Major relief for employees, HC quashes Aadhar card mandatory order

Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar, Sept 26:  In a major relief to the Government employees, the State High Court today quashed the Government order about Aadhar card being mandatory for the various purposes including drawing of salary.
The Court  while quashing the Government order (No. 35-F of 2016 dated 10.2.2016) said it is contrary to the orders of Supreme Court. The Court directed the Government to pass fresh order in tune with the direction of Supreme Court.
“Hence the order No. 35-F of 2016 dated 10.2.2016 is quashed with liberty to the respondents to issue a fresh order in compliance with the in term orders of Supreme Court”, Division Bench of Chief Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey said.
The State Government had issued an order (No. 35-F of 2016 dated 10.2.2016) wherein possession of Aadhar card has been 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 on October 2015, observed that Aadhar 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.
The PIL has been filed before the High Court by one Syed Musaib challenging the Government order wherein Aadhar card has been made mandatory and according to the petitioner the order is arbitrary, capricious and unlawful order.
The High Court while closing the PIL said the Government order issued is being contrary to the order of Supreme Court when Supreme Court itself passed an order not to compel any one to give the Aadhar card to get the benefits for various schemes.
Court said the State Government is bound by the order of Supreme Court which is still in force. Considering the said orders passed by the Supreme Court, the High Court passed interim order on February 2016.  Court said that it is not in dispute that the order passed by the Supreme Court is still in force and the respondents herein are also bound by the said order.
“The Supreme Court having exercised its jurisdiction under Article 12 of the Indian Constitution and passed interim orders, the same are binding on all States”, DB said while referring the interim orders of Supreme Court whereby possession of Aadhar card as mandatory has been stayed.
Advocate General of the State Jehangir Ganaie in his arguments could not defend the Government order which as per the bench is in total conflict with the orders of the Supreme Court and in particular about the order passed by the Supreme Court on 15.10.2015 whereby the matter was referred to a constitutional bench for final hearing.
In the said order Supreme Court has made it clear that “Aadhar 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 is worthwhile to mention here that State Government by issuing order dated 10.2.2016 wherein decision was taken that those persons drawing benefits like old aged pension, widow pension, student scholarship, stipend, honorarium, wages under MGNREGA or any other similar cash benefits from Government would need to enroll themselves in Aadhar Based Biometric System.
Aadhar was also made mandatory for all Government employees drawing wages, honorarium etc and it is made in the impugned order (order No. 35-F of 2016) that no salary or wages would be drawn in favour of Government employees of any category for the month of March 2016 onwards unless they have enrolled themselves in Aadhar Based Biometric System.