Wednesday, 25 April, 2018

Citizens don't have absolute rights over their bodies

Aadhaar card Aadhaar card
Kelvin Reese | 04 May, 2017, 01:22

The AG, beat law officer speaking to the Central Government, will contend on the issue of Aadhar on the objective of Section 139AA, embedded in the Income Tax Act under the Finance Act, 2017.

Addressing the petitioner's contention that insisting on Aadhaar that carries his Iris and fingerprint scan was an intrusion on their body, Rohatgi said that no right was absolute including right to the body.

An individual has a social contract with the state under which no constituent can say "I don't want to be identified", the attorney general argued.

Telling the bench of Justice A.K.Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan that people and shell companies possessing multiple PAN cards were causing tax loss of thousands of crores of rupees, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said that government was not just dealing with the matter of tax collection but money laundering, curbing black money and terror funding. He said that people's civil rights would be taken away by the Centre if it was made mandatory as they would be under government's surveillance throughout their life.

"Today, you have black money which is being used in drug financing and terror financing". Vidhi assisted the government in framing the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016. It ensures that money meant for poor people reaches them, " he said. He pointed to several provisions of the Aadhaar Act which mandate that the enrolling authority should first inform the citizen about how and where biometric details collected from him would be used.

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The court earlier on March 27 specified that Aadhaar card should not be made mandatory for availing governmental schemes. The government, which has detected almost 10 lakh duplicate PAN cards, said "We are not a society of angels".

Under the act, biometric is not to be shared, unless as per procedures of law.

He argued that there was a "complete collision" between the Aadhaar Act and section 139AA of the Income Tax Act, which provides for mandatory quoting of Aadhaar or enrolment ID of Aadhaar application form for filing of income tax returns and making application for allotment of PAN number with effect from July 1 this year.

The counsel, who was representing two of the three petitioners who have challenged the government's decision, told the court that Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi had contended that Aadhaar was "mandatory". You might want to be forgotten, but the state does not want to forget you. "Section 139AA is a direct invasion of fundamental rights using the Aadhaar Act, which is a non-fiscal law", Mr. Divan argued.

The Supreme Court was hearing a batch of petitions pertaining to the constitutional legality of making Aadhaar compulsory under the Finance Act.

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