Skip to main content
Sabrang
Sabrang
Politics Rule of Law

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

The court told the Election Commission to not “pass the buck” and file a report in the matter

Sabrangindia 26 Mar 2021

Image Courtesy:barandbench.com

The Madras High Court was hearing a petition calling for a court-monitored probe into whether the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been illegally using Aadhaar data of voters in Puducherry to gain political mileage.

Calling it a “matter of serious concern”, Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy directed the Election Commission to “look into this allegation immediately and with the degree of seriousness that it deserves.”

The Bench sternly remarked, “A matter of serious concern has been reported by the petitioner that a prominent political party apparently has access to personal records of citizens to undertake a political campaign. It will not do for the Election Commission to pass the buck in this case and say that the cyber-crimes division is conducting an investigation.”

Allegations

According to Bar & Bench, the petitioner, A. Anand, President of the Puducherry State Committee of the Democratic Youth Federation of India, alleged that Puducherry residents had started receiving messages from BJP Puducherry with an invite link to join WhatsApp groups, that were later found to have been run by persons in other BJP-ruled States.

The plea filed by him stated that the Puducherry BJP Unit had gained unauthorised access to the personal data of the residents of Union Territory of Puducherry from the Aadhaar UIDAI database and has been illegally using the data for its own political motive, as per a LiveLaw report.

Anand also reportedly stated that, after he received such a message himself, he contacted the WhatsApp group administrator and enquired how the mobile numbers were obtained. The administrator told him to approach the BJP Puducherry Party office and on being asked why the petitioner’s name was added to the group, the administrator is alleged to have replied that there are WhatsApp groups for around “952 booths” in Puducherry and that all voters were being added in the WhatsApp Groups.

The plea reads, “Being the ruling party at the centre, BJP has misused its seat of power and indulged in identity theft under section 66 of the Information Technology Act, 2000, clearly in breach of the fiduciary duty it owes towards its subjects i.e., the general public. The said offence is committed with an intention to threaten the security of the country, leading to the offence of cyber terrorism under section 66F of the Information Technology Act, 2000”, reported LiveLaw.

According to Bar & Bench, he also alleged that he received a spam call, wherein the caller clearly gave the petitioner’s name, the booth and the constituency in which he is supposed to vote. He said that he was shocked to find out from others that this was only being done with persons who had numbers linked to Aadhaar. He submitted that the electoral data shared with the Chief Electoral Officers do not contain mobile numbers, but rather only the names and photos of voters.

The Madras High Court Bench has called for a report in this matter today, on March 26, 2021.

The order may be read here: 

Related:

SC to hear plea seeking stay on the sale of electoral bonds on March 24
Battleground Bengal: Unprecedented action by ECI

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

The court told the Election Commission to not “pass the buck” and file a report in the matter

Image Courtesy:barandbench.com

The Madras High Court was hearing a petition calling for a court-monitored probe into whether the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been illegally using Aadhaar data of voters in Puducherry to gain political mileage.

Calling it a “matter of serious concern”, Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy directed the Election Commission to “look into this allegation immediately and with the degree of seriousness that it deserves.”

The Bench sternly remarked, “A matter of serious concern has been reported by the petitioner that a prominent political party apparently has access to personal records of citizens to undertake a political campaign. It will not do for the Election Commission to pass the buck in this case and say that the cyber-crimes division is conducting an investigation.”

Allegations

According to Bar & Bench, the petitioner, A. Anand, President of the Puducherry State Committee of the Democratic Youth Federation of India, alleged that Puducherry residents had started receiving messages from BJP Puducherry with an invite link to join WhatsApp groups, that were later found to have been run by persons in other BJP-ruled States.

The plea filed by him stated that the Puducherry BJP Unit had gained unauthorised access to the personal data of the residents of Union Territory of Puducherry from the Aadhaar UIDAI database and has been illegally using the data for its own political motive, as per a LiveLaw report.

Anand also reportedly stated that, after he received such a message himself, he contacted the WhatsApp group administrator and enquired how the mobile numbers were obtained. The administrator told him to approach the BJP Puducherry Party office and on being asked why the petitioner’s name was added to the group, the administrator is alleged to have replied that there are WhatsApp groups for around “952 booths” in Puducherry and that all voters were being added in the WhatsApp Groups.

