Can't stop salary for not linking bank account to Aadhaar, Centre told
Mumbai, Nov 19: The Bombay High Court on Monday questioned the Centre's decision of withholding the salary of a port trust employee since 2016, on grounds that he had not linked his salary account with his Aadhaar.
A division bench of justices AS Oka and SK Shinde, while hearing a petition filed by Ramesh Purale, 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 bank account, in which his salary was being credited, with his Aadhaar.
He refused to do so citing his fundamental right to privacy. From July 2016, he stopped getting his salary following which he petitioned the High Court.
"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 facie, 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 top court, in its verdict in September, had declared that the Centre's biometric identity project was constitutionally valid but limited the scope, ruling it is not mandatory for bank accounts, mobile connections or school admissions.