SC questions Centre for making Aadhaar mandatory, says how could govt do this when court passed order terming it optional
24 April, 2017, 05:57
The Supreme Court on Friday questioned the Centre for making the Aadhaar card mandatory for a number of central schemes despite its repeated orders that the unique identification programme can not be made mandatory. In its defence, the government said that fake PAN cards were being used to "divert funds" to shell firms.
He told the bench that there had been a hue and cry earlier too when the government had asked mobile operators to insist on Aadhaar cards before issuing pre-paid SIM cards, the idea being to prevent misuse by terrorists.
Rohatgi defended the government's decision stating that people were furnishing PAN cards procured on the basis of fake documents.
The Narendra Modi government, which eyes to end the black money menace, had last month made Aadhaar card mandatory for filing the Income Tax returns, for applying for a Pan card, to seek free gas connections under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana. The provision makes Aadhaar mandatory for filing income tax returns from assessment year 2017-18. "Why has it been made mandatory despite this court's order?"
Rohatgi further said that Aadhaar is voluntary only with respect to availing social service schemes.
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Senior advocate Arvind Datar, who appeared for Viswam, told the court that Section 139AA adversely impacts citizens in two ways.
Second, even if someone has been filing income tax returns without Aadhaar is rendered illegal if he does do not possess an Aadhaar number.
Appearing for the petitioner, Arvind Datar and Sriram Prakkat said that under the new law if Aadhaar was not linked to PAN, his PAN cards would be invalid, and one can not make any business transactions.
"Is making Aadhaar by force the only way to tackle fraud?" the bench asked. "It is the only option as we have found that people were getting PAN cards on fake ration cards and such PANs were used to divert fund to shell companies", the Attorney General told the bench. After the SC allowed voluntary use of Aadhaar in welfare schemes like MGNREGS, PM Jan Dhan Yojana, LPG and PDS, the government has considerably strengthened its Aadhaar payment bridge and a third of payments under the direct benefit transfer (DBT) schemes are already disbursed using it.
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