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 Today’s Talk on Editorials November 16, 2017- Civils360

Privacy Issues without Aadhaar: Livemint

Background: In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in Puttaswamy case that the right to privacy was a fundamental right under the Constitution. The Constitution bench ruled that right to privacy is an intrinsic part of Right to Life and Personal Liberty under Article 21 and entire Part III of the Constitution. The ruling on the highly contentious issue was to deal with a batch of petitions challenging the Centre’s move to make Aadhaar mandatory for availing the benefits of various social welfare schemes. However, privacy issues exist still outside the ambit of Aadhaar.

  • Two such data privacy issues are data disclosure and voluntariness. As per National Privacy Principle on data disclosure, no information shall be disclosed to third parties without providing notice and informed consent from the individual. For example, nearly 130 million Aadhaar numbers had been published online by four government departments. In many cases, these were published along with personal information. If someone finds out the fingerprint information, they could get access to Aadhaar linked bank accounts.
  • Demographic data disclosure is not limited to Aadhaar. For transparency reasons, state election commission websites disclose the personal information of every person registered to vote online.
  • It, therefore, points to the critical need for a data privacy regulator to investigate and penalize unauthorized disclosure of sensitive personal information.
  • The ability to voluntarily opt in and out of data systems, based on informed consent, is central to the National Privacy Principle of “Choice and Consent”. While voluntariness is actively discussed with Aadhaar, the same is not true for other IDs and data initiatives. For example, fingerprints are collected to issue Indian passports, but the use of this is not clear.
  • To tackle the risks to privacy, India requires a strong, competent and independent data privacy regulator, backed by a robust law. 

Managing case flows: The Indian Express

Background: Supreme Court recently said that subordinate judiciary “cannot rest in a state of helplessness”. IT also opined that non-performers and “dead-wood” among judges should be weeded out as the judicial service is not just a job to be done with but a mission to serve the cause of justice.  57% of district and subordinate court cases take more than 10 years to dispose of. India ranks 178th among 189 countries on the Enforcing Contracts indicator, making it one of India’s worst-performing indicators in World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business study. It highlights the poor justice system in India.

  • Twenty-five million cases are pending in subordinate courts, more than six million for over five years. To resolve the situation, there are majorly two methods that can be adopted- extensive and intensive methods.
  • Extensive- include increasing the number of courts, increase the number of judges and intensive methods include enhancing the productivity of existing court infrastructure and human resources. It involves effective case flow management.
  • To ensure effective CFM, a committee was formed under Justice M. Jagannadha Rao to ensure that the amendments in Criminal Procedure Code become effective and result in a quicker dispensation of justice. A model CFM rule was suggested to streamline the justice delivery system. However, the suggested case flow management was not adopted by all the High Courts.
  • Also, there was an attempt to nationalise the model CFM rules. The 2012 report was done by Justice Manikrao Khanwilkar, prescribing national common standards on CFM that can/should be applied to all high courts.
  • Courts are unable or unwilling to adhere to time limits recommended by the CFM Rules, despite the fact that the Rules passed by the High Courts are binding on the subordinate courts. These could be due to two reasons: One, courts have little knowledge or will in implementing CFM to better administer their courts and two, the time limits recommended by the Law Commission were adopted without much consultation with the states.