Even as the Supreme Court is debating the constitutionality of the Aadhaar Scheme, an email sent by Symbiosis Law School (SLS), Pune seems to direct students to furnish their Aadhaar card details in order to receive examination mark sheets.
A tweet sent earlier this afternoon drew attention to the email sent out to the students of SLS Pune. A screenshot attached to the tweet stated,
“Many students are not uploaded their Aadhar card information till date. We are sending reminders again and again for upload Aadhar card information.
This is MANDATORY to UPDATE AADHAR CARD information. Your AAdhar number will be printed on mark sheet. So with out AAadhaar number your mark sheet will not be generated [sic].”
— Harsh Gupta (@guptaharsh97) June 13, 2018
The email goes on to provide the steps to be followed in order to upload the identification details of the student.
When reached for comment, Deputy Director of the law school Dr Bindu Ronald told Bar & Bench that the mail in question was a reminder to update identification details, not necessarily confined to Aadhaar card details alone.
She stated that the given link would offer a choice between providing either passport OR Aadhaar card details.
The instruction has purportedly been issued in compliance with a University Grants Commission circular issued in March 2017, which had instructed universities to introduce identification methods such as photograph and Aadhaar for students. This circular, signed by the UGC’s Secretary, states,
“I request you to introduce identification mechanisms like photograph and Unique ID/Aadhaar number in students’ certificates. Such inscriptions, you’d agree, will do a long way in uniformly marking a student’s personal identity and other associated details….
…This has been approved by the Commission in its 521st meeting held on 22nd February 2017.”
Pursuant to the same, an email had been sent last April, instructing that students should upload such identification details. This email, Dr Ronald said, very clearly informed that the students can opt to choose between furnishing either Aadhaar card or passport details.
“…there was a notification from UGC. On the basis of that there was a mail, which said that students have to give their Aadhaar card/Passport details… And after that it has only been reminder mails that have gone…The e-mail (sent last April) very clearly says, click Aadhaar or passport…”
While admitting that the latest reminder e-mail that was sent may not have given complete information, she pointed out that if the provided link was followed, students will be allowed to choose to provide either passport or Aadhaar details.
“In the reminder mails, perhaps the person who has sent it has not put all the details. But the link etc. and the link itself shows Aadhaar or passport details.”
When queried as to whether a student would have no option but to opt for Aadhaar in the event that she does not have a passport, Dr Ronald said that it would be up to the Symbiosis International University (SIU) to propose some other form of ID. It was also remarked that these measures were just a form of identifying the students.
“In a world where technology has reached such levels, where photocopies and forging is almost near original, there has to be some form of an identification mechanism which needs to be there, right? This is just a form of identification….
…At this point of time, it is written….Aadhaar or passport details…We can find out from SIU if they propose to put something else.”
Dr Ronald made note to emphasise that her comments were based on the email sent last April.
In the meanwhile, it is worth noting that the UGC has withdrawn similar instructions issued with regard to publishing the Aadhaar details of PhD students online. As per reports, a clarification issued by the UGC in April 2017 states,
“The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 prohibits publishing and displaying the Aadhaar number publicly. Therefore, you are requested not to publish or display the Aadhaar number of the Students publicly.”
HT to @guptaharsh97
Read UGC Letter regarding ID mechanisms for University students:
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