On Friday, The Supreme Court said that they will decide whether Aadhar card can be made mandatory for the filing of Income Tax (I-T) returns in the next week. Furthermore, the Supreme Court also asked the government to justify the need for making Aadhar card compulsory for filing I-T returns. While hearing the PIL against the government’s decision of making Aadhaar compulsory, the Supreme Court told the Centre that, “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?”
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Replying to it, the Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said that the government 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, as per ANI report. The Supreme Court bench led by Justice Sikri asked the Centre that how Aadhaar card can be compulsory and forced on people. The Centre’s argument is that to restrict its essential services and beneficiary schemes.
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There’s also a matter that Aadhaar is pending on the issue of the right to privacy. On March 27 this year, the Supreme Court made it clear that Aadhaar cards cannot be made mandatory by the Central Government for extending benefits of social welfare scheme. A bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar had said that “The answer is this that for giving benefits of welfare schemes, it (Aadhaar) cannot be pressed. They cannot be stopped from seeking Aadhaar for Non-benefits scheme like the opening of bank accounts.”
The Finance Minister of India Arun Jaitley said that the move was aimed to link PAN cards with Aadhaar and to spot those easily who avoided paying taxes by having duplicate PANs. On August 11, 2015, the Apex court said that the Aadhaar cards cannot be made mandatory for the government’s welfare schemes. The Apex court said in its judgement that, “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 conditioned for obtaining any benefits otherwise due to a citizen.” On April 25, the Apex court will hear on the plea challenging the government’s move of making Aadhaar card compulsory for PAN cards.