Hyderabad: The Telangana High Court on Wednesday asked petitioners what was wrong in asking for caste information while entering the agriculture and non-agriculture property details in the Dharani portal.
The division bench, comprising chief justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy, observed “What is wrong if the information on your caste is asked. Right from the time you get into kindergarten, your caste details are asked and entered in your records. The government says it will protect your personal details and ensure that it will not be accessed by others.”
The bench was dealing with a PIL filed by I. Gopal Sharma, who raised objections on being forced to indicate his caste while give property details. He informed the court that except for publication in the daily newspapers, the decision of the Telangana government is not backed by a statute, rules or regulations. It is only an oral instruction to the people of Telangana to part with their personal as well as their property details.
D. Prakash Reddy, senior counsel representing the petitioner, submitted that the government intends to keep the information pertaining to its citizens (property and personal details) on the ebsite, where there is no security for such information. Aadhar details and caste details are sought from the citizens and will be kept in the public domain which can be accessed by anyone and the decision was not even backed by an executive instruction.
Further, Reddy informed the bench that the Supreme Court, in Puttuswamy said that any government can elicit personal information viz., caste details etc. from its citizens only when some welfare schemes are being doled out by it, and not otherwise. He also raised the time specified by the government to enter the property details. The government is saying that no property will be transferred or get registered if the property was not entered in the Dharani portal in the time period specified. It is a clear violation of the law, Reddy said.
Advocate general, B. S. Prasad informed the court that the data feeding was a continuous process and there is no time frame. He sought a short adjournment to file a detailed counter affidavit.
The court adjourned the PIL to November 3, 2020, recorded the statement made by Prasad that there was no timeframe to enter the data into the Dharani portal and the data will be protected and issued notices to the chief secretary, special chief secretary of the registration and stamps department, principal secretary, municipal administration, secretary, panchayat raj and rural development, commissioner and inspector general of registrations and stamps and the commissioner, GHMC, directing them to file their replies to the contentions raised by the petitioner.