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Aadhaar for PAN to check terror finance, black money: Government to Supreme Court
NEW DELHI: The government on Tuesday asserted in the Supreme Court that the decision to link Aadhaar with PAN was made to weed out fake PAN cards+ which were used for terror financing and circulation of black money.
Terming the concerns over privacy as "bogus", the government reiterated that the idea behind bringing Aadhaar was to have a "secure and robust system" to ensure that the identity of a person cannot be faked.
"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 AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan.
The top law officer, who was opposing the challenge to making Aadhaar mandatory for PAN card+ , said that out of 29 crore permanent account numbers (PAN) in India, 10 lakh cards have been cancelled due to multiplicity.
It was found that some people had more than one PAN cards which were being used for "unscrupulous" activity causing a loss to the exchequer.
He said that 113.7 crore Aadhaar card 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 is 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.