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Reasonable restrictions on Aadhaar will further strengthen it: UIDAI

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Supreme Court on Aadhaar

New Delhi, Sep 26 : Calling it historic and landmark, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) on Wednesday welcomed the Supreme Court judgment on Aadhaar and said the reasonable conditions and restrictions imposed on the private usage of unique identity data would further strengthen it.

UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey said the verdict, which upheld the constitutional validity of the unique identification document albeit with some modifications, was a victory for the organisation as well as the government.

“Aadhaar has come out winning as the champion of the empowerment of people, especially the marginalised sections of the society and also as the key to the welfare schemes delivery of the government that has eradicated the fakes, duplicates and middlemen,” he said.

However, some reasonable conditions and restrictions on private usage have been imposed as safeguards that would further strengthen Aadhaar as the unique identity in the service of the people especially the poor, he added.

In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court upheld the legality of Aadhaar but restricting it to the disbursement of social benefits and junking its requirement for cell phones and bank accounts.

In a majority judgment, a five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra held that Aadhaar would be voluntary and not mandatory.

The court struck down Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act which allows private entities to demand Aadhaar to access their services.

In a statement, UIDAI said the Aadhaar Act had withstood the judicial scrutiny and “the purpose of the Act is legitimate”.

“Aadhaar as an idea is fully upheld that it does not create a surveillance state and does not violate privacy. The verdict (upholds that) Aadhaar is a tool of empowerment of the marginalised sections of the society.

“The apex court also upheld that the Aadhaar Act passed as a money bill is valid. It has further gone on to say that the Aadhaar Act meets the concept of limited government, good governance, and constitutional trust,” the statement said.

UIDAI said the verdict had recognised that Aadhaar “respects human dignity and does not violate privacy” and that it passes the “balancing tests” collecting only minimal data.

“It has been established by the judgment that Aadhaar is not for the state surveillance as profiling is not possible using the minimal data that Aadhaar has. There are sufficient safeguards to disallow any abuse,” it said.

India

Youth Cong’s tractor rally in Panipat against Farm Bills

The Rajya Sabha on Sunday passed the Farm Bills, over which protests were being held in several parts of the country.

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Kisan Tractor Rally

Panipat, Sep 23 : The Indian Youth Congress (IYC) took out a tractor rally in Haryana’s Panipat on Wednesday to protest against the Narendra Modi government over the Farm Bills passed by Parliament, describing it as anti-farmer and anti-worker.

Hundreds of Youth Congress activists led by its national President Srinivas B.V. started their tractor rally from Panipat and had intended to travel to the national capital.

However, the rally was stopped by the Haryana Police near Samalkha in Panipat. The police used water cannons to disperse the activists. Srinivas along with several other workers was detained by the Haryana Police.

Speaking to the media, Srinivas said, “The youth of the country and the farmers demand employment and proper price of their produce but the Modi government only gives speeches.”

He accused the Manohar Lal Khattar government in Haryana of ordering the lathicharge on the farmers sitting in protest in Haryana’s Pipli. The IYC leader warned the government saying, “You are having numbers in Parliament, but the streets belong to the farmers and youths, and we will protest against the black laws brought by the government.”

On Tuesday, IYC workers were detained in Delhi when they tried to march towards Parliament to protest against the Agriculture Bills passed by the Rajya Sabha on Sunday.

The Congress has also planned a series of protests across the country over the Farm Bills from September 24. The party has decided to collect two crore signatures of farmers across the country by November 14, and then submit them to President Ram Nath Kovind. The Rajya Sabha on Sunday passed the Farm Bills, over which protests were being held in several parts of the country.

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Lok Sabha to adjourn sine die, 3 Bills listed on Wednesday

As per sources, the lower House will adjourn proceedings sine die after conducting ‘Zero Hour’.

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Parliament

New Delhi, Sep 23 : As the Lok Sabha is to adjourn sine die on Wednesday, the government has listed three Bills for the Legislative Business of the day to pass it in the ongoing Monsoon Session of Parliament.

These Bills belong to three different Ministries — one from the Ministry of Shipping, and other from the Health and Finance. The Bills are Major Port Authorities Bill, 2020; Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, 2020; and Factoring Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

Union Minister of State for Shipping Mansukh L. Mandaviya is to move the Major Port Authorities Bill, 2020 to provide for the regulation, operation and planning of Major Ports in India and to vest the administration, control and management of such ports upon the Boards of Major Port Authorities.

The Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, 2020 will be moved by Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan for the regulation and supervision of the assisted reproductive technology clinics and the assisted reproductive technology banks, prevention of misuse, safe and ethical practice of assisted reproductive technology services. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is to move the Factoring Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020 to amend the Factoring Regulation Act, 2011 for its passage.

The Monsoon Session of Parliament, however, is set to be adjourned sine die on Wednesday when the House will meet at 6 p.m. The move is being taken considering the safety of parliamentarians against the backdrop of the rising number of Covid-19 cases across the country, sources said.

As per sources, the lower House will adjourn proceedings sine die after conducting ‘Zero Hour’.

As all the major Bills, including those replacing ordinances, have been passed by both the Houses till late Tuesday evening proceedings and Wednesday morning functioning of Rajya Sabha, political party sources and secretariat officials indicated that both the Houses will curtail their proceedings on Wednesday — eight days before the scheduled conclusion of the session.

Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla’s special announcement to hold the lower House proceedings at 6 p.m. on Wednesday — three hours later than the scheduled time — also signalled the plan to cut short the session which was set to conclude on October 1.

Minister of State Parliamentary Affairs V. Muraleedharan on Wednesday informed the Rajya Sabha that the government has recommended the adjournment of the House sine die today. “But some important Legislative Business passed by the Lok Sabha has to be disposed off before adjournment of the House sine die,” the Minister said when the Upper House assembled for the day. The Rajya Sabha was to take up five bills on Wednesday.

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After taking VRS, Bihar DGP Pandey may take political plunge

Meanwhile, Pandey has denied all allegations levelled by Shiv Sena and other political parties.

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Gupteshwar Pandey IPS

Patna, Sep 23 (IANS) A day after taking voluntary retirement, speculation is rife that Bihars former Director General of Police (DGP) Gupteshwar Pandey may begin his political innings. Though nothing has been finalised yet, Pandey says he will talk to people and plan his journey ahead.

Speaking to IANS on Wednesday, Pandey said that it was not necessary to join politics to serve the people. Pandey, who is active in social service, said after discussing with people, he will decide on the road ahead and then disclose his future plans.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, he said he was under pressure from the people of many districts in Bihar, including Jehanabad, Begusarai, Valmiki Nagar and Bagaha to contest the forthcoming assembly elections. Thousands of supporters from several places in the state, were in touch with him, he added.

Pandey came into the limelight for his vocal comments after the death of late Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput who was born in Patna. After the Supreme Court endorsed the CBI investigation recommended by the Bihar government, Pandey had said that Rhea Chakraborty “does not have the aukat (stature)” to comment on the Chief Minister.

Following the VRS , Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut launched a sharp attack on Pandey, saying he had been carrying out a political agenda in the Sushant Singh Rajput investigation while holding the post of DGP Bihar. “IPS or IAS officers of the country should be fair and must not be influenced by any political party,” Raut had said.

Meanwhile, Pandey has denied all allegations levelled by Shiv Sena and other political parties.

“People are connecting my VRS with investigation of Sushant Singh Rajput and blaming me of taken political advantage of it. I want to say that the FIR was registered in Patna since Sushant’s old father could not travel to Mumbai. He was not satisfied with the Mumbai Police investigation. As DGP Bihar, it was my duty to help Sushant’s father.”

Following a sharp attack by Shiv Sena over Pandey’s retirement, the BJP has defended Pandey’s right to join politics if he so desires. Nikhil Anand, the chief spokesperson of BJP Bihar unit, said it was best left to Pandey. “I don’t know why parties like Shiv Sena are making a hue and cry over his VRS or joining politics. We live in a democracy and it is his democratic right. The opinion of BJP or any other political parties is not required,” Anand said.

Pandey has praised Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. Responding to a question he said, “Nitish ji is very strict in terms of administration and policing. He does not intervene in policing nor does he tolerate any outside interference in its functioning.”

Pandey, a 1987 batch IPS officer, took over as Bihar DGP last year. He was scheduled to retire in February 2021 but he took early retirement. Pandey, who has held the post of Superintendent of Police in several districts in Bihar, is renowned for his social work.

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