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High Court seeks Ayush Ministry reply on plea against decision on Aadhaar-based attendance in colleges

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The Delhi High Court has sought the response of the Ministry of Ayush on a plea challenging its decision to install Aadhaar-based biometric attendance system in colleges.

Justice C Hari Shankar asked the ministry and Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM) to file their counter affidavits on the plea and listed the matter for further hearing on May 23.
The petition filed by Uttarakhand-based Uttaranchal Ayurvedic College sought quashing of the January 9 minutes of the meeting by which the ministry directed CCIM to conduct surprise inspections of all colleges possessing five-year permission claiming it is in contravention of the ministry's July 2012 notification and the law laid down by the Supreme Court.

It said the apex court has held that the inspection may be done on a complaint or otherwise by a team appointed by central council only. The petition, filed through advocate Amit Sahni, said a decision was also taken in the January meeting for implementation of Aadhaar enabled geo-location based biometric attendance system for staff and faculty of the colleges.

It claimed that the minutes of meeting are bad in law and liable to be quashed as this attendance system is in violation of the apex court constitution bench judgment in the K S Puttaswamy case in which it was held that Aadhaar and its usage cannot be forced upon any individual.

"The minutes of meetings were not sent to all ayurvedic colleges and also the same was not uploaded on the official website of the Ministry of Ayush. The authorities may proceed with the decision taken in minutes of meeting dated January 9, 2019, therefore the present petition," it said. 
During the hearing, the court made it clear that if any action is taken by the authorities before the next date of hearing, on the basis of the decision which has been challenged in the petition, they would abide by the outcome of these proceedings. It also issued notice to the authorities on the plea to stay the minutes of meeting and listed it for March 27.
 
The plea also alleged that the ministry has passed several directions which are contrary to law viz, to conduct inspections even in Ayurvedic, Homoeopathic, Unani and Siddha colleges, which were granted permission for five years. The minutes of meeting also stated that the colleges shall have to recruit faculty or staff registered in that particular state, it said.


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