The Congress vehemently opposed The Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019 in the Lok Sabha on July 4. Congress Floor Leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury also criticised the government for promulgating an Ordinance on the same.
“You borrowed Aadhaar from us,” Mr. Chowdhury claimed. The Direct Benefit Transfer programme was also borrowed, he added. “Your way is not befitting of a democratic government. It is political plagiarism,” he alleged. “When we constituted the Aadhar, it did not breach anybody’s Fundamental Rights,” said Mr. Chowdhury.
Mr. Chowdhury said that while the Constitution had a provision for Ordinances, “it gives directions on when and why and how an Ordinance can be promulgated”. He said it can be promulgated under extraordinary circumstances or emergencies that warrant its promulgation.
Manish Tewari, the Anandpur Sahib constituency MP, said that the UPA government had come out with 13 objectives to be achieved by the UIDAI. “The rationale of Aadhaar was to ascertain the identity of those who were bereft of ration cards and such other basic amenities,” he said.
He claimed that the current attempt seems to reduce the human being to a number. He cited Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul’s judgement in context of “the right to be forgotten”. “The germane question that arises is that if the right to cancel Aadhaar once a child attains 18 years, why does it not exist for the adult? The right to be forgotten must also form a part of the Aadhaar Bill, provided it does not have grave ramifications upon national security,” said Mr. Tewari.
Amending the Telegraph Act and the PMLA by simply inserting the word “voluntary” goes against the constitutional scheme where the citizen is at the core, Mr. Tewari added. The intent of the government as mentioned in the Economic Survey 2019, is to monetise private data, he said.