The plea reads, “Being the ruling party at the centre, BJP has misused its seat of power and indulged in identity theft under section 66 of the Information Technology Act, 2000, clearly in breach of the fiduciary duty it owes towards its subjects i.e., the general public. The said offence is committed with an intention to threaten the security of the country, leading to the offence of cyber terrorism under section 66F of the Information Technology Act, 2000”, reported LiveLaw.

According to Bar & Bench, he also alleged that he received a spam call, wherein the caller clearly gave the petitioner’s name, the booth and the constituency in which he is supposed to vote. He said that he was shocked to find out from others that this was only being done with persons who had numbers linked to Aadhaar. He submitted that the electoral data shared with the Chief Electoral Officers do not contain mobile numbers, but rather only the names and photos of voters.

The Madras High Court Bench has called for a report in this matter today, on March 26, 2021.

The order may be read here: 

Related:

SC to hear plea seeking stay on the sale of electoral bonds on March 24
Battleground Bengal: Unprecedented action by ECI

Related Articles

Sunday

03

Jan

Pan-India

Saturday

05

Dec

05 pm onwards

Rise in Rage!

North Gate, JNU campus

Thursday

26

Nov

10 am onwards

Delhi Chalo

Pan India

Theme

Stop Hate

Hate and Harmony in 2021

A recap of all that transpired across India in terms of hate speech and even outright hate crimes, as well as the persecution of those who dared to speak up against hate. This disturbing harvest of hate should now push us to do more to forge harmony.
Taliban 2021

Taliban in Afghanistan: A look back

Communalism Combat had taken a deep dive into the lives of people of Afghanistan under the Taliban regime. Here we reproduce some of our archives documenting the plight of hapless Afghanis, especially women, who suffered the most under the hardline regime.
2020

Milestones 2020

In the year devastated by the Covid 19 Pandemic, India witnessed apathy against some of its most marginalised people and vilification of dissenters by powerful state and non state actors. As 2020 draws to a close, and hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers continue their protest in the bitter North Indian cold. Read how Indians resisted all attempts to snatch away fundamental and constitutional freedoms.
Migrant Diaries

Migrant Diaries

The 2020 COVID pandemic brought to fore the dismal lives that our migrant workers lead. Read these heartbreaking stories of how they lived before the pandemic, how the lockdown changed their lives and what they’re doing now.

Campaigns

Sunday

03

Jan

Pan-India

Saturday

05

Dec

05 pm onwards

Rise in Rage!

North Gate, JNU campus

Thursday

26

Nov

10 am onwards

Delhi Chalo

Pan India

Videos

Communalism

Bastar violence: Anti-Christian Campaign causes breach in Adivasi unity

Hundreds of Adivasi church-goers across villages in Narayanpur and Bastar, Chhattisgarh have been experiencing boycott, intimidation and violence since December last year, forcing them to leave their homes and live in refugee camps. Reportedly, Adivasi districts across Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh is seeing a rise Hindutva mobilisation against Christians .

Communalism

Bastar violence: Anti-Christian Campaign causes breach in Adivasi unity

Hundreds of Adivasi church-goers across villages in Narayanpur and Bastar, Chhattisgarh have been experiencing boycott, intimidation and violence since December last year, forcing them to leave their homes and live in refugee camps. Reportedly, Adivasi districts across Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh is seeing a rise Hindutva mobilisation against Christians .

IN FACT

Analysis

Stop Hate

Hate and Harmony in 2021

A recap of all that transpired across India in terms of hate speech and even outright hate crimes, as well as the persecution of those who dared to speak up against hate. This disturbing harvest of hate should now push us to do more to forge harmony.
Taliban 2021

Taliban in Afghanistan: A look back

Communalism Combat had taken a deep dive into the lives of people of Afghanistan under the Taliban regime. Here we reproduce some of our archives documenting the plight of hapless Afghanis, especially women, who suffered the most under the hardline regime.
2020

Milestones 2020

In the year devastated by the Covid 19 Pandemic, India witnessed apathy against some of its most marginalised people and vilification of dissenters by powerful state and non state actors. As 2020 draws to a close, and hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers continue their protest in the bitter North Indian cold. Read how Indians resisted all attempts to snatch away fundamental and constitutional freedoms.
Migrant Diaries

Migrant Diaries

The 2020 COVID pandemic brought to fore the dismal lives that our migrant workers lead. Read these heartbreaking stories of how they lived before the pandemic, how the lockdown changed their lives and what they’re doing now.

Archives