Biometric Attendance: J&K HC issues notice to Government

Srinagar 11 Aug 2018

The High Court today issued notice to Government on linking the Aadhaar Cards of Government employees with their Biometric attendance in violation of Supreme Court orders and High Court.

Hearing a contempt petition filed by Advocate Syed Musaib stating that the Government despite clear directions from Supreme Court issued an order directing the employees to link their Aadhaar Cards with Biometric Attendance, the Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Alok Aradhe issued notice to Chief Secretary for filing of response to the facts taken in the contempt petition.

The Advocate placed the copy of order for perusal of Court issued by the Chief Secretary (B V R Subrahmanyam) where in all administrative Secretaries and Deputy Commissioners have been asked to take up the task of completing Aadhaar enrolment of their employees for using AEBAS by July 23.

“All employees who already have Aadhaar must get themselves registered on AEBAS portal by the July 18. Any employee not enrolled for Aadhaar by July 23 will not be on the biometric attendance system and liable for loss of pay”, the CS directed in his order issued on July 17, 2018.

Citing the pleadings of Supreme court in the contempt petition, Advocate Musaib submitted that in Public Interest Litigation before Apex Court wherein it was contended that the Government was implementing the project without any legislative backing and the Supreme Court directed “…no person should suffer for not getting the Adhaar Card inspite of the fact that some authority had issued a circular making it mandatory and when any person applies to get the Adhaar Card voluntarily…” .

The Supreme Court, Advocate Musaib, directed the Government to widely publicize in print and electronic media that Aadhaar is not mandatory for any welfare scheme. “The court also referred the petitions claiming Aadhaar is unconstitutional and infringes right of privacy matter to a Constitutional Bench”, read the contempt petition.

The 5-Judge Constitutional Bench on issue of ‘right of privacy’ made it clear that the Aadhaar card scheme is purely voluntary and it cannot be made mandatory till the matter is finally decided by the Court one way or the other.

Government in February 2016 had also issued any order making Aadhaar mandatory for Government employees and pensioners followed by another order making Aadhaar mandatory for Government employees for the purpose of biometric attendance and the High Court on 11.9.2017 about these orders directed that the biometric attendance system can be installed in Government offices, however, the same shall not be linked to the Aadhaar Cards…”.