The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre to explain why it has made Aadhaar mandatory for getting a Permanent Account Number (PAN) card.
Appearing on behalf of the Centre, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi contended that people were giving details of PAN cards that had been obtained by producing fake documents.
We found a number of PAN cards being used to divert funds to shell companies. To prevent this, the only option is to make Aadhaar card mandatory," Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the SC judge headed by Justice AK Sikri as per a report in India Today.
The bench will hear arguments on the plea challenging the government’s move to make Aadhaar mandatory for PAN cards on April 25.
On March 27, the SC had stated that Aadhaar cards cannot be made mandatory by the government for providing benefits of social welfare schemes.
However, the top court had added that the government cannot be prevented from seeking these cards for “non-benefit” purposes like opening of bank account and filing of I-T returns.
"The answer is this that for giving benefits of welfare schemes, it (Aadhaar) cannot be pressed. They (government and its agencies) cannot be stopped from seeking Aadhaar for non-benefit schemes like opening of bank accounts," a bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar had said.
On August 11, 2015, the SC had said that Aadhaar cards will not be compulsory for getting benefits of government’s welfare schemes and had instructed the authorities not to share personal biometric data collected for enrolment under the scheme, the India Today report says.
The SC however relaxed its stance on October 15, 2015 and allowed the voluntary use of Aadhaar cards in welfare schemes like MGNREGA, pension schemes and provident fund, the report adds.