The Delhi High Court Tuesday said that the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) should explore the possibility of geotagging its employees, and asked the Delhi government to provide inputs on how the technology can be used to track municipal employees during working hours.
Observing that the SDMC was spending more than 70 per cent of its funds on salaries and pensions of employees and least on sanitation and development, the division bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh said, “We have all heard of those employees in the corporation… People are sitting at home and drawing salaries.”
Asking whether biometric attendance has been implemented by the corporation and whether it has been linked with Aadhaar cards of employees, the court said that there should be geotagging of employees through their mobile phones.
“It should be possible at random times during the working hours to have a system in place so there is a check as to where the person is located. We are not on manual inspections. We are on electronic inspections. It should be possible. Let’s say somebody is posted in a park or in a municipal school, working time is 9-5… if you have the particulars of that person… you have his mobile phone, it should be possible for you to make an enquiry electronically through that surveillance and see where that person is located, randomly at any point of time during the day,” added the court.
The court was hearing a case pertaining to the financial crunch being faced by municipal bodies in Delhi and their conflict with the Delhi government on release of funds. The court was told that out of total expenditure of Rs 2,900 crore between April 2020 and February 2021 by SDMC, Rs 2357 crore was spent on salaries, pensions and terminal benefits of the employees.
“Why is sanitation, development, sterilisation such a low priority for you? You need to do something about it. How can you have people when you are not making sanitation, when you are not doing development, how can you keep paying salaries to employees,” observed the court.
“Is the purpose of the corporation to just provide employment? This only shows that you are overstaffed, you are paying salaries… but the actual functioning you should perform as a municipality… on that front there is not much to show,” added the court.
While issuing notice to Delhi government in an application moved by SDMC against recovery of excess payment by Delhi government during the ongoing pandemic, the court asked the SDMC to submit an affidavit with regard to its financial position. The court will hear the case on August 11.
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