Supreme Court To Centre: How Did You Make Aadhaar Compulsory When We Have Ordered It To Be Optional
Supreme Court of India has come out strongly against Centre, for making Aadhaar compulsory for filing of Income Tax returns and other activities.
In one the fiercest rebuttal against the Aadhaar platform, Supreme Court has asked Centre, rather bluntly: “How can you make Aadhaar card mandatory when we have passed an order to make it optional?”
In August, 2015, Supreme Court has specifically stated that Aadhaar cannot be made compulsory for any Govt. initiative or welfare program. A person not having Aadhaar card should not be and cannot be prevented from availing Govt. schemes and participating in Govt. activities.
The same stand was restated last year as well, when Supreme Court stopped Aadhaar’s expansion, and declared that its not mandatory.
Including filing income tax, which has been condemned by the apex court.
Representing the Govt., Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi justified their stand of making Aadhaar mandatory, when he said, “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..”
In their August, 2015 ruling regarding Aadhaar Card’s legality, Supreme Court had said, “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,”
Interestingly, in the month of March this, in a related case regarding Aadhaar’s legal standing, Supreme Court had stated that Govt. can enforce Aadhaar for non-welfare schemes.
In the past, Supreme Court has expressed their displeasure over private companies collecting Aadhaar data of Indian citizens; especially after a simple Google search can reveal thousands of rows of Aadhaar data, to any one.
In their recent ruling, Supreme Court has said that they will announce their verdict next week, regarding Centre’s order to link Aadhaar with Income Tax filing.
In case Supreme Court decides to stop the linking of Aadhaar with PAN Card, then it can be a huge embarrassment for the Govt.
We will keep you updated on this Aadhaar tussle between Supreme Court and Govt. of India.