The Bombay High Court on Monday said the government cannot withhold salaries of employees if their salary bank accounts are not linked to their Aadhaar card. The court’s order came while it was hearing a case of a port trust employee whose salary has been withheld by the Centre since 2016 on the 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, working as a chargeman with the Mumbai Port Trust said how the government 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.
The Union Ministry of Shipping in December 2015 had issued a letter to Purale, asking him to link his salary account with his Aadhaar card. Purale had challenged the ministry’s notice.
"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.
On September 26, The Supreme Court upheld the validity of Aadhaar saying sufficient security measures are taken to protect data and it is difficult to launch surveillance on citizens on the basis of Aadhaar.
(With PTI inputs)