10.52 lakh bogus PAN cards cannot be termed miniscule number to harm economy: Supreme Court

It made the observations while upholding the validity of section 139AA of the Income Tax Act making Aadhaar mandatory for allotment of PAN cards and filing of tax returns. The court, however, put a partial stay on its implementation till its Constitution Bench addressed the larger issue of right to privacy related to Aadhaar.

By: PTI | New Delhi | Published: June 11, 2017 10:21 am
aadhaar, supreme court aadhaar, aadhaar judgment, pan card, income tax, income tax filing, income tax returns, aadhaar pan card, pan card ITR, CBDT, supreme court Section 139AA of the Act 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 with effect from July 1 this year.

As many as 10.52 lakh “bogus” PAN cards of individual income tax assesses, which is around 0.4 per cent of the total such documents, cannot be termed a “minuscule” number to harm the country’s economy, the Supreme Court has said.

The apex court said that it has come on record that 11.35 lakh duplicate or fraudulent permanent account numbers have been detected and out of these, 10.52 lakh cases pertain to individual assesses. It made the observations in a 157-page judgement while upholding the validity of section 139AA of the Income Tax Act making Aadhaar mandatory for allotment of PAN cards and filing of tax returns. The court, however, put a partial stay on its implementation till its Constitution Bench addressed the larger issue of right to privacy related to Aadhaar.

Section 139AA of the Act 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 with effect from July 1 this year. “It was sought to be argued (by the petitioners) that persons found with duplicate/bogus PAN cards are hardly 0.4
per cent and, therefore, there was no need to have such a provision,” a bench headed by Justice A K Sikri said on Friday.

“We cannot go by percentage figures. The absolute number of such cases is 10.52 lakh, which figure, by no means, can be termed as minuscule to harm the economy and create adverse effect on the nation,” the bench, also comprising Justice Ashok Bhushan, said.

Dealing with the submissions advanced by Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi that duplicate PANs were used to divert funds to shell companies, the bench said, “The fact remains that companies are after all floated by individuals and these individuals have to produce documents to show their identity.”

It said if introducing Aadhaar in tax regime was one of the measures to check black money or money laundering, the scheme cannot be “denounced” only because of the reason that the purpose would not be achieved fully. “Such kind of a menace, which is deep-rooted, needs to be tackled by taking multiple actions and those actions may be initiated at the same time. It is the combined effect of these actions which may yield results and each individual action considered in isolation may not be sufficient,” it noted.

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  1. R
    Reader
    Oct 11, 2017 at 7:14 am
    A centralized and inter-linked biometric database like Aadhaar will lead to profiling and self-censorship, endangering freedom. Personal data gathered under the Aadhaar program is prone to misuse and surveillance. Aadhaar project has created a vulnerability to identi-ty fraud, even identi-ty theft. Easy harvesting of biometrics traits and publicly-available Aadhaar numbers increase the risk of impersonation, especially online and banking fraud. Centralized databases can be hacked. Biometrics can be cloned, copied and reused. Thus, BIOMETRICS CAN BE FAKED. High-resolution cameras can capture your fingerprints and iris information from a distance. Every eye hospital will have iris images of its patients. So another person can clone your fingerprints and iris images without your knowledge, and the same can be used for authentication. If the Aadhaar scheme is NOT STOPPED by the Supreme Court, the biometric features of Indians will soon be cloned, misused, and even traded.
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    1. R
      Reader
      Oct 11, 2017 at 7:14 am
      UK’s Biometric ID Database was dismantled. Why the United Kingdom's biometrics-linked National Identi-ty Card project to create a centralized register of sensitive information about residents similar to Aadhaar was scrapped in 2010?? The reasons were the massive threat posed to the privacy of people, the possibility of a surveillance state, the dangers of maintaining such a huge centralized repository of personal information, and the purposes it could be used for, and the dangers of such a centralized database being hacked. The other reasons were the unreliability of such a large-scale biometric verification processes, and the ethics of using biometric identification.
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      1. R
        Reader
        Oct 11, 2017 at 7:13 am
        The US Social Security Number (SSN) card has NO BIOMETRIC DETAILS, no photograph, no physical description and no birth date. All it does is confirm that a particular number has been issued to a particular name. Instead, a driving license or state ID card is used as an identification for adults. The US government DOES NOT collect the biometric details of its own citizens for the purpose of issuing Social Security Number. The US collects the fingerprints of only those citizens who are involved in any criminal activity (it has nothing to do with SSN), and the citizens of other countries who come to the US.
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        1. T
          TIHAEwale
          Jul 7, 2017 at 10:46 am
          IE should do a story. income tax dept has banned active PAN on the ground duplicate exists without caring to bother whether Tax payer has used both PANs or one is dormant. the IT Dept in its wisdom blocked both PANs . had they informed this over mail at least the individual would have provision to have correspondence over the red flag. So the PAN holder is forced to meet the AO for no fault of his but due to immature and irrational behaviour of IT Dept. what stops send mail based on details available in their database especially when the PAN holder is paying Rs 120/- more than demand then claiming refund and getting same as his way of ensuring his IT return is assessed.
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          1. AshitBaran Nag
            Jun 11, 2017 at 11:42 am
            Those citizens who have no adher card like am ,what they will do?
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            1. M
              MSB
              Jun 11, 2017 at 5:16 pm
              Who prevented you from getting an aadhar? If you really wanted to help the nation, you won't be asking this question. Why not the IT department can't consider you as a cheat?
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