The Supreme Court of India commenced the final hearing on the Aadhaar case on January 17. The UID project, which has been at the centre of a controversy since its inception has seen strong arguments from both sides of the spectrum- those in favour and those against.
Recently, a number of instances have come to light wherein there has either been a leak of Aadhaar data or it has been misused. Each time proponents of the Aadhaar project have played down fears of misuse of the project stating that the system is fool-proof and secure. Nandan Nilekani, former Chairman of UIDAI and a vocal proponent of the project had alleged that there were attempts by certain sections to launch an ‘orchestrated campaign to malign Aadhaar’. Nilekani’s statement came in the wake of an article published by The Tribune, which revealed how demographic data of 1.2 billion citizens could be accessed by paying a paltry sum of Rs 500.
On the same day of the apex court’s final hearing on the Aadhaar case, Nilekani wrote editorials that were carried by two leading newspapers — The Times of India and the Hindustan Times. Neither of these newspapers carried a counter-opinion on the editorial page.
Nilekani’s article was tweeted by members of the ruling party. Since the morning of January 17, a number of Union ministers have tweeted in favour of Aadhaar, using the hashtag #AadhaarMythBuster.
These template tweets were tweeted using the #AadhaarMythBuster hashtag, listing the purported benefits of Aadhaar and seeking to dispel ‘myths’ and ‘misconceptions’ related to the project.
Meanwhile, the UIDAI on January 16, just a day before the final hearing, had issued full-page advertisements in leading newspaper dailies.
The Aadhaar project has constantly been in the eye of the storm. Proponents of the UID project claim it is a defining move that will end the scourge of corruption, leakages and ghost accounts, apart from ensuring targeted delivery of services with precision. Critics, on the other hand, have raised concerns over the spectre of a Universal Identification number linked with biometric data, claiming this will herald the end of privacy and result in mass surveillance, apart from the data being misused by unscrupulous elements.