22 Oct 2022 11:44 AM GMT
The Karnataka High Court on Thursday permitted a petitioner to withdraw a public interest litigation seeking quashing of three contracts entered into by Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) with foreign companies.A division bench of Chief Justice Prasanna B Varale and Justice Ashok S Kinagi, while disposing the petition filed by one Mathews Thomas, said, "... the learned...
The Karnataka High Court on Thursday permitted a petitioner to withdraw a public interest litigation seeking quashing of three contracts entered into by Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) with foreign companies.
A division bench of Chief Justice Prasanna B Varale and Justice Ashok S Kinagi, while disposing the petition filed by one Mathews Thomas, said, "... the learned counsel appearing along with the counsel on record prays for withdrawal of the petition with liberty to avail appropriate legal remedies including approaching the Hon'ble Apex Court."
The plea said that UIDAI by entering into the Contract with foreign private companies not only has allowed them "access to all data" "but they are also authorised to use, store, transfer, process, and link to any individual". These contracts not only violate the fundamental rights of Indian citizens but they also pose a serious threat to national security, it argued.
Thomas in the plea said that he was a petitioner before the Supreme Court in Justice Puttaswamy case but the facts regarding the private contracts were "either not brought to the attention of the apex court or the Hon'ble Supreme Court did not notice them".
According to the petition, the UIDAI on August 24 in 2010 entered into contracts with three companies, two of which were foreign firms and the third "a collaboration between an Indian and a foreign company". The Contractors are called Biometric Solution Providers.
It was further submitted that the citizens of India have been "made to think" that the government in its own capacity is collecting the databases. "In reality private agencies are operating in the guise of government bodies and are siphoning away valuable information which could very well lead to a major security threat to our nation," Thomas, who is a retired Army officer, said in the plea.
The plea said M/s. L1 Identity Solutions Operating Company Pvt. Ltd. and M/s Accenture are originally US companies. "They were and still are contractors to US Defence and Homeland Security departments and to US intelligence agencies. M/s. L1 Identity Solutions Operating Company Pvt. Ltd which was originally registered in Delaware, US, has been sold to a French Defence company and later sold to a group of private equity investors. It is presently named as IDEMIA," it stated further.
The third contractor is a collaboration between M/s. Satyam Computer Services Ltd., an Indian company, and MorphoSafran, which is a French Defence contractor, according to the petitioner
The plea prayed for striking down of UIDAI's three contracts with the foreign private companies and further sought measures to ensure that the data is not used for tracking of citizens.
Case Title: Mathew Thomas v. Union of India & ANR
Case No: WP No 17664/2021
Date of Order: 20-10-2022
Appearance: Advocate Prashant Bhushan for Advocate Chaitanya S G for petitioner
Advocate Kumar M N CGSC for respondent.
Click Here To Read/Download Order