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Haryana reinstatement of biometric authentication for state aid upheld by state high court

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A legal challenge of the use of biometrics for distribution of rations and other state aid in the Indian state of Haryana has been dismissed by the High Court of Punjab and Haryana, The Tribune reports. The court ruled that the conditions necessitating the suspension of biometric authentication for essential commodities in March have changed.

Justice Harsimran Singh Sethi noted that in addition to a reduced threat from when the precautionary change was made, emergency policy decisions are the purview of the government, with the courts taking a limited role. Since the government’s policy is not “arbitrary or illegal in any manner,” the court’s involvement is not appropriate, he said.

Sethi also noted that concerns about the safety of biometric authentication could be addressed by undertaking the recommended precautions.

Haryana had delivered more than 19 million rupees in aid through postal workers operating the Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AEPS) between the beginning of the lockdown in March and early May.

The Aadhaar system still faces a broad challenge to its legality based on the manner in which its legal basis was passed.

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