Contempt notice to DU for not starting teachers’ biometric attendance

New Delhi, April 22 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Monday issued a contempt notice to the Delhi University on its failure to adopt and implement the biometric attendance system for teachers to ensure punctuality.

Justice S. Sistani, issuing notice to Vice Chancellor Dinesh Singh and Registrar Alka Sharma, sought their reply by Aug 7.

In his petition, advocate R.K. Saini, appearing for the organisation Indian Council of Legal Aid and Advice, told the court that even after seven months, the DU has not acted upon the order passed by the division bench of this court to adopt the biometric system.

On Sep 9, 2012, a division bench of the court, while dealing with the PIL, passed the order requiring DU to adopt the biometric system for attendance at earliest.

“As per the court order, the respondent (DU) was required to adopt the biometric system for attendance, as assured to this court, at earliest which means within a maximum period of three months, but they have failed to do so till date, even though a further period of four months has elapsed,” the contempt petition said.

The university had assured the court that it would “expeditiously” adopt and implement the biometric attendance system. Following the assurance, the court had disposed of the plea.

The PIL had sought the introduction of the biometric system to register the attendance of lecturers and other teaching staff of the university.

The affidavit, filed by the registrar of the university last year on the PIL, said: “The University of Delhi is committed to adopt and implement measures which are favourable and beneficial to the university system as a whole, such as the biometric system of attendance for its teachers in order to ensure their presence in colleges and ensure the participation of all teachers in the teaching/learning process.”

It added that the varsity was committed to implement the system in order to obviate chances of irregularity or mischief in maintaining correct record of attendance of each teacher, but sought cooperation from teachers in this regard.

Earlier, the PIL had said that the attendance system should be introduced to ensure that a teacher “adheres to the teaching hours and days prescribed by the UGC (University Grants Commission) and the university rules”.

It had also said that the UGC in its regulations in 2010 provided that “universities and colleges must adopt at least 180 working days, that means there should be minimum of 30 weeks of actual teaching”.

The PIL had also said that as per the UGC norms, the workload of teachers should not be less than 40 hours a week for 180 teaching days, apart from being available for at least five hours daily in the college.

“The working hours actually being put in by a lecturer/assistant professor/teacher in Delhi University daily are just about three and half hours,” the petition had said.

The PIL had also said it seemed that the university was not implementing the biometric system under pressure from teacher unions.

In December 2009, the university unsuccessfully tried to introduce the biometric system in colleges.

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