Opposition picks holes in Aadhaar Bill

Congress MP Jairam Ramesh argued that every individual should have the freedom to opt out of the scheme.

March 16, 2016 06:51 pm | Updated December 04, 2021 11:03 pm IST - New Delhi

Congress MP Jairam Ramesh speaks in the Rajya Sabha, on Wednesday.

Congress MP Jairam Ramesh speaks in the Rajya Sabha, on Wednesday.

The Opposition parties in the Rajya Sabha, on Wednesday, slammed various provisions of the Aadhar Bill, singling out the ones like making the Aadhaar card mandatory as an identity proof.

The House saw an animated discussion when the Aadhaar Bill, passed by Lok Sabha, was moved for consideration and return, with the Opposition questioning in unison as to why it had been brought as a Money Bill.

Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien said that the decision to declare it as a Money Bill had been taken by the Lok Sabha Speaker, and he could not do anything on it but ensured that it would be returned to the Lower House after its passage.

Proposed amendments

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh supported the Aadhar Bill which is aimed at giving statutory backing to the unique identity number scheme, but proposed some amendments, including a “fundamental departure” against the provision making its use mandatory rather than voluntary.

He argued that every individual should have the freedom to opt out of the scheme.

He also opposed another provision in the Bill which he termed as “broad” and “amorphous” and could be misuseed of the law as it gives “sweeping powers” on the grounds of national security.

He suggested that terms like “public emergency” or “public safety” could be used instead of national security.

Mr. Ramesh said any suo motu powers, “even to collect information”, should not be given to the Aadhaar authority. He said there were concerns over privacy and the amendments moved by him were in line with the recommendation suggested by a Commission headed by Justice (retd.) A.P. Shah.

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