21/04/2017 12:25 PM IST | Updated 21/04/2017 12:58 PM IST

How Can Centre Make Aadhaar Compulsory When We Said It Is Optional, Asks Supreme Court

SC slammed the Centre for making Aadhaar mandatory to procure PAN cards.

Anindito Mukherjee / Reuters

The Supreme Court today questioned the Centre over making Aadhaar mandatory for procuring Permanent Account Number (PAN) cards. "How can u make Aadhaar card mandatory when we have passed an order to make it optional?", asked the Supreme Court.

A bench of Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan took the decision even as Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi stoutly defended the government.

The AG said that fake PAN cards were being used to divert finds to shell companies to justify the Centre's move to make Aadhaar cards compulsory for PAN cards.

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.

In its last order, the Supreme Court had said that Aadhaar cannot be made compulsory for government schemes as many people did not have Aadhaar cards.

The apex court said it will hear the plea challenging the government's move on 25 April.

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.

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