New Delhi, April 21: The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre how could they make Aadhaar Card mandatory when it had passed an order saying that it is optional. The court also said that it will decide on whether Aadhaar Card should be made mandatory or not to file Income Tax (I-T) returns, next week. This has come after the central government on March 21 proposed that Aadhaar number will be necessary for filing returns and Permanent Account Number (PAN) applications from July 1, 2017.
According to the reports by news agency ANI, Supreme Court was quoted as asking: “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,” Rohatgi said.
In 2015, the Supreme Court had issued an order saying 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.
Last month, the central government proposed that Aadhaar number will be necessary for filing returns and Permanent Account Number (PAN) applications from July 1, 2017. The Narendra Modi-led government had earlier made it clear that Aadhaar will become an important tool in the future and also had mentioned to make it mandatory for filing income tax returns. Not only this, the Finance Ministry has made it clear that individuals will have to link their 12 digit Aadhaar number with their PAN card, and that too before July 1.
Along with Income tax returns, Aadhaar card number was also made mandatory for Permanent Account Number (PAN) applications from July 1, 2017.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had also said that the move was aimed to link PAN cards with Aadhaar and to identify those who avoided taxes by having duplicate PANs. Aadhaar identification was also made necessary for those seeking a license renewal. This was aimed to prevent the issuance of multiple licences to bring down criminal offenses or for fake identity.
The Narendra Modi-led government had earlier made it clear that Aadhaar will become an important tool in the future.