- "One cannot have an absolute right over his or her body," Attorney General Rohtagi stated in the SC
- On behalf of the Govt, Rohtagi argued that Aadhaar was mandatory and citizens had no choice
Asserting the necessity of making Aadhar card mandatory for PAN card, the government told the SC that this regulation would help the government get rid of fake PAN cards, which have increasingly become a menace for terror financing and circulation of black money. The government also termed the concerns over privacy as "bogus".
The idea behind bringing Aadhar into the scene was triggered by the fact that the country needed a "secure and robust system" to ensure that the PAN cards are not faked.
Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi told a bench comprising justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan, "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."
Top bureaucrats who advocated making Aadhar card mandatory for PAN card said that the duplication of PAN cards is causing huge amounts of loss to the exchequer. For instance, out of the 29 crore permanent account number, 10 lakh cards have been cancelled as there was duplicity. Moreover, these duplicate cards were being used for unscrupulous activity.
Emphasising on the fool-proof Aadhar technology, Attorney General Rohtagi further said that the biometric technology and fingerprinting were so strong that there was no chance of duplicity. In fact, this is considered to be the most fool-proof technology in the world. Having said that, he also termed the privacy concerns of public as "bogus".
The Attorney General further argued that the Centre has saved Rs 50,000 crore on the benefits schemes for the poor and pension schemes as Aadhar has ensured that funds released by the government-run welfare schemes are being delivered at the right place. He also said, "It (Aadhaar) is an effective tool to check terror financing and black money. It ensures that money meant for poor people reaches them...The idea is that burden on honest people who pay tax should not be made unbearable for them."
Rohtagi also emphasised on the efficient collection of taxes after Aadhar was made mandatory. Countering the petitioner's argument about privacy concerns, Rohtagi said,"today, the only difference is that the photograph and fingerprints are not on paper but in an electronic medium. what is the bodily intrusion, which the petitioners have argued, I want to know. nobody can live in a vacuum as there is a social contract as well.
When the state is providing some facility, it is entitled to have your identity. Can the petitioners today say that they do not have any mobile phone, credit card, driving licence, passport or other identification and they live in the Himalayas? The arguments on so-called privacy and bodily intrusion are bogus. One cannot have an absolute right over his or her body".
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:31 PM IST