Published: 16th April 2019
If you can't use biometric attendance, how can you teach the students discipline, HC asks Govt Teacher
Madras High Court is stringent on bringing about disciplinary changes for the better within the Government Schools in the state
Taking strong objection to the opposition by a teacher for the introduction of biometric attendance in schools, the Madras High Court has directed the government to verify details of the movable and immovable properties of the teaching and non-teaching staff working in government and aided schools with reference to the declaration made by them in service records.
"If any discrepancies are identified, suitable action shall be taken through the Department of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption and under Discipline and Appeal Rules," Justice S M Subramaniam said. The judge gave this direction while passing orders on a writ petition from R Annal, a teacher working in a government school in Nagercoil, challenging the scheme. “If a teacher has chosen to challenge the foolproof attendance system introduced by the government, how can one expect from a teacher that she/he will teach discipline to their own students?. The larger question, which arises in the mind of the court, is over the growing indiscipline in government schools and educational institutions across the State,” the judge said.
Annal had filed the writ petition challenging the introduction of Aadhaar-Enabled Biometric Attendance System (AEBAS) in government and government-aided schools. She sought to declare the GO, dated October 25, 2018, which introduced the new system, as unconstitutional, violative of the Aadhaar Act, 2016 and contrary to the Supreme Court’s order passed in September 2018.
Rejecting the plea, the judge said that stringent measures to maintain discipline were highly essential in view of the growing indiscipline brought to the notice in public domain. The constitutional courts are duty-bound to issue certain directions to the government to regulate discipline and decorum in government schools and educational institutions. “This prompted this court to adjudicate all these aspects, which are all interconnected with the discipline and decorum in educational institutions. Thus, it is very much relevant to state that when the tax-payers money is being paid by way of salary to these teachers, they are bound to be regulated by the State and their discipline and activities are also to be monitored with reference to the service conditions, conduct rules and other statutes. The writ petitioner cannot say that she has got fundamental right with respect to disclosing her personal identity. If so, the only option could be to get relieved from the service. In the event of willingness to continue in public service, they are bound by the service rules,” the judge said and dismissed the petition.
The judge directed the government to implement the AEBAS as expeditiously as possible to ensure proper attendance of the teaching and non-teaching staff. The government shall consider amending the rules to put in place a merit-cum-seniority assessment system for promotion of teachers, the judge concluded.
Not against fundamental rights
The court said that the petitioner cannot say that she has got fundamental right with respect to disclosing her personal identity through bio-metric attendance. If they want to continue in public service, they are bound by the service rules, the judge said.