Supreme Court questions Centre over making Aadhaar mandatory for procuring PAN cards

The Supreme Court on Friday questioned Centre over making Aadhaar mandatory for procuring Permanent Account Number (PAN) cards.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the Centre, told a bench headed by Justice A K Sikri that they have found that people were giving details of PAN cards which have been procured on the basis of fake documents.

Rohatgi said there were instances that one person was having a number of PAN cards and these fake cards were being used to divert funds to shell companies.

To this, the bench asked the Attorney General, “Is this the remedy that you need to have Aadhaar for having PAN? Why has it been made mandatory?”

Responding to this, Rohatgi said that earlier too they have found people procuring SIM cards for mobile phones on fake identity cards and the apex court had asked the government to have a check on it.

The bench said it would hear arguments on the plea challenging the government’s move making Aadhaar mandatory for PAN cards on April 25.

Government had last month proposed to make Aadhaar card mandatory for filing income tax return and also for applying for PAN from July 1, 2017.

Meanwhile the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) had also introduced a new column in the ITRs for 2015-16 where an e-filer can provide his Aadhaar number which will have to be authenticated on the official website of the department via a One Time Password (OTP).

Supporting the move, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had told the Lok Sabha that Aadhaar may become the only card required to identify a person, replacing Voter ID and PAN.

The unique identification number Aadhaar may become the single identify card in future, he had said.

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