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Delhi HC asks for AYUSH ministry’s response in Aadhaar biometric attendance petition

The Delhi HC has sought the response of the Ministry of AYUSH in a petition challenging its decision to use Aadhaar-based attendance in Ayurvedic, Homeopathic, Unani, Siddha colleges, reports LiveLaw. The petition was filed by Uttaranchal Ayurvedic College via attorney Amit Sahni.

Sahni’s petition argues that the AYUSH ministry’s directions passed on 9 January violated its own statutes and notifications, and the law settled by the Supreme Court. Apart from Aadhaar-based attendance, the petition also challenges mandatory local recruitment of faculty and staff, among other things.

The petition argues that the ministry passed unlawful directions for mandatory implementation of Aadhaar-enabled geo-location-enabled biometric attendance system for staff and faculty in colleges, stating that this was in clear violation of the constitutional bench judgment in KS Puttaswamy vs Union of India.

The AYUSH ministry has submitted that the directions under the challenge are tentative in nature and that no final decision has been taken. The court refused a grant a stay on the petition and has given the ministry four weeks to respond. The matter is now listed for March 27.

Student detention due to poor biometric attendance

Yesterday, students from polytechnic colleges in Telangana protested in front of the State Board of Technical Education and Training in Hyderabad, demonstrating against the detention of 21,481 students. The detained students have been prevented from writing exams for their 2nd and 4th semester, beginning March 19.

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Students and the members of the All India Democratic Students’ Union said that the biometric attendance system was faulty, and showed incorrect attendance percentages. Students who had 100% attendance were told they had only 60% attendance, according to AIDSO. It pointed to malfunctions in biometric machines, servers, fingerprint scanners, and lack of awareness on the usage of these machines.

Moreover, the management of polytechnic colleges have argued that faulty biometric devices were to blame for detention, and that the biometric attendance system (BAS) was implemented in haste and that there was lack of awareness in the system.

The Telangana State Technological Services has implemented the Aadhaar based attendance system in the offices of the state government and the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, welfare hostels, and in schools and colleges. According to the report, 5 lakh people were marking Aadhaar-based attendance in the state as of October 2018.

In November 2018, LiveLaw reported that a Aadhaar-linked biometric attendance system would be introduced soon in Delhi district courts. All officials were asked to further their details along with consent to the Aadhaar-based biometric attendance system.

Also read: Indian state government leaks thousands of Aadhaar numbers

Read our Aadhaar and biometrics coverage.

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