The Supreme Court on Wednesday started hearing on a plea which challenges the government’s move to make Aadhaar card compulsory for IT returns.
On behalf of one of the petitioner, Petitioner Senior Advocate Aravind Datar opened his argument by saying that Section 139AA of Income Tax Act is contrary to the orders of the Supreme Court. He added that Section 139AA is in itself violative of Article 14 and 19(1)(g) of the Indian Constitution.
Datar told the bench the Government has repeatedly assured the Court that it will not make Aadhaar mandatory arguing that the Centre cannot indirectly make Aadhaar mandatory through Income Tax Act.
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, in response, said that the assurances were given by the government before the Aadhaar Act (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) was passed.
He also said that “Biometric is the only system which can stop duplication”.
The Supreme Court earlier questioned Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi over the issue of Aadhaar when he told the court that Centre has found that a number of Pan cards are being used to divert funds to shell companies; adding that making the Aadhaar card mandatory is the only option to prevent it.
Notably, Justice Sikri said that if one system is being replaced by the other then what can be the objection. However, he made it clear that that bench is not making any remarks regarding privacy issue of Aadhaar which is pending before the constitutional bench.
The Bench was hearing petitions including one filed by former Kerala minister and CPI leader Binoy Viswam challenging the constitutional validity of S. 139AA of the Income Tax Act, 1961, alleging it to be ‘illegal and arbitrary’ and violative of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution.