In a classic case of apathy, the inspection carried out by the State Energy Department, into a fire that broke out at the Golden Chariot Hotel, located at Hub Mall, Goregaon East, in December last year, has remained on paper and the hotel has resumed normal operations despite the fire brigade revoking an NOC granted to it.
The hotel was gutted by a massive fire on December 29, 2016 and the hotel management was accused of carrying out structural changes and blocking fire exits, which allegedly led to delay in putting off the fire.
When contacted Pravin Agarwal, one of the Directors of the Golden Chariot Retreats and Infra Private Limited told The Afternoon D & C that, “It was a small fire and now everything is in order and the hotel has been functioning normally.” When asked about the cause of the fire, he replied, “You ask this to the fire brigade.”
In turn, Deputy Chief Fire Officer Vijaykumar Panigrahi maintained that the NOC granted to the hotel has already been revoked and all the facts have been placed before the BMC’s P south ward office. Now it is the responsibility of the respective ward office to verify whether the hotel is open or closed down.
In its report dated 6th March 2017, the fire brigade had stated, “It seems there are discrepancies in the area, encroachment, unauthorised addition/alteration, construction of loft, etc. in the said premise… In view of the above, the NOC/requirement letter issued under no. FBL/S/106/1076 dated 01/11/2006 by this department stands cancelled.”
Whereas Assistant Municipal Commissioner Santosh Dhond claimed that the BMC has taken necessary action and served notice to the hotel owner, but he has moved the court in the matter.
But basically, the whole inquiry is shrouded in mystery. As per the information collected by activist Sulaiman Bhimani through RTI query, the Assistant Electrical Inspector of the State Energy Department, in his report dated 18 January 2017 has stated that the fire broke due to the combustion of oil accumulated in the chimney when it came in contact with a spark emanated from the tandoor oven. The same report also stated that there was no trace of a short circuit. However the manager of the hotel tried to manipulate that the fire emanated from the switchboard, Bhimani said.
Commenting on the alleged “hide and seek” between the fire brigade and the BMC, Bhimani said that when a fire breaks out, everyone shouts and announcement of “strict implementation of fire safety norms” is made but after a few days everything is back to square one and authorities themselves leave loopholes to enable the guilty to circumvent the action.
In another development, the designated officer, P Southward has sent notices under section 488 of the BMC Act, on 25 March 2017, to different occupants of the Hub Mall, including “Palasia Saloon” saying that the inspection of their premises will be carried out anytime on 29 March 2017. This is nothing else but an attempt to pressurise them so that they do not reveal anything to outsiders about the laxities within the mall, Bhimani said.
Tighten the chokehold and kill dissent. When anonymity goes away, public debate is more silent. Too much democracy (sounds wierd, I know) and freedom is a bad thing for those in power.
What will be marketed:
Less tax evasion
Less leakage of subsidy
Easy transactions (finger lagaya, ho gaya!! OMG!!)
What really will happen:
suppression of dissent. (It is trivial for me to map out who all attended a protest demo and where they live if you carried your mobile with you or are videographed. Realtime facial recognition works even with hoodies and balaclavas. Even easier for me to blackmail you. Doubly easy for me to plant your aadhar in places you haven’t authorized. How will you know? You wont know why and who used it anyway, you get fucked for it.)
Mining of data based on your browsing patterns (JIO does this already. Data is the new oil. It is easy to model populations right down to the galli level based on this data: Above point/URL.)
fear based compliance
attacks like 1984 riots become easier
the state can make you disappear
random and warrantless data fishing expeditions by government agencies or by those with incidental access
stalking by government (this happens even in the US with so many controls in place. God only knows what will happen here)
With aadhar based basic data and punitive measures (exclusion from the state/deletion of identity) in place, forced compliance with things like genetic testing to determine vague things like “indian-ness” becomes a possibility (Check out the kuwaiti example)
What wont happen:
Fine grained control on our own data including the ability to deny and/or revoke permissions to third parties
Liability of the UIDAI for breaches
Aadhar enabled transparency in elections
Aadhar enabled Transparency in bureaucracy and decision making by politicians
Aadhar enabled transparency of political party funding
Accountability for power grabs or unilateral decision making schemes based off of aadhar. We have essentially written off our rights to the UIDAI on how our data will be used in the future.
Why is this happening? Our population is now at a very dangerous stage with lots of young people and no jobs or other avenues. It helps to have control or situations and revolt can happen way too easily. Our ruling classes dont have a clue of how to solve basic issues apart from lining their own pockets, protecting their kids & investments and divide&rule. Emotive issues are used as a cover every week on TV to subvert actual debate while serious legislations are being made. Our population is largely uneducated and easily swayed by glitz and silly TV shows (the reason why TV now is crap and has large numbers of religious shows and kulcha based shows). Educated urban youth dont connect well with actual desi TV programming anymore.
Does Aadhar require this level of biometric info? No.
Should we let go of the control we have of our identities? No.
Should third parties have access? No.
Essentially, your access to freedom will now need to be mediated by Aadhar and what it says. Anyone with power can fuck your happiness and freedom.
Recently, I attempted a tweetstorm on why I think the 2016 Aadhaar Act does not override, or render useless, the orders passed in Oct 2015 by the Supreme Court. I argued that all of the recent notifications by various central government authorities making Aadhaar mandatory to avail the respective service of those authorities, are in manifest violation of the Supreme Court’s orders. This post is to explain those points in a little more detail and provide a rebuttal to counter-views that are being tweeted out such as this.
Here is a brief timeline of the events leading up to the recent Govt. notifications making Aadhaar mandatory for availing for services like food grain under PDS, mid-day meals for school children, girls rescued from human trafficking and many others.
The unique identification authority of India (UIDAI) was established by an executive notification in January 2009 and had been running/overseeing the operations of data collection, enrolment, deduplication through biometrics, assigning of Aadhaar numbers. It also provided Aadhaar authentication and related services.
The authority operated under executive notification until it was reincarnated into its present statutory form after the coming into force of the 2016 Aadhar Act.
Nearly a dozen petitions challenging the Aadhaar/UID project have been pending in the Supreme Court since 2012. The petitions challenged the project on a number of grounds including :
The Authority operating without a legal sanction and in legal vacuum;
The unconstitutional irrationality of using Biometrics – not just unproven but provably inappropriate technology for deduplication and authentication; and tying the same for the purposes of identification for essential services such as food, NREGA lead to unconstitutional exclusion of people from accessing those services;
The enablement of surveillance, convergence of data without constitutionally sufficient statutory protection being an unconstitutional infringement of the right to privacy;
National security implications of employing foreign companies with link to foreign national governments and intelligence agencies for biometric operations, endangering the right to life of the entire population of the country;
Unconstitutional Irrationality of employing private contractors as enrolment agencies and having them handle sensitive personal data without constitutionally adequate techno legal safeguards;
Unconstitutional irrationality of using Aadhaar authentication or KYC for financial products or inclusion schemes as it facilitates money laundering; promotes exclusion even as it paints a picture of inclusion; and importantly threatens economic sovereignty of the nation;
The unconstitutional denial of dignity to Indian residents for using unlawful coercion to have then queue up to part with their biometrics and other personal data; and
The lack of competence, under the constitution of the union executive in operating the project.
Supreme Court passed the first interim order in the matter in September 2013 prohibiting any government body from insisting Aadhaar as mandatory for any of its services irrespective of any circular or notification that may have been issued in that regard.
It reiterated that position a number of times thereafter – November 2013, March 2014, March 2015, August 2015 (after Attorney General for India famously claimed before the Supreme Court, the highest constitutional court of the land, that Indian citizens do not have the right to privacy under the constitution and the matter was sent before a constitutional bench of a minimum of five judges, even as the matter raised grave questions of constitutional interpretation and is “of some urgency”) , and again in October 2015.
The August 2015 order limited even voluntary use of Aadhaar to two schemes viz PDS and LPG. The October 2015 order permitted four more schemes for voluntary usage of Aadhaar.
The October 2015 order categorically made it clear that Aadhaar scheme shall be “purely voluntary” until the matters are finally heard and decided one way or the other.
In March 2016, Aadhaar Act was passed as a Money Bill, bypassing the Rajyasabha. The unconstitutionality of such introduction and passage has also been challenged in the Supreme Court and that challenge has also been admitted and tagged along with earlier petitions before the SC.
Starting January 2017, more than sixty different government authorities issued notifications under Section 7 of the Act, apparently making Aadhaar mandatory for various purposes.
In my humble but considered view, such notifications are unlawful and are in violation of the Oct 2015 order which still holds the field.
I argue that :
The primary basis of a court passing an interim order is the pending dispute before the court. As long as such a dispute is still pending, the orders would ordinarily hold force. In this case, the petitions are still technically pending before the Constitution Bench of the court, even if the Govt thinks they have become infructuous/ useless. The government has not moved the court for such a declaration or dismissal of the petitions or vacation of the orders citing the new law.
Note that this case is different from instances like the Shah Bano story in which a final judgment of the court was sought to be undone by an Act of parliament. In this Aadhaar case, the central government is still before the court and is subject to the jurisdiction and specific restraint imposed by the court. If any authority wants to exercise power, (even newly found power) contrary to such restraint, it cannot do so without the permission of the court.
I am not suggesting that a parliamentary legislation cannot in any case override interim directions of the supreme court. However, I argue that the following are the necessary (but not sufficient) ingredients for that:
There should be an express statement in the objects of the Act as introduced in parliament or elsewhere during the legislation process that this seeks to undo interim directions of the court; or
It is impossible for a person to comply with the later legislation as well as the orders of the court.
