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Delhi High Court to hear the petition on Asha Kiran deaths: seeks explanation from Delhi Government

Public Interest Litigation (PIL) also sought an investigation into the reasons for the alleged disappearance of around 250 inmates between 2001 and 2016

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Asha Kiran
'Asha Kiran'- A government run facility for women with mental disabilities, Credits- Equilibrio Informativo

New Delhi, Feb 16, 2017: A new development has been made in the recent case of ‘Asha Kiran’- a government-run shelter home for women with mental disabilities, where a team of Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) found unreported deaths of 11 inmates in past two months and several discrepancies in a surprise inspection.

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The Delhi High Court on Friday will hear a petition seeking a response from the Delhi government on the cause of death of 11 inmates in Asha Kiran. The petitioner, social activist Salek Chand Jain, also urged the court to order registration of FIRs against the erring officials on the basis of the post-mortem reports.

Further, the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) sought an investigation into the reasons for the alleged disappearance of around 250 inmates between 2001 and 2016. The matter was listed for consideration on February 17.

Whereas DNA reported that the post-mortem reports of five inmates hinted at death due to starvation, DCW chief Swati Malliwal sent a notice to the secretary of Social Welfare Department and commissioned a separate committee to probe into this matter.

When our correspondent got in touch with Malliwal to get information about the notice that was sent to the Secretary of the Social Welfare Department, her Media Advisor informed that in reply to the notice, a report has been received from Social Welfare Department which is being assessed by the DCW.

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Advocate Sugriva Dubey said that many children are admitted every year in Asha Kiran but there are no records of those who go missing. “Even if they have gone missing, were they ever traced? Where is the record?” he questioned.

“Whatever is happening inside the home is highly objectionable and incorrect. Even the RTI replies given by the authorities are not satisfactory. They don’t divulge any details and the information provided is not up to the mark,” Dubey said to DNA

In his plea, Jain cited few parts of the investigation report of Delhi Commission for Women (DCW). He said the DCW team conducted surprise inspection at Asha Kiran and found that inmates were walking around the corridors in the naked state.

The social activist further mentioned the overcrowding at the home and said the court should take steps to put an end to such incidents. He also stated many missing children and inmates have not been traced till date.

The home, which has a capacity for 500 inmates but houses over 900 people.

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The deplorable living condition at the Asha Kiran came under scanner after an investigation by DCW where its team headed by DCW chief, Swati Malliwal, carried out a surprise inspection at the premises and shared the horrific details, including inmates walking around naked inside the home.

-prepared by Ashish Srivastava of NewsGram Twitter @PhulRetard

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Aadhaar Data Breach Report Incorrect: High Court

Citing the top court's judgement, the petitioner said that when the state violates the constitutional rights of a citizen, courts may award compensation

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Aadhaar Card Logo. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) on Thursday told the Delhi High Court that reports regarding security breach of data related to Aadhaar is incorrect and misleading as the strongest encryption technology has been used to store data which is impossible to decrypt.

“The technology used is 2048-bit encryption, which is the strongest one and it is impossible to decrypt and extract any information even if enrolment packets were accessible during transit to the UIDAI data centre,” UIDAI told a bench of Justice S. Ravindra Bhat and Justice Prateek Jalan.

The bench was hearing a plea seeking exemplary damages for the losses caused due to leakage of Aadhaar data.

The plea was filed by Shamnad Basheer alleging that the dissemination of personal information of Aadhaar holders made it clear that the government is responsible for any breach of right to informational privacy.

E-Aadhaar card.

In an affidavit, the government agecy said that Aadhaar data is fully secured at all times and for further strengthening of security and privacy of data, security audits are conducted on regular basis, and all possible steps are taken to make the data safer and protected.

It further added that there are multiple layers of security at physical level in UIDAI data centres and is being managed by armed Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel round-the-clock.

“The technical architecture of Aadhaar has been structured in such a way, so as to ensure clear data verification, authentication and de-duplication, while ensuring a high level of privacy and information security,” the UIDAI said.

“UIDAI has taken all necessary safeguards, starting from providing standardised software that encrypts the entire data even before saving it to any disk; protecting data using tamper-proofing; identifying every operator in all and every enrolment; and identifying every one of the thousands of machines using an unique registration process, which ensures every encrypted data is tracked,” read the reply copy filed by the UIDAI.

Countering Basheer’s claim, the agency also said that the petitioner is trying to re-agitate the same issues which have attained finality before the Supreme Court and therefore the present petition deserves to be dismissed with costs.

Aadhaar Card. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

It said that the petition is based on a mere assumption that the general public is likely to be aggrieved.

“In the entire petition, there is not even a mention as to how the petitioner is aggrieved by the actions of the UIDAI and how his constitutional rights have been violated to entitle him to damages claimed by him,” the UIDAI said.

Adding that there is no merit in the application, UIDAI, in its reply, said: “The alleged facts (leakage of Aadhaar data) on the basis of which the petitioner has filed the plea are unsubstantiated statements and the information relating to the Aadhaar scheme has been grossly misreported and interpolated to mislead this court.

“The petitioner has pivoted his entire case around the misleading and unverified reports in the media regarding security breach of data related to Aadhaar, which is entirely denied as incorrect and misinformed.”

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The agency requested the court to dismiss the plea with cost as the petitioner has no locus standi to file this application.

The petitioner has said his constitutional rights have been violated due to the negligence of UIDAI.

Citing the top court’s judgement, the petitioner said that when the state violates the constitutional rights of a citizen, courts may award compensation.

Basheer has also requested the court to appoint an independent committee comprising multiple experts to investigate the scope, extent of breaches and the magnitude of harm caused due to data leak. (IANS)