SC to GOI: How Can You Make it Compulsory?

Written by Sabrangindia Staff | Published on: April 21, 2017
The Supreme Court today came down hard on the Modi government over the issue of making Aadhaar compulsory in complete violation of the court's previous order."How can you make Aadhaar mandatory despite a clear order to make it optional. Is making Aadhaar by force the only way to tackle fraud?" a furious Supreme Court told the Centre while hearing a PIL against the government's decision making Aadhaar compulsory.

aadhar card

The Supreme Court bench led by Justice Sikri questioned the Centre as to how Aadhar can be made compulsory and forced on people. The Centre's argument has been that the earlier order merely applies for beneficiary schemes like LPG and food grains and the government is free to use it for other services like income tax.

Further the Court said 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.

The SC bench raised the pertinent question: “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 Uniform 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.

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.

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.
 

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