Coming down heavily on the Centre, the Supreme