Aadhaar one of measures to tackle corruption, black money: SC
Introduction of Aadhaar into the tax regime is one of the measures to tackle the menace of corruption and black money, the Supreme Court today said.
The apex court said "malafides" cannot be attributed to the Aadhaar scheme as it would go a long way to check and minimise the malaise and agreed with the government's contention that UIDAI is the best and robust method of de-duplication of PAN database as there was no instance of Aadhaar duplication.
The court said that Aadhaar, which is most advanced and sophisticated infrastructure, may also facilitate law enforcement agencies to take care of problem of terrorism to some extent and may also be helpful in checking crimes and also help investigating agencies in cracking the crimes.
"No doubt, going by aforesaid, and may be some other similarly valid considerations, it is the intention of the government to give fillip to Aadhaar movement and encourage the people of this country to enrol themselves under the Aadhaar scheme. Whether such a scheme should remain voluntary or it can be made mandatory imposing compulsiveness on the people to be covered by Aadhaar is a different question which shall be addressed at the appropriate stage," a bench headed by Justice A K Sikri said.
The remarks of the top court came while upholding the validity of Section 139AA of the Income Tax Act which makes Aadhaar mandatory for allotment of PAN cards and linking the filing of Income Tax returns.
The bench, also comprising Justice Ashok Bhushan, said the Parliament was fully competent to enact Section 139AA of the Act as one of the main objectives is to "de-duplicate PAN cards" and ensure that one person does not have more than one card or there is no procurement in fictitious names.
"It is mentioned that in de-duplication exercises, 11.35 lakhs cases of duplicate PANs/fraudulent PANs have been detected. Out of these, around 10.52 lakhs pertain to individual assesses. Parliament in its wisdom thought that one PAN to one person can be ensured by adopting Aadhaar for allotment of PAN to individuals. As of today, that is the only method available i.e. by seeding of existing PAN with Aadhaar," the bench said.
The top court also referred to the findings of Special Investigation Team on black money headed by Justice M B Shah, a retired Supreme Court judge, which had said that there was no mechanism at present to collect the data of an individual while entering into financial transactions.
Due to the multiple methods of giving proofs of identity, the problem of money-laundering arises which is being done to evade taxes under the garb of shell companies by the persons holding multiple bogus PAN numbers under different names, it said.