Centre on Tuesday defended the linking of the Aadhaar card to the PAN card and make it compulsory for the filing of income tax returns in the Supreme Court. According to IANS, the central government stated that the move was meant to put a stop on the number of individuals in possession of multiple PAN cards by putting a robust identification system in place. Presenting the case in front of a bench consisting of Justice A K Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said that the not only the government was having to deal with tax collection but also money laundering, curbing flow of black money and controlling the funding of terror.
Rohatgi opposed the petitions that challenged the inserting of Section 139 AA in the I-T Act and said that the government had saved Rs 50,000 crore by linking the Aadhar number with the benefits under the social welfare schemes. Rohatgi said that in 2009, the government had considered the issuance of the PAN Plus with iris and finger impressions but such a programme had been shut down as Aadhaar had made an entrance by then.
Meanwhile, Rohatgi also told the bench of justices that the PAN had also been introduced as a unique identification document and now Aadhaar had been linked to the PAN as other identity proof documents such as ration cards, driving licenses among others could be manipulated. Speaking about the allegations of possible leakage of data, the AG said, “No data under Aadhaar will be shared with anyone or anybody”, except in the case of investigation of criminals by police. AG Rohatgi also addressed the petitioner’s contention that the Aadhar card carrying iris and fingerprint scan was an intrusion, and said that no right was absolute. According to IANS, the SC bench said, “Balance has to be made in the society we live in, dignity of person has to be protected”, as Rohatgi argued that it should not be objectionable for a person to give his fingerprints for the Aadhaar Card, especially when such an action is needed for the registration of property, according to IANS.