New Delhi, April 21 (Agencies): The Supreme Court on Friday questioned the Union government for making the Aadhaar biometric identification number mandatory for those getting a permanent account number (PAN) card from the income tax authorities.
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the Centre, told a bench headed by Justice A.K. Sikri that the government has detected PAN cards based on fake documents.
Rohatgi said there were instances of one person having multiple PAN cards, which were then 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 Aadhaar is a 12-digit number issued to Indian residents by the Unique Identification Authority of India that is backed by fingerprints and iris scans.
Aadhaar began as a way to transfer subsidies directly to targeted people, especially those who have to migrate for work, but more and more authorities are asking for it.
PAN cards do not have the backing of any biometrics.
The bench said it would hear arguments on the plea challenging the government's move making Aadhaar mandatory for PAN cards on April 25.
Through an amendment to the tax proposals in the Finance Bill of the Budget for 2017-18, the government has made Aadhaar mandatory for filing income-tax returns and provided for linking of PAN with Aadhaar to curb tax evasion through use of multiple PAN cards.