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SC reserves verdict on linking of Aadhaar with PAN

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  5 May 2017 12:00 AM GMT

New Delhi, May 4: The Supreme Court Thursday reserved its verdict on linking of Aadhaar with the PAN card, even as the court was told that it was a “draconian” provision and must go.

The bench of Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan was hearing petitions challenging the constitutiol validity of the newly-inserted Section 139AA in the Income Tax Act that makes linking of Aadhaar with PAN card mandatory.

As the bench was told that linking Aadhaar with PAN would have “extreme far reaching consequences not only for individuals but small business too”, the court enquired if the issue “was never debated or raised in the Parliament or referred to a parliamentary standing committee?”

Senior counsel Arvind Datar, appearing for senior Communist Party of India leader Binoy Visman, told the bench the government had “an agenda” to push Aadhaar and pointed to the “dichotomy” between Aadhaar Act 2016 that makes possessing Aadhaar optiol and Section 139AA of the Income Tax Act that makes its linking with PAN compulsory.

“A right that is voluntary under Aadhaar Act can’t be made a pel provision under the Income Tax Act,” said Datar.

Besides Visman, former Major General of Indian army S.G. Vombatkere and convenor of Safai Karamchari Andolan Bezwada Wilson have also challenged the validity of Section 139AA.

As Datar said the provision under challenge would affect nearly 2.8 crore individual assesses, the bench observed: “If it can’t cover companies that does not mean that we should not do it with individuals. If they (government) want to do something, a beginning has to be made somewhere.”

Hammering the point that Aadhaar was voluntary under the Aadhaar Act and could not be made mandatory under the Income Tax Act, Datar said the government was “slowly, step by step making it compulsory by linking it with various things. Is it not a contempt of court?”

The senior counsel was referring to two earlier orders of the top court which said that government could insist upon Aadhaar only for distribution of foodgrains, and LPG and other cooking fuel. Later this was expanded to include other schemes like MNREGA, old age pension scheme, Provident Fund and Prime Minister’s Jan Dhan Yoja. (IANS)

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