SC to hear plea challenging govt.'s decision making Aadhar mandatory

Aadhaar card

Aadhaar card

It is shocking that parliament can pass a law contrary to what the Attorney General undertook in the top court, he said, pointing out that if AG gives an undertaking, the government in majority can't act contrary to it.

It alluded to its request in 2015 when the pinnacle court had made the Aadhaar discretionary.

Giving statistics in support of the Centre's decision to make Aadhaar mandatory for PAN cards and filing I-T returns under Section 139AA of the amended Income Tax Act, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi submitted that "seeding of Aadhaar with PAN will ensure there is no duplicity as biometrics obtained under Aadhaar programme can not be duplicated". But away from these societal rights, when a citizen is part of a tax regime, can you say that I will pay taxes only the way I want to do it.

This assertion was a response to several petitions which were challenging the constitutional validity of Section 139AA of the Income Tax Act. An individual has a social contract with the state under which no constituent can say that I don't want to be identified.

Rohatgi had also clarified that nowhere in section 139AA of IT Act, was it mentioned that it would be effective with retrospective effect. "They (government) are doing it even before the age of consent", he had said during the arguments.

The apex court added that a balance had to be maintained between an individual's right and the state's actions.

Divan countered the Centre's arguments and said Aadhaar- like system has not been implemented in "any other country which calls itself democratic".

"Goalposts constantly shifted on making Aadhaar mandatory. The petitioners can not claim to live in a utopia where they imagine there is no state authority", he argued.

He also argued that the way the government was trying to make it mandatory, a person can be tracked and he would be under electronic survelliance throughout his life. "There are cases where such information has been commercially sold".

The Union of India had argued on Tuesday that the government has not found a single case of duplicity among the 113.7 crore Aadhaar cards it has issued till date.

"The concept of civil liberties will go then", he said.

Centre has defended its move to link Aadhaar numbers with the Pemanent Account number (PAN) cards saying it will be used to check terror financing and circulation of black money.

Appearing before a bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan, senior advocate Shyam Divan contended that Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi had given a new twist on Aadhaar controversy by claiming it to be compulsory for citizens and said that even UIDAI believed that it was only voluntary in nature.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.

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