Ranjona Banerji: Deflecting from the full truth on Aadhar

28 Sep,2018

By Ranjona Banerji

 

The Aadhaar judgment of September 26, is one more significant, and therefore newsworthy, ruling from the Supreme Court, in these uncertain times. No surprise then that some of our news channels jumped straight into an upcoming Ayodhya judgment due the next day. What would happen to the future of the temple at the site of the demolished Babri Masjid, to India and so on. As it turned out – and also clear to everyone who knew – this was not THE Ayodhya judgment. That’s due on October 29. But it was a neat deflection from Aadhaar, Rafale, rising fuel prices and the state of the nation.

 

Times Now was however all excited that its temple was going to be built at last, since it carried the news with the hashtag: Mandir Marg Cleared.

 

I could almost see all the anchors dressed up with aarti thalis in their hands dancing with joy at the site of the destruction of India’s secular fabric. But that’s just me. Or is it?

 

The Times of India’s cartoonist also saw the Ayodhya judgment’s news coverage as a deflection tactic, as this cartoon shows.

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Back to Aadhaar then and arguments are still on. The Times of India editorial on September 27 had this to say, “It would be instructive for everyone, especially the government, to read Justice DY Chandrachud’s stinging dissent that exposes the Aadhaar system’s design flaws, the Aadhaar Act’s flawed structuring of UIDAI, and the bypassing of the Rajya Sabha scrutiny in taking the money bill route”.

The lead edit page piece next to the edit however bemoans the SC’s act of disassociating Aadhaar from the private sector.

The “keep everyone happy” mission at work again.

The Indian Express editorial of September 27 called the SC judgment a “fine balance” but also listed the way the poor have suffered because of the Aadhaar structure, mentioning the deaths caused by it.

It is also worth reading these two edit pages pieces from the Indian Express, by Arvind Datar and Apar Gupta, both lawyers involved in the Aadhaar litigation, fighting for the rights of private citizens against government over-control.

 

https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/aadhaar-supreme-court-bjp-congress-course-correction-5376100/

 

https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/message-from-a-verdict-aadhaar-verdict-supreme-court-5377388/

 

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The story which is being discussed all over the world but not so much in India is the hearings into the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh into the US Supreme Court among allegations of sexual harassment. Given the hidden sexual harassment and abuse that is rampant not just in our society but all societies, this Kavanaugh hearing needs wider traction.

It also give us in India the understanding of why such public scrutinies are essential to democracy.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/sep/27/kavanaugh-ford-testimony-latest-what-will-they-say-senate-hearing

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In a welcome move, the Editors Guild of India has put up the minutes of its last executive committee meeting, held on September 3, on its website and on social media. This gives journalists all over the country an idea of what the Guild considers important and what will be taken further. It also gives us an inkling of whether we can expect support from the Guild or not.

https://editorsguild.in/minutes-executive-committee-03-september-2018/

 

Ranjona Banerji is a senior journalist and commentator. She is also Consulting Editor, MxMIndia. The views here are personal

 

 

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