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The Supreme Court on Friday said that it will decide on whether Aadhaar card can be made mandatory, for filing of Income Tax (I-T) returns, next week. The apex court asked the government to justify the need for making Aadhaar card mandatory for filing I-T returns.
News agency ANI quoted the Supreme Court bench as asking: “How can you make Aadhaar card mandatory when we have passed an order to make it optional?” In reply, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said the government now has an Act to use the Unique Identification Number. “We found a number of PAN cards being used to divert funds to shell companies. To prevent it, the only option is to make Aadhaar card mandatory,” he said, according to ANI.
The Union government, last month, made providing one’s Aadhaar number a compulsory detail for filing IT returns and for obtaining and retaining the permanent account number (PAN). Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the move was aimed to link PAN cards with Aadhaar and to identify those who avoided taxes by having duplicate PANs.
The Supreme Court, in it previous order on the issue dated August 11, 2015, said that Aadhaar cannot be made mandatory for government schemes. “The Union of India shall give wide publicity in the electronic and print media including radio and television networks that it is not mandatory for a citizen to obtain an Aadhaar card. The production of an Aadhaar card will not be condition for obtaining any benefits otherwise due to a citizen,” the court said in its judgement.