Aadhaar for PAN to check terror finance, black money: Govt to SC

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 03 May 2017 08:57:32


GOVERNMENT on Tuesday asserted in the Supreme Court that Aadhaar was made mandatory for PAN card to weed out fake PAN cards which were used for terror financing and circulation of black money, while terming the concerns over privacy as “bogus”. The idea behind bringing Aadhaar was to have a “secure and robust system” to ensure that the identity of a person cannot be faked, it said.

“Today, you have black money which is being used in drug financing and terror financing. So it was decided to bring in a more robust system by which identity of a person cannot be faked,” Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told a bench comprising Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan.

The top law officer, who was opposing the challenge to making Aadhaar mandatory for PAN card, said out of 29 crore Permanent Account Number (PAN) in India, 10 lakh cards have been cancelled as it was found that there were multiplicity of PAN and a person had more than one PAN card which were being used for “unscrupulous” activity causing a loss to the exchequer.

He said that 113.7 crore Aadhaar Cards have been issued in the country till date and the Government has not found any case of duplication as the biometric system of finger prints and iris scan, which was used in Aadhaar, was the only known technology in the world which is “fool-proof.” Countering the petitioners’ objections, Rohatgi also said their “arguments on so-called privacy and bodily intrusion is bogus.” The apex court was hearing three petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Section 139AA of the Income Tax Act which was introduced through the latest budget and the Finance Act 2017.

Section 139AA provides for mandatory quoting of Aadhaar or enrolment ID of Aadhaar application form for filing of income tax returns and making application for allotment of PAN number with effect from July 1 this year. The Attorney General claimed that due to Aadhaar, the Centre has saved over Rs 50,000 crore on the benefit schemes for the poor as well as pension schemes as it has helped in ensuring that the funds from Government-run welfare schemes reached the persons who were entitled for it.

Rohatgi said that the biometric information of Aadhaar was in an encrypted format and stored in the central database of the Government and it cannot be given to or accessed by anybody except in criminal cases where the court demands it.

“It (Aadhaar) is an effective tool to check terror financing and black money. It ensures that money meant for poor people reaches them. The idea is that burden on honest people who pay tax should not be made unbearable for them,” he said.