The Swadeshi Jugaad in the Restoration of Gandhi’s Bicycle

“I don’t think the Mahatma would have approved of our little project.”

Source: How I restored Bapu’s bicycle with the help of local repairmen

This is a fascinating, well researched piece about how a team of craftsmen restored a bicycle that Gandhi rode around Sabarmati Ashram.

Whatever the provenance of this bicycle, the native jugaad and craft make the restored bike all swadeshi.

Aspects of Aadhaar, India’s biometric ID, struck down as unconstitutional.

aadhaar-1537929142.jpeg (Includes full text of the decision.)

Sections 33(2),47 & 57 Of Aadhaar Act Struck Down; National Security Exception Gone; Private Entities Cannot Demand Aadhaar Data [Read Judgment] | Live Law

Among the aspects that were ruled unconstitutional:

  • Disclosure of information “in the interest of national security” without authorization from a Joint Secretary or higher ranking officer and a Judicial Officer.
  • Permitting private entities to use Aadhaar for authenticating their users/customers.
  • Disclosure of an individual’s information without providing the individual an opportunity to challenge the order.

The court further held that Section 139AA of the Income Tax Act, 1961 is not violative of right to privacy as it satisfies the triple test (I) existence of a law; (ii) a ‘legitimate State interest’; and (iii) such law should pass the ‘test of proportionality’,

However, the bench held that the move of mandatory linking of Aadhaar with bank account does not satisfy the test of proportionality. It has been also held that Mandatory linking of mobile number with Aadhaar is held to be illegal and unconstitutional as it is not backed by any law.

Justice D.Y. Chandrachud wrote a strong dissent (includes the full text of the dissent) to the ruling’s upholding of the Aadhaar Act’s constitutionality. The bill was passed by classifying it as one that could bypass Rajya Sabha, the Upper House of the Parliament.

“The passing Aadhaar Act as money bill is a fraud on the constitution”, Justice Chandrachud observed. The decision of Speaker to classify a bill as money bill is amenable to judicial review. The judgment also highlighted the importance of Rajya Sabha in passing laws.

“If a constitution has to survive political aggrandizement, notions of power and authority must give compliance to rule of law.”, he observed in his dissenting judgment.

Justice Chandrachud deemed the entire Aadhaar project to be unconstitutional.

“Constitutional guarantees cannot be compromised by vicissitudes of technology”, he observed.

Section 57 of the Act was held to be violating Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution. Allowing private enterprise to use Aadhaar numbers will lead to exploitation of data.

Holding that Aadhaar had potential for surveillance, it was stated that the architecture posed risk on potential violation of leakage of database. Source code is of foreign corporation. “The data must all the time vest with the individual”, said the judgment. It was held that many provisions of Aadhaar Act provide for invasive collection of biometric data.

India Supreme Court Strikes Down 157 Year Old Law Criminalizing Consensual Homosexual Acts Between Adults; Holds Section 377 IPC Unconstitutional To That Extent [Read Judgment] | Live Law


Chief Justice Dipak Misra said it is a unanimous verdict expressed through four separate but concurring judgments.

“Section 377 IPC is irrational , indefensible and arbitrary.The majoritarian views and popular morality cannot dictate constitutional rights”

India Pushes Back Against Tech ‘Colonization’ by Internet Giants – The New York Times

The overlapping tensions in India’s online business, policy and data protection

India wants to curb the dominance of foreign (mainly US) tech giants in India’s online consumer marketplace to facilitate the growth of homegrown counterparts. For this, it is looking at China’s success in establishing its own tech heavyweights by virtually walling off its citizens’ online access from the rest of the world. However, India also needs foreign investment, and Indians would not tolerate China-style restrictions on access to the web.

European regulations on the storage and use of user data are another approach for the Indian government to rein in foreign companies’ offerings in the country. While the European regulations are aimed at protecting the privacy of its residents, the Indian government wants to exempt itself from restrictions on access to its residents’ online data.

Seeing ‘Pattern’ of Inaction, Over 600 Scholars Write to PM on Kathua, Unnao Rapes – The Wire


New Delhi: In solidarity with the retired civil servants who wrote a
letter last week to Prime Minister Narendra Modi holding him responsible
for the  “terrible state of affairs” in Kathua and Unnao, over 600
academics from India and abroad,  including Noam Chomsky and Lila
Abu-Lughod have also written an open letter to the prime minister
expressing their “deep anger and anguish” over these “monstrous crimes”
and the effort by the state governments concerned to protect the alleged

“There is little evidence, in government action, of an appreciation
of the importance of providing assistance to vulnerable sections of the
society – whether through promotional measures aimed at enabling tribals
and nomads to have access to forest and common property rights, or
through preventive measures aimed at discouraging blatant breaches of
the rule of law,” says the letter.

Seeing ‘Pattern’ of Inaction, Over 600 Scholars Write to PM on Kathua, Unnao Rapes – The Wire

Universities as Modern Agraharas*


… even though the marginalised groups can access education as it is constitutionally mandated, exclusion manifests in dubious ways. The principle of merit is largely undefined. However, the social and economic worth of individuals and institutions is valued on the basis of this amorphous principle. Any standard definition of merit will again feed the myth of the “family farm” comprising parental background, alma mater, economic occupations, physicality and geographical location. Needless to say, these privileges are available only to a chosen few who are then considered as “meritorious”, “worthy” and the “best”.

In an ongoing study sponsored by the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) on ‘Discrimination and Exclusion in Institutions of Higher Learning in India’, SC/ST students of four universities — Delhi, Mumbai, Madras and Hyderabad — were mapped. A total of 72 respondents were interviewed on various parameters. More than 70 percent of them felt stigmatised by their caste identity within the classrooms, peer group and the academic environment. Unsurprisingly, Rohith wrote in his suicide note, “My birth is my fatal accident.”

Universities as Modern Agraharas*