Salary can’t be withheld for not linking bank account with Aadhaar: HC

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Monday questioned the Center’s decision of withholding the salary of a port trust employee since 2016 on the grounds that he had not linked his salary account with his Aadhaar.

A division bench of justices A S Oka and S K Shinde while hearing a petition filed by Ramesh Purale, working as a chargeman with the Mumbai Port Trust, said his salary cannot be withheld over failure to link his bank account with his Aadhaar card.

Purale had challenged a letter issued to him by the Union Ministry of Shipping in December 2015, asking him to link his his bank account, in which his salary was being credited, with his Aadhaar card .

He, however, refused to do so citing his fundamental right to privacy. From July 2016, he stopped getting his salary following which he petitioned the HC.

Earlier this month, Purale filed an application in his petition where he relied on the Supreme Court’s judgement of September 26 on the Aadhaar card issue.

The high court Monday questioned the Union government as to how it could take such a stand that it would not give salary to its employees because their Aadhaar card is not linked to their salary accounts.

“How can you (Centre) take a stand that salary will not be given to an employee because his Aadhaar card is not linked to the salary account?” Justice Oka asked.

“We have perused the apex court’s judgement. Prime facile, we are of the view that the petitioner’s salary cannot be withheld on the ground that there is failure to link Aadhaar card with the bank account,” he said.

The bench directed the government to pay the arrears to the petitioner and posted the petition for final hearing on January 8.

The apex court, in its verdict in September, had declared that the Center’s bio metric identity project was constitutionally valid but limited the scope, ruling it is not mandatory for bank accounts, mobile connections or school admissions.

Gowaris should be included in ST Community: Bombay High Court

MUMBAI: The Nagpur bench of Bombay Excessive court docket delivered the decision on petitions searching for the standing of Scheduled Tribe.

Adim Gowari Samaj Vikas Mandal and some others had moved the Nagpur bench of high court, seeking the status of Scheduled Tribe.

The bench, comprising Justice R Ok Deshpande and Justice Arun Upadhye, delivered the decision on petitions searching for the standing of Scheduled Tribe.

It also trashed government resolutions (GR) — in 1985 declaring Gond-Gowaris as tribals and Gowaris as non-tribals; a 1995 GR declaring the Gowaris as Special Backward Class (SBC) that is eligible for two per cent quota and a 2011 central government notification declaring Gowaris as OBCs.

Petitioners’ lawyers Narayan Phadnis and Ram Parsodkar argued that classification made by the government was wrong.

The Gowari community consists of cattle herders who were referred as the Gond-Gowari in 1916 and described as a small hybrid caste formed by an alliance between the Gonds and Gowaris. They have been listed as the subgroup of the  Gond in the Government of India list for ST.

How outside eatables will effect security protocol: Bombay High Court to Government

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court asked the Maharashtra government to make it clear that allowing permission to take food items out of the multiplexes could threaten security. The High Court said, “What kind of security concerns can be caused by carrying food items in the theaters?

People are not prohibited from carrying food to any other public place besides cinema theatres,” it said, adding, “If people can be permitted to carry home food inside aircrafts, then why not theatres?

The court was reacting to the state government’s affidavit, filed on Tuesday, which said it did not think it was fit to tamper with the ban on bringing outside food to multiplexes as it might create security issues.

A Division Bench of Justices Ranjit More and Anuja Prabhudessai was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Jainendra Baxi through Advocate Aditya Pratap on Wednesday.

Student moves High Court after college bars her with hijab

A homoeopathy student has moved the Bombay High Court after her college disallowed her to write exams due to poor attendance, which, she claimed, was because she was barred from attending classes as she wears the ‘hijab’ (headscarf).

Fakeha Badami, a resident of suburban Bandra, in her petition filed earlier this week, claimed that her attendance was poor because the Sai Homoeopathic Medical College, located at the Bhiwandi township in the neighbouring Thane district, did not allow her to attend lectures as she wears the hijab.

The petition claimed that the college prohibited all Muslim students from wearing the hijab on its premises.

As per her petition, Badami had in 2016 enrolled in the Bachelor of Homoeopathic Medicine and Surgery course in the college, which is affiliated to the Maharashtra University of Health Services (MUHS).

She had written letters to the MUHS and the Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) which asked the college to resolve the issue, saying it cannot compel a student to not wear the hijab. But, the college did not budge, said the petition.

The student had first approached the high court in November 2017 when she was not allowed to appear for the examinations held then.

The college had then told the high court that it would accommodate her in the repeater lectures and examinations that will be held in the summers of 2018, it said.

Despite this, she was allowed to attend the repeater lectures only from March this year and was again barred from appearing for the repeater exams on the ground of poor attendance, Badami claimed in the petition.

The other Muslim students had either stopped wearing the hijab to the college or left the institution. But since she continued to wear the hijab, she was being harassed, the student alleged.

“India is a secular democracy. Denying anyone the right to wear the hijab amounts to violation of fundamental right to practice religion of their choice,” the petition said.

A vacation bench of Justices S J Kathawalla and Ajey Gadkari will hear the petition on May 25.