Linking Aadhaar number to recruitment should not, prima facie, be a mandatory condition as it may violate equal opportunity and deny easy access to applicants applying for jobs online, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has ruled while staying the entire recruitment process
of Maharishi Dayanand University
The university had issued an advertisement on January 25 to fill posts of lecturer in different categories, including Assistant Professor (Law). The applications were to be submitted from January 25 to February 15.
The date was, subsequently, extended to February 28.
Taking up the matter, Justice Rajive Narain Raina asserted a novel matter had arisen in the case. In the ‘recruitment portal’ uploaded on the MDU’s website for direct recruitment to several posts, a column demanded Aadhaar number.If the number was not entered, the applicant could not move to step two. As such, the online application was rejected.
Justice Raina added some other method could have been devised by the university if Aadhaar number was required for thumb impressions or biometrics. This could have been done by making a provision in the software for enabling the candidates to continue to step two of the application form and apply on time.“Otherwise, they will be confronted with denial of employment opportunity, which is a very serious and sacrosanct right in a country where employment opportunities are fought on war footing,”
Justice Raina added.Issuing a notice of motion on a petition filed against the MDU by Pradeep Kumar
through counsel Ravinder Singh Dhull, Justice Raina asserted an issue of public importance had arisen in the case. “In the meantime, there will be a stay on the entire recruitment process till further orders.
”The petitioner was seeking issuance of appropriate direction to the respondent-university to consider his application for the post of Assistant Professor (Law) as per advertisement dated January 25 without insisting on Aadhaar card.Dhull added the petitioner was not having an Aadhaar card.
Besides, the use of Aadhaar as a mandatory document was barred by the Supreme Court
as per an order on December 15, 2017.
It was further stated by the counsel that the petitioner was fully eligible for the post and was presently pursuing PhD in the same university.
“Petitioner’s identity was not disputed and he was a student of the same university. However, the online portal of applying for the post is asking for Aadhaar Card as a mandatory document for applying for the post in initial step-1 of the application process. The petitioner was not having any Aadhaar Card and had not even applied for the same till date. He had submitted a representation before the vice-chancellor of the university that he may be allowed to apply without Aadhar card and mandating the same is prejudicial to his rights but nothing was done”, Dhull has argued seeking a stay on the selection process.