Use of facial recognition technology to track government employees’ attendance is contested in court. Varsity Staff: Allahabad HC Requests Response from UP Govt.

On a complaint contesting the use of facial recognition technology for tracking the attendance of the teaching and non-teaching personnel at the Chhatrapati Shahu Ji Maharaj University, Kanpur, the Allahabad High Court has requested a response from the Uttar Pradesh Government. The Higher Education Department of the Government of Uttar Pradesh as well as the University administration have been contacted by the bench of Justices Manoj Misra and Mohd. Azhar Husain Idrisi.

Facts: In essence, Dr. Suvijna Awasthi, a university employee, has filed a lawsuit in court to challenge the university administration’s order requiring that teaching and non-teaching staff in the university use biometrics to record their attendance and that salary payments be based on the attendance so recorded. She argues that using biometrics for facial recognition will violate the right to privacy granted by Article 21 of the Indian Constitution and subject the incumbent to the disclosure of his personal information. The Senior Counsel representing her made the main point that while the right to privacy is not an absolute right, laws that violate it must pass muster under the standard of reasonable limitations on fundamental rights. He claimed that there must be a legislation restricting the right to privacy, and that it must also serve a legitimate state goal and be proportionate to guarantee a rational connection between the goals and the methods used to attain them.

Judgement: In this regard, the Senior Counsel argued that the decision to require the use of biometrics for recording attendance had no legal support, citing the Apex Court’s decision in the case of K.S. Puttaswamy Vs. Union of India: (2017) 10 SCC 1. The petitioner has also contested the university’s choice to provide the freedom to hire a private company to permit the tracking of attendance using such bio-metrics, threatening the privacy of the bio-metrics profile. After considering these arguments, the Court determined that the petitioner’s case needed to be taken into consideration. As a result, the Court sent notifications to the relevant respondents and requested that they submit their responses within three weeks. With this, the petition was scheduled for additional review on November 15, 2022.

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