SC unhappy with PIL on Aadhaar-PAN linking

SC unhappy with PIL on Aadhaar-PAN linking

SC unhappy with PIL on Aadhaar-PAN linking

The Supreme Court on Thursday said it was conscious of the Union government’s assurance that Aadhaar would not be made mandatory, but questioned the petitioners who challenged its linking with PAN cards.

The court said if their arguments of Aadhaar being “intrusive” were accepted, the people can also oppose it for linking with different welfare schemes.

“We are alive and conscious of the fact that the statements were made by Union government that it (Aadhaar) would be voluntary. But if we accept your arguments, others may also question why should we part with our biometrics and iris for having benefits of welfare scheme,” the court asked senior advocate Shyam Divan.

Divan, appearing for retired Major General S G Vombatkere and social activist Bezwada Wilson, said the Centre was coercing people to share their “most intimate” and “purely private details of body” under the new Income-Tax Act amendments under Section 139AA. He said the move is a “Faustian bargain with the devil”.

“The scheme of the Aadhaar Act is purely voluntary. It creates certain rights for the people. But this is now in direct conflict with the I-T Act amendments that linked PAN with Aadhaar,” he said.

“There is complete conflict, collision, mismatch and misfire between the two. What if one, who is a law-abiding citizen, pays taxes and is not ready to such illegal bargain,” he said.

“How can the government expropriate my body identity for such purposes? Nowhere in the world is one put under such 24x7 monitoring by linking his every act with biometrics,” Divan said.