The Madras High Court has directed the government of Tamil Nadu to implement the Aadhaar-based biometric attendance system in all government and government-aided schools after dismissing a petition challenging its introduction, Deccan Chronicle reports. The petition was filed by R Annal, a teacher who has chosen not to apply for an Aadhaar card. It sought to quash a government order issued on October 25, 2018, which called for the biometric attendance system to be implemented for teaching and non-teaching employees of government and government-aided high schools and higher secondary schools in the state. Justice SM Subramaniam said growing indiscipline among public servants had necessitated the introduction of the system, and dismissed Annal’s petition.

Petition in Delhi High Court terms it ‘unlawful’

In March, the Delhi High Court sought the response of the Ministry of AYUSH to a petition challenging its decision to use Aadhaar-based attendance in Ayurvedic, Homeopathic, Unani and Siddha colleges. The petition, filed by Uttaranchal Ayurvedic College, argued that the AYUSH ministry’s directions, passed on January 9, violated its own statutes and notifications, and the law settled by the Supreme Court. It said the ministry’s implementation of an Aadhaar-based and geo-location-enabled biometric attendance system for staff and faculty in colleges was unlawful and in clear violation of the constitutional bench judgment in KS Puttaswamy vs Union of India.

7.8 crore Aadhaar records compromised in AP and Telangana

We reported yesterday that 7.8 crore Aadhaar records from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana were found on the hard disks of IT Grids Pvt. Ltd, a firm that operates the Telugu Desam Party’s Sevamitra app. The Cyberabad police last week lodged a FIR against IT Grids’ management, based on a complaint filed by the UIDAI’s Hyderabad Regional Office. The complaint and FIR noted that the IT Grids’ possession of extensive Aadhaar data likely meant that the data was sourced from either the Central Identities Data Repository (CIDR) or the State Resident Data Hub (SRDH). The investigation revealed that the structure and size of the database, and the fact that the database contained Aadhaar Enrolment IDs (EIDs), strengthened this suspicion. Further, forensic investigation by the Telangana State Forensic Science Laboratory (TSFSL) found that IT Grids’ stored Aadhaar data of crores of people on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud. The FIR alleged that this may have possibly exposed sensitive Indian data and compromised national security.

In February, UIDAI emails and records showed that an Aadhaar operator’s biometrics were used multiple times in different locations on the same day, without his knowledge. The UIDAI barred him from being an operator for 5 years. It also fined him Rs 33 lakhs in December 2018, a month after it barred his access to the Aadhaar enrollment system for enrolment errors.