Linking Biometric Attendance to Adhaar: HC Says Wait for SC Decision

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Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir on Monday reiterated that biometric attendance system in government office shall not be linked with Adhaar cards in the state till the issue was decided by the Supreme Court.

“A clarification has been passed 8 May 2017. The result of this would be that the biometric attendance system can be installed in government offices. However, the same shall not be linked to the Adhaar card. This would however, be subject to the Supreme Court decision,” a division bench of the High Court headed by Chief Justice Badar Durez Ahmad while disposing of a Public Interest Litigation.

In May this year, the J&K High Court had given green signal to the installation of biometric attendance system in government office, “clarifying” that its stay only pertains to linking it with adhaar cards in the state.

The court had reiterating its observation that procurement of Adhaar card cannot be made mandatory until apex court decided the issue finally.

Aadhar is a 12-digit unique identity number issued by the UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India), a government of India agency which was established by the Planning Commission in 2009.

In November last year, the High Court has quashed a government order, making Aadhar card mandatory for its employees for drawing various entitlements including the salary.

“From the perusal of the Supreme Court order dated 15-10-2015, it is evident that matter was referred to the constitution bench for final hearing, making it clear that Aadhaar card scheme is voluntary and cannot be made mandatory till the matter is decided by the Supreme Court in one way or the other,” the high court had said and asked the government to “strictly” follow the apex court’s interim orders from 29 March 2013.

“It is beyond doubt that government order issued cannot all be sustained as it is in violation of the interim orders passed by the Supreme Court,” the division bench had said and quashed the government order (No. 35-F of 2016 dated 10-2-2016) with a liberty to the administration to issue a fresh order in compliance with the interim orders passed by the apex court relating to foods grains, cooking fuel such as kerosene and for the purpose of the LPG distribution scheme.

The petitioner, advocate Musaib, had submitted in the PIL that the government order suffers from infirmity with respect to the Constitution as people in the state are forced to disclose private information under the cloak of the Aadhar scheme. Accordingly, he had sought directions from the High Court to quash the order and direct the administration not to make possession of the Adhaar card mandatory for any benefits due to a citizen.

 

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