Srinagar: Hearing a contempt petition, the J&K High Court on Friday directed the state Chief Secretary to file response on why an order has been issued directing employees to link their Aadhar cards with biometric attendance, when the court in an order dated September 11, 2017, had directed that Aadhar cards should not be linked with biometric attendance.
The court issued notice to Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam after a contempt petition in the case titled Syed Musaib versus Chief Secretary to J&K Govt was moved before the court today.
The petitioner, Syed Musaib, submitted before the court that the main objective of UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India) was to collect biometric and demographic data of residents, store them in a centralised database, and issue a 12-digit unique identity number called Aadhar.
He further submitted that a December 2011 parliamentary standing committee on finance led by Yashwant Sinha had rejected the National Identification Authority of India Bill, 2010, terming the project as “unethical and violative of Parliament’s prerogatives.”
The petitioner submitted that in 2013, a PIL filed by a former army officer had led the Supreme Court to direct the Government of India to clear its stance on the Aadhar project and had directed the government to widely publicise in print and electronic media that Aadhar was not mandatory for any welfare scheme.
A five-judge Constitutional bench of the Supreme Court had also reiterated on the point of “right to privacy” that Aadhar was a purely voluntary scheme and could not be made mandatory till the matter was finally decided by the court, the petitioner submitted.
He further stated that in 2016, when the J&K government issued an order to government employees, pensioners and beneficiaries of government schemes to get themselves compulsorily enrolled in Aadhar to be able to draw their entitlements, the court overturned the order. Subsequently, another government order was passed making Aadhar card necessary for biometric attendance but it was overturned again by the High Court in an order dated September 11, 2017, in which the court directed that biometric system can be installed in government offices but it should not be linked to Aadhar.
The petitioner submitted before the court that despite clear directions, officials had again issued an order directing employees to link their Aadhar cards with the biometric attendance system, thus being guilty of contempt of court.