result of the Aadhaar project and digitization overall.
Dr. Anita Ghai and Rajiv Rajan
The Aadhaar experience for persons with disabilitiesGetting an Aadhaar number has been described as a harrowing process for persons with disabilities and those needing support.
Dipa Sinha; Taramani Sahu & Koyli Devi; Siraj Dutta; Kritika Bhardwaj
Childrens' rights and entitlementsChildren continue to be perversely targeted despite the SC judgment explicitly making Aadhaar enrolment voluntary for children.
Sweta Dash, Meera Sanghamitra, and others
Gender rightsIn the name of data-driven development, the Aadhaar project has become an additional structure for oppression and exclusion of gender minorities.
Day 1 Closing RemarksA round-up of the Aadhaar project’s impact on welfare, and on civil liberties.
Karan Saini; Anand Venkatanarayanan; Srinivas Kodali
Aadhaar, Biometrics, and SecurityAn overview and analysis of the security posture of the Aadhaar project, as well as on biometric authentication and the problems that come with it. This session will also feature a discussion of 360-degree profiling.
Anivar Aravind; Prasanna S
Aadhaar's Function Creep: Financial and Voting Rights
Raman Chima, Apar Gupta, and Ashish Ranjan
Legislating TechnologyWhat has been the Indian experience in terms of technology-related lawmaking?
Vrinda Bhandari; Kalyani Menon-Sen
Aadhaar ChallengedThis session reviews the Supreme Court’s Aadhaar judgment, and also looks at the continuing challenges in other courts as well as resistance in other fora.
Srinivas Kodali; Ujjwala Uppaluri
Aadhaar-ed RightsRecounting the ways in which the Aadhaar project threatens our right to have rights.
Jury Deliberation; Aadhaar in the Arts
Pronouncement of Jury Summary
Vote of Thanks & Tribunal Conclusion