New Delhi : The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its verdict on linking of the Aadhaar card with PAN card and making it mandatory in filing of the income tax returns.

The Bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan concluded the daily hearing that began since early this week, asking all parties to file written submissions by Tuesday. On April 21, it had pulled up the government for flouting its 2015 order that Aadhaar should be optional and earlier asserted that Aadhaar cannot be made compulsory to access social welfare schemes.

The petitioners’ counsel Shyam Diwan pointed out that the Aadhaar Act itself says it was completely voluntary and so it cannot be made mandatory through an amendment pushed in the Finance Bill at the last minute in Parliament linking it with PAN (permanent account number).

Diwan also punctured the Attorney General’s claim that PAN cards can be duplicated as 10 lakh out of 29 crore such cards were scrapped while not a single Aadhaar card out of 113.7 crore has been found duplicated. Diwan produced an RTI (right to information) reply stating that over 1.5 lakh Aadhaar cards were cancelled on account of duplication.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi argued on Tuesday that the court cannot put fritters on Parliament enacting the law and it should not sit in judgment on the Finance Bill passed by Parliament last month as the government has full right to seek identity of its citizens to weed out those claiming tax reliefs on fake PAN cards. He even claimed that the citizens do not enjoy immunity to hide their identity.

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