New Delhi: Amid the rising cases of dengue in the national capital, the Delhi High Court on Thursday sought status report from the central and Delhi governments on the steps they have taken to control the mosquito-borne tropical disease.
A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath said it was a serious issue and also impleaded civic agencies as parties in the case.
The court issued notice to the Centre, Delhi government, Municipal Corporations of Delhi (MCD) and New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and sought their response by September 24.
“Issue notice to Centre, Delhi government. File status report explaining the steps already taken by them. File short affidavit within two weeks,” said the court.
Delhi government’s senior standing counsel Rahul Mehra told the court that “government is on pro-active mode” and has been taking adequate steps to treat dengue patients.
“We have taken many steps. We have added 1,000 beds and planning to increase more beds in private hospitals. We are concerned for the citizens,” Mehra told the bench.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a law student Gauri Grover seeking registration of FIRs against directors of hospitals which denied treatment to a child who died of dengue and his parents later committed suicide.
However, the bench refrained from ordering lodging of an FIR and asked Grover’s counsel Satya Ranjan Swain to file additional documents relating to the negligence.
Dengue has claimed the lives of at least 16 people so far but the official toll is placed at five.
Delhi’s civic bodies have so far confirmed only five dengue deaths in the capital and the number of cases as 1,872.
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.
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.
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.”
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)