Why make Aadhaar must for PAN cards, SC asks Centre

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the two-judge bench headed by Justice A K Sikri that the move would help to weed out fake and fraudulent financial accounts.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: April 22, 2017 4:53 am
aadhaar, aadhaar card, aadhaar income tax, income tax aadhaar, aadhaar returns, income tax returns, supreme court aadhaar, aadhaar supreme court, sc aadhaar, sc aadhaar india, india news The Supreme Court. (File Photo)

THE SUPREME Court on Friday asked the Centre why it had made Aadhaar mandatory for obtaining a Permanent Account Number (PAN) card and for filing Income-Tax returns. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the two-judge bench headed by Justice A K Sikri that the move would help to weed out fake and fraudulent financial accounts. “Today, anybody can get a PAN card with any name on it. A person can get several PAN cards — say, as Mukesh Gupta, then another as Mukesh Kumar Gupta, and a third as M K Gupta, so on and so forth,” he said, adding that fake PAN cards were being used to divert funds to shell companies.

The bench then said: “Is this the remedy, that you need to have Aadhaar for having PAN? Forcibly asking people to get Aadhaar? Why has it been made mandatory?”

Responding, Rohatgi cited a recent order by another bench, headed by Chief Justice of India J S Khehar, whereby the court ratified the government’s plan to make Aadhaar mandatory for procuring a new SIM card. “You (court) yourself had recently ordered that Aadhaar should be made mandatory to procure SIM cards,” he said.

To a query by the bench regarding the “voluntary” nature of Aadhaar, the AG submitted that there was a law in force to deal with the subject, and Section 139A of the I-T Act prescribed statutory requirements. “At first they objected to Aadhaar, saying there was no legislation. Then we brought in legislation, and now they are complaining about this,” he said.

The bench was hearing two PILs, filed separately by former Kerala minister Binoy Viswam and retired Army official S G Vombatkere, challenging the validity of an amendment in the I-T Act which makes Aadhaar compulsory for filing Income Tax returns. The petitioners have complained that while the Aadhaar Act, 2016, has not made Aadhaar mandatory, the I-T Act now makes it compulsory.

The bench said it would hear arguments on the plea challenging the government’s move on April 25, when it may also pass an order on the way forward.

In 2015, a Constitution Bench led by then Chief Justice H L Dattu had allowed the use of Aadhaar cards for MNREGA, Jan Dhan Yojana, pension and provident fund schemes, but clarified that this would only be on voluntary basis, and no person should be deprived of any benefit for want of Aadhaar.

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  1. T
    Tarun Kumar Mukherjee
    Jul 8, 2017 at 1:46 am
    It appears that Central government, through its zeal to defy the essence of the earlier interim order of Hon'ble Supreme Court of India, is trying to overwhelm the Judicial scrutiny, by saying that greater bulk of Indian population stands Aadhar compliant, and hence the judicial reservation on the applicability of Aadhar has lost its relevance.
    Reply
  2. Z
    Zubin
    Apr 23, 2017 at 12:01 pm
    Therefore it is clear that the government machinery failed in the process of making PAN card. It is all a money making racket. To fulfill shortcomings of PAN they r bringing Aadhar. What next? They should be bombed.
    Reply
  3. M
    Mani
    Apr 22, 2017 at 11:10 pm
    SC must enfore the law on central government and see AAdhaar is a must for PAN. Though it is a petty mater the honourable court must put stop to centre for its high handedness. Still if government wants let it go to legislature and maka an act.
    Reply
  4. A
    AKG
    Apr 22, 2017 at 5:44 pm
    Here Govt is absolutely right. Aadhar should be mandatory every where
    Reply
  5. U
    Uttrakhandi
    Apr 22, 2017 at 11:21 am
    This comment is in continuation to previous one- was not complete due to word limit. Of course, government has to come out with a solution for NRIs, who file tax in India also to get Aadhar through emb ies, where biometric facilities can be set-up or locally procured. Currently, there is no way to get Aadhar for NRIs, except when they visit India and produce a residential address there. For now, Finance Minister said one could simply write "Applied for Aaadhar", but a solution to get Aaadhar will be good.
    Reply
  6. U
    Uttrakhandi
    Apr 22, 2017 at 11:16 am
    It is not clear why SC is objecting to Aadhar being made compulsory for PAN cards or IT filing that will help check frauds. Almost everyone, who has a PAN, can get Aaadhar easily. In developed countries, that has social security numbers (similar to Aadhar, but without bio metric for now), these are extensively used for everything- opening a bank account, keeping track of residential address (so you do not need to provide proof of address to every bank, telephone company, electricity company, for buying and selling property and so on). In some countries, tax returns are actually sent by tax offices to the residents, based on the information on ry (which employers provide them), tax deductions made, interest from bank accounts- which bank provide, and so on. A person has to simply check the return and revise, if anything (extra income, eligible deduction etc.) is missing. So there is no room for fraud. These countries are on top of the honesty and transparency ratings in world.
    Reply
  7. S
    S Subramaniam
    Apr 22, 2017 at 8:51 am
    It was reported in the media that in order to weed out multiple PAN Cards it was desirable to link PAN Card with Aadhar Card. Government should also spell out checks and balances to obviate issue of multiple Aadhar Cards.
    Reply
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