Biometric attendance for colleges

Heylooo!.. Does anyone know on what basis colleges in India can mandate biometric attendance? I’ve got a few specific questions.

Some background :
Im in the merchant navy and every now and then we need to attend a few short courses.
So The Director General of Shipping (DG Shipping) is the statutory Maritime authority, appointed by Govt. of India under the Merchant Shipping act 1958 and is responsible for implementation of the provisions of the act .
They released a circular in 2018 mandating biometric attendance (3.1 in the below circular) :

Hence it is now impossible to attend these courses without having to give out your fingerprints.

Could someone help me clarify the below :

  1. Is this legal? Cuz I’m not sure… But then again DG Shipping is a Gov authority right? I feel like I’m missing something here.

  2. Can it be challenged and if so how?

And 3) What about the rest of the private colleges (Engineering, etc) ? I hear a lot of other colleges have implemented the biometric attendance system. Is THAT allowed?

I have tried my level best to avoid getting Aadhaar so far but now this one is eating me up inside! :pleading_face:


Hi Arjun,
From what I have found out from limited research on the subject there is no law prohibitng biometric attendance. Instead, government authorities are adopting this practice increasingly. Please go through this article once on the steps being taken by the Andhra Pradesh government.

The State government is contemplating introducing biometric attendance in degree colleges and universities as part of its endeavour to launch reforms and ‘streamline higher education’ in the State.

As far as I think, a challenge with respect to privacy and data protection can be possible. Additionally, a challenge might also stand if the technology being used is faulty/inaccurate.

Hope this was helpful. :grinning:


Hey thank you!

Waiting for the day someone challenges it in court…


Here is a not-so-positive update…


:exploding_head: :scream: :cold_sweat:

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Hi folks,

Since biometrics are classified as sensitive personal data under IT SPDI Rules 2011, body corporates cannot collect this data without consent of the individual. But the problem with the IT SPDI Rules 2011 is that they only apply to body corporates which are defined under S.43A of the IT Act as “any company and includes a firm, sole proprietorship or other association of individuals engaged in commercial or professional activities.” This narrow definition would put many government departments and educational institutions outside the ambit of the IT SPDI Rules 2011. However, private businesses will still have to comply with the IT SPDI Rules 2011 and they cannot collect biometrics without consent under existing law.


It was challenged in Kenya. Here is the link:

This case lies on the backdrop of an Aadhar-like project being done in Kenya.

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Hey. Thanks for sharing this. This is only the third instance of a national biometric ID being challenged in the world (I may be wrong on this). The other two are : (1) Of course India; and (2) Jamaica who’s Supreme Court struck down its national biometric ID system siding with the dissent in India’s Aadhaar judgement delivered by J Chandrachud. Should check out Gautam Bhatia’s analysis of these cases. They’re pretty comprehensive.


Okay so private companies would need the individuals consent…

:slightly_frowning_face: That sucks!

The first thing that came to my mind is Ramco cements! :yum: I guess it’s because I’m from Chennai hehe …

So from what I’ve just learnt is that private companies are considering biometric (contact /contactless) attendance and from what @devdattaT has mentioned you do need the individuals consent - which is great…

I’m wondering if anyone has ever challenged this… Not necesarily legally but just on an individual basis in their own company… More often than not people usually conform to the regulations laid out by their companies. Most of them don’t care and others are probably unaware they can refuse… And I guess a lot of us succumb to peer pressure? “If noone else is questioning it, let me just give in”…

I’m one of those as well… My company has recently started a facial recognition system for attendance and I wasn’t comfortable… I mailed the Privacy policy officer asking if this is mandatory and what data does the company hold about me… He then went on to ask me for details of my department in charge… I would’ve given him the details but I recently got into some trouble at work so am holding back until things cool down…

What’s annoying is the fact that no employee has ever questioned this… Everyone just went on to accept it without any question whatsoever…

So yeah I’m just wondering if anyones ever gone down the Same path all the way and managed to refuse give his biometrics in his /her company… It would set a great example for those wondering if it can even be challenged.

The private college I went to in Mumbai made fingerprint entry mandatory one fine day. Even through we’ve graduated, I’m pretty sure they have no process for deleting our data yet :fearful:

On a related note, I still can’t believe that the Bengaluru airport facial recognition project is run by a cloud service based in Portugal :man_shrugging: