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Madras HC directs UIDAI to enquire about BJP using Aadhaar data for votes

The party has asserted that it has not stolen data and the mobile numbers have been acquired through door-to-door campaign

Sabrangindia 01 Apr 2021

BJP

The Madras High Court directed the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to enquire into how the confidential information held by it may have been leaked, in the matter where the President of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), Puducherry, A. Anand, alleged that bulk SMS messages were sent to Puducherry voters whose mobile numbers were linked to Aadhaar with a link to join WhatsApp groups run by the Bharatiya Janata Party.

According to Bar & Bench, the Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy expressed their reservations over the stand of BJP, Puducherry, that it had obtained the mobile numbers through a door-to-door campaign carried out by some party members.

The Bench remarked, “There is a credible allegation which has been squarely levelled that only mobile phones linked to Aadhaar cards have received the SMS messages. It is squarely for the UIDAI to provide an adequate answer. There is no doubt that such a body which would treat the information that it possesses regarding citizens with a degree of responsibility that an appropriate enquiry would be conducted to ascertain the source of the leak, if any. It is not acceptable that such information would have been obtained by karyakartas as suggested by the 6th respondent political party (BJP, Puducherry).”

Noting that there was a possible leak of information from UIDAI’s system, the court also strictly observed, “Apart from the unfair mileage that the 6th respondent political party (BJP, Puducherry) may have gained in resorting to a form of campaigning without obtained prior permission therefore as required, there is the serious matter of the privacy of the citizens being breached. This huge aspect of the matter should not be lost in the politics of the season or the hullaballoo of the attendant campaigning”, reported Bar & Bench.

Representing the political party, Senior Advocate V Karthic, reportedly argued that the numbers collected were either available in the public domain or collected by Karyakartas (party workers) through door-to-door campaigns over a period of time. He pointed out that it is also the UIDAI’s stance that no security breach has taken place.

The court previously had also asked the Election Commission to ensure fair and just elections. “People must have confidence in the system, people must know at the end of the day that they have their government that they chose. That is how there can be credibility,” the Bench had remarked.

The complete order may be read here:

Related:

Puducherry: BJP denies accessing Aadhaar data for votes

BJP may have accessed personal information for votes in Puducherry: Madras HC

Madras HC expresses concern over plea alleging BJP Puducherry illegally using Aadhaar data for votes

Madras HC directs UIDAI to enquire about BJP using Aadhaar data for votes

The party has asserted that it has not stolen data and the mobile numbers have been acquired through door-to-door campaign

BJP

The Madras High Court directed the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to enquire into how the confidential information held by it may have been leaked, in the matter where the President of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), Puducherry, A. Anand, alleged that bulk SMS messages were sent to Puducherry voters whose mobile numbers were linked to Aadhaar with a link to join WhatsApp groups run by the Bharatiya Janata Party.

According to Bar & Bench, the Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy expressed their reservations over the stand of BJP, Puducherry, that it had obtained the mobile numbers through a door-to-door campaign carried out by some party members.

The Bench remarked, “There is a credible allegation which has been squarely levelled that only mobile phones linked to Aadhaar cards have received the SMS messages. It is squarely for the UIDAI to provide an adequate answer. There is no doubt that such a body which would treat the information that it possesses regarding citizens with a degree of responsibility that an appropriate enquiry would be conducted to ascertain the source of the leak, if any. It is not acceptable that such information would have been obtained by karyakartas as suggested by the 6th respondent political party (BJP, Puducherry).”

Noting that there was a possible leak of information from UIDAI’s system, the court also strictly observed, “Apart from the unfair mileage that the 6th respondent political party (BJP, Puducherry) may have gained in resorting to a form of campaigning without obtained prior permission therefore as required, there is the serious matter of the privacy of the citizens being breached. This huge aspect of the matter should not be lost in the politics of the season or the hullaballoo of the attendant campaigning”, reported Bar & Bench.

Representing the political party, Senior Advocate V Karthic, reportedly argued that the numbers collected were either available in the public domain or collected by Karyakartas (party workers) through door-to-door campaigns over a period of time. He pointed out that it is also the UIDAI’s stance that no security breach has taken place.

The court previously had also asked the Election Commission to ensure fair and just elections. “People must have confidence in the system, people must know at the end of the day that they have their government that they chose. That is how there can be credibility,” the Bench had remarked.

The complete order may be read here:

Related:

Puducherry: BJP denies accessing Aadhaar data for votes

BJP may have accessed personal information for votes in Puducherry: Madras HC

Madras HC expresses concern over plea alleging BJP Puducherry illegally using Aadhaar data for votes

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