In this case, the Act has neither of these ingredients. While Section 7 confers power on various authorities to insist on Aadhaar as a mandatory pre-requisite, it does not impose a duty to do so. The authorities therefore can comply with the Act without being in contravention of the orders of the court, by simply not exercising the powers under Section 7. If any authority is desirous of exercising the newly found power, they can do so – but only with the leave of the court.
Moreover, when the interim orders were passed, the absence of law was not the only issue in consideration. In fact, the central government had argued that the Appropriation Act at the time read with Allocation of Business Rules under Article 77 provided the legislative basis for the project and that IT Act and the Rules under IT Act have enough statutory safeguards for data protection; and therefore there was no legislative vacuum under which the project was operating.
Government of India, and others seem to take a view that the 2016 Act did not exist before October 2015 and that there is no principle of automatic stay of an Act of parliament that did not exist at the time of passing the order and therefore, October 2015 order would not prohibit authorities from exercising power under Section 7 of the newly enacted Act.
That argument does seem to be appealing on the face of it. However, a plain unqualified application of that argument leads to absurd results.
Assume for one moment, that the 2015 Act did stay the operation of a law – lets call it Aadhaar Act-1. Say parliament passes another identical Act and lets call it Aadhaar-Act-2. Can the government continue to implement and enforce Act-2 believing that there is no automatic stay? Such a result would be absurdity. Why have constitutional courts at all if legislatures can simply reiterate their earlier position and escape orders of such a court? My point is that the question as to whether or not an earlier interim restraint prohibits persons from exercising powers under a future Act depends on the facts and circumstances under which the earlier orders were passed and the contents of such future Act. For instance, SEBI applied to the Court to modify the 11th august order complaining that the 11th August imposed a restraint on its statutory powers even though they were not in challenge before the Court. On the face of it one may argue that there is also no principle in constitutional law to put restraints on statutory powers when such a statutory provision is not under challenge. But the court did not accept such a contention in its 15th Oct 2015 order and disallowed SEBI’s application.
I also argue that the Act was incorrectly introduced and passed as a money bill in the parliament in brazen disregard for the qualifications of being a money bill under Article 110 (3) of the Constitution and in glaring violation of the principle of Federalism, which is a part of what is called “Basic Structure” of India’s constitution. I am of the view that the Act is still-born and people are not bound by it. Note that this is different from an Act which is contrary to provisions of Constitution such as any fundamental right etc. In such a case, people are required to act as though they are bound by it until such a law is declared unconstitutional by the court. However, because this Act is no valid legislation at all i.e. it is void ab initio, people are free to act contrary to it. It is no different from a random resolution passed by your neighbour’s family – to give a crude example 😉
Prasanna S is one of the advocates acting for some of the petitioners in the Aadhaar petitions before SC.
This post has been based on a series of tweets by Derrick Thomas on Twitter. The first few tweets are embedded in the post. If you are on Twitter, please do go through the whole thread.
The funny thing about Aadhaar based mobile verification is that it enables terrorists to get a legal mobile connection without any fuss. All you need is an Aadhaar card and you can get as many mobile phone connections as you want.
The funny thing about Aadhaar based mobile verification is that it enables terrorists to get a legal mobile connection without any fuss.
If a terrorist enters India and manages to live for six months without being caught, he is “entitled” to get an Aadhaar number. Aadhaar is not proof of nationality. It can also be made if you have no proof of identity or address. Once he has an Aadhaar, things are easy. He can get as many mobile connections as he wants, get a bank account and even a loan. He can even get a PAN number, rent a home on the basis of that, get an Indian passport.
Once he has an Aadhaar, things are easy. He can get as many mobile connections as he wants, get a bank account and even a loan.
Once he gets a bank loan, he can use it to plan any kind of strikes on India. Aaddhar just makes things easy. All these without the help of an Indian. Think about that.
How can we allow anyone to use our own money and infrastructure to destroy the sovereignty of Indian Union?
These are the real matters of “National Security”. Please government, please reconsider such decisions without checks and balances #Aadhaar
Dear Government, please discuss such issues in detail. In Parliament. Appoint a committee to look into such issues. Fix accountability.
And the issue is not just limited to terrorists. It helps illegal immigrants, about whom you have no information.
Aadhaar enables one illegal immigrant to bring an entire set of his family and relatives to India and get government benefits. That one illegal immigrant can introduce his family members and relatives. They will get every single thing from Government, for FREE.
How will Aadhaar plug leakages then? All of them have unique fingerprints, unique iris scans.
That is the reason why I said, Aadhaar will only accelerate leakages. With that single Aadhaar ID, an illegal immigrant can open a Jan Dhan Bank Account and get ₹5000 overdraft with zero balance. (based on subsidy data) The very idea of India, we have known and feel in our blood is at risk. And illegal immigrants / terrorists need not come to India with money and ammunition. Our Aadhaar system will help them source those locally