After the Delhi High Court had ruled that it is not mandatory to give Aadhaar and voter ID details of students, along with that of their siblings and parents, for admission to schools in the capital, the Directorate of Education (DoE) of the Delhi government has issued a fresh circular directing schools to collect “comprehensive data” of all students and their families — including voter ID details.
On October 1, a bench comprising Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Chander Shekhar — while hearing a petition against a September 11 government circular calling for Aadhaar and voter ID details of students of all schools in the capital, as well as their siblings and parents — had observed that the Supreme Court had limited the scope of the biometric identity project, ruling that it is not mandatory for bank accounts, mobile connections or school admissions.
It had also noted that the Delhi government was issuing a corrigendum with regard to the September 11 circular.
On October 8, the DoE issued a fresh circular stating that the earlier petition had been dismissed and directed schools to not collect information and documents related to Aadhaar. Instead, the circular directs schools to collect “comprehensive data” of all students, their guardians and all their siblings, including their mobile numbers, voter ID details, and educational qualifications.
The petitioners against the September 11 circular — the Government School Teachers’ Association (GSTA) — attempted to move the court against the new circular on Friday. A bench headed by Justice Sanjiv Khanna pulled up the Delhi government for issuing the new circular based on the statement that the previous petition had been “dismissed”, when the circular had been found invalid in light of the Aadhaar judgment.
As an application had been filed to revive the GSTA’s earlier petition, the bench asked the petitioner to file a fresh petition in view of the new circular. Kamlesh Kumar Mishra, advocate for the petitioner, said that the court asked him to file the petition on Monday.
GSTA president C P Singh said their reason for petitioning against the previous circular continues to stand. “This collection of data entails too much paperwork, and the work is to be burdened on teachers, cutting into a lot of time meant for teaching. What is the reason for the government to demand these kinds of details from their students?…,” he said.
According to the circular, the collection process will “facilitate in creating a data bank of students of Delhi to verify the residential address, and its analysis will serve various purposes of the department like short- and long-term planning.”