Aadhaar compulsion for filing I-T returns illegal: SC

SC asks Centre how can it make Aadhaar mandatory for procuring PAN cards hearing on April 25

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.

Mukul Rohatgi said there were instances that one person was having a number of Permanent Account Number (PAN) cards and these fake cards were being used to divert funds to shell companies.

Opposing the petitions by CPI leader Binoy Visman, former army officer S.G. Vombakkere and Safai Karamchari Andolan founder and convenor Bezwada Wildon, Rohatgi told the court that making Aadhaar mandatory for filing Income Tax returns was a legislative mandate.

Along with Income tax returns, Aadhaar card number was also made mandatory for Permanent Account Number (PAN) applications from July 1, 2017.

Yesterday Supreme Court said that court will choose if Aadhaar card needs to be made compulsory to file Income Tax returns.

The Bench countered him observing, "Is this the remedy (for this ill) by forcibly asking people to give their Aadhaar card details".

The apex court will hear the matter on Tuesday for final disposal. Making the Aadhaar compulsory is its "only option", said the Attorney General (AG), who's representing the Centre, to the SC.

PAN cards are necessary for filing taxes, a legal requirement.

The SC however relaxed its stance on October 15, 2015 and allowed the voluntary use of Aadhaar cards in welfare schemes like MGNREGA, pension schemes and provident fund, the report adds.

There was also a constant mismatch of individual details in the two identity cards. The petitioner said he was now being coerced into obtaining an Aadhaar card in complete violation of his right to privacy.

The Supreme Court, previously on March 27, had made it clear that the Aadhaar can not be made mandatory by the government for the extension of benefits of social welfare schemes.

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