Srinagar, Oct 4: The State High Court today stayed the Government order regarding installation of Aadhaar Enabled Biometric Attendance System (AEBAS) in Government departments to ensure the attendance of Government employees.
The fresh order of Government has been passed for making the procurement of Aadhaar card mandatory for Government employees for AEBAS and the Aadhaar Card as mandatory has been stayed by the Division Bench of Chief Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey with the observation that the Supreme Court has already held Aadhaar is not mandatory.
“This Court as well as Supreme Court has held that till pendency of orders to be passed by the Supreme Court, the Aadhaar has been made compulsory, in light of the orders passed, there shall be an interim stay of ordering in so far insisting for Aadhaar Card is concerned”, directed the DB and also issued notice to the Government through Chief Secretary of the State and the notice has been accepted in open court by the State Counsel M A Beigh (Dy AG).
In its order Supreme Court has made 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 and the interim orders shall be strictly followed”.
It has been submitted before the court that order of General Administration Department on 01.09.2016 is directly in violation and contravention of the various direction issued by Supreme Court declaring that Aadhaar is a voluntary Scheme and should not be made mandatory or compulsory.
The court has been apprised that Jammu & Kashmir has only 64% Aadhaar enrollment, which is amongst the lowest number of Aadhaar card holders in the entire country as such Government order is illogical and has been passed without any application of mind.
“Aadhaar Scheme infringes the Right of Privacy and the same is subject matter of five Judge Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court. Such impugned Government order undermines and prejudices the case in hand before the Supreme Court as well”, reads the petition.
Because of such impugned order, mentioned in the petition ‘suffers from infirmity with respect to the Constitution of India’ as rest of the citizen of the country in all other parts are exempted from compulsory disclosure and in the State of Jammu & Kashmir people are forced to disclose private information under the cloak of Aadhaar Scheme.
In the said order all Administrative Secretaries have been instructed that salary of the employees from the month of September, 2016, who remain on unauthorized absence from duty shall not be released and action under rules be initiated against them. “Salary of all the employees for the month of August be released in view of the ensuing festival of Eid-ul-Zuha”, reads other condition contained in the Government order.
It may be mentioned that High Court had last month quashed the Government order on Aadhaar Card that was made mandatory for the various purposes including drawing of salary for Government employees.
The court while quashing the order held that the Government order (No. 35-F of 2016 dated 10.2.2016) is in contrary of the orders of Supreme Court as such quashed it and directed the Government to pass fresh order in tune with the direction of Supreme Court.
State Government had issued an order no. 35-F of 2016 dated 10.2.2016 wherein possession of Aadhaar Card was made mandatory for almost all sections of the people including employees, pensioners, Public Sector Unit Holders etc, while as Supreme Court in its interim order in October 2015, observed that Aadhaar Card is ‘purely voluntary’ and not mandatory and it cannot be made mandatory till the matter is decided by the Supreme Court, one way or the other.