Rashid Paul

HC seeks govt response to a contempt petition on Aadhaar

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Srinagar, Aug 10: The J&K High Court has issued a notice to the State Chief Secretary seeking his response to a contempt petition alleging willful disobedience on asking employees to link  Aadhaar cards with biometric attendance.

The court asked the Chief Secretary to file the response within four weeks to the petition by advocate Syed Musaib.

The court has already made it clear that procurement of Aadhaar card cannot be made mandatory until Supreme Court of the country decides the issue.

Aadhaar, a 12-digit unique identity number, is issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), a Government of India agency established by Planning Commission (now Niti Ayog) during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government headed by the then Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh government in 2009.

In November 2016, the J&K High Court quashed a government order making Aadhaar 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 at 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 has 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 Aadhaar scheme.

Accordingly, he had sought directions from the High Court to quash the order and direct the administration not to make possession of the Aadhaar card mandatory for any benefits due to a citizen.

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