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Centre had no option but to make Aadhar card mandatory: Attorney General

Centre had no option but to make Aadhar card mandatory: Attorney General

New Delhi, Apr 21 (UNI) The Supreme Court today asked the Centre how it made Aadhaar card mandatory in violation of its order to make it optional. The bench, headed by Justice Arjan Kumar Sikri, was hearing a plea seeking a direction on the issue of Aadhar. Attorney General (AG), Mukul Rohatgi, top law officer representing the Union of India, submitted that the Centre had found that a number of Pan cards were being used to divert funds to shell companies and to prevent it the only option was to make Aadhar card mandatory. The apex court said it would likely dispose off the matter on Wednesday. In its last order, the apex court had said that Aadhaar should not be made mandatory for any kind of government schemes. The apex court asked the Centre as to whether the move would address the problem of generation of fake PAN and ration cards. "Is this the remedy? Asking people forcibly to get Aadhar card?" Justice Sikri questioned. The court’s observation came on a petition challenging the constitutionality of Section 139 inserted in the Income Tax Act by the Finance Act, 2017. The petition had been filed by former Kerala Minister Binoy Viswam, represented by counsel Arvind Datar and Sriram Prakkat. The provision inserted in the Act makes Aadhar card mandatory to obtain a PAN and continue the validity of the existing PAN to file returns under the Income Tax Act. Rohtagi had argued that fake PAN and ration card had been obtained by people in large numbers, which was creating problems for the system. Such cards could be made easily by producing fake identity cards. The AG pointed out that that it was because of a "legislative mandate" that Aaadhar had been made mandatory under Section 139 AA. He contended that the court itself had agreed to making Aaadhar card mandatory for some purposes to protect identity and national security. "You yourself had recently ordered that Aaadhar should be made mandatory to procure SIM cards,’’ the AG said. Mr Datar countered that going by the AG's logic, one could get a PAN card on the basis of showing 'my Aadhar as proof. By making Aadhar mandatory under Section 139 AA, a PAN became invalid, which would have serious consequences.' UNI XC-NAZ SW RP1529

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