SC Questions Centre For Making Aadhaar Mandatory For PAN Cards

24 April, 2017, 05:59 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • SC questions Centre for making Aadhaar mandatory, says how could govt do this when court passed order terming it optional

The Supreme Court is miffed at the government's move to link Aadhaar number with Permanent Account Number (PAN) for filing income tax returns from the assessment year 2017-18 despite its orders that it should be optional.

Rohatgi said there were instances that one person was having a number of PAN cards and these fake cards were being used to divert funds to shell companies.

On March 27, the SC had stated that Aadhaar cards can not be made mandatory by the government for providing benefits of social welfare schemes.

The SC asked the government to justify the need for making Aadhaar card mandatory. "Why did you make it mandatory".

Datar submitted that the amendment in statute stated that if one does not give Aadhaar number his or her PAN card would become invalid.

Senior counsel Shyam Divan and Arvind Datar, appearing for the petitioners, including a former judge of Karnataka High Court, said it was extremely hard to follow the rule as many people did not have an Aadhaar card.

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"There is a legislative mandate now".

Second, even if someone has been filing income tax returns without Aadhaar is rendered illegal if he does do not possess an Aadhaar number.

It had, however, said that the centre can not be barred from seeking Aadhaar cards, which are issued by UIDAI, for filing of I-T returns and opening of bank accounts.

"Is making Aadhaar by force the only way to tackle fraud?" the bench asked. The Centre's argument has been that the earlier order merely applies for beneficiary schemes like LPG and food grains and the government is free to use it for other services like income tax.

A constitution bench is already examining the legality of the Aadhaar programme itself after several petitioners argued that biometric details such as iris impressions and fingerprints were being collected without informed consent from citizens, thus violating Article 21 (right to life and liberty).

Aadhaar card was introduced by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) in order to help the government to curb the leakages while transferring benefits of the subsidies to citizens.

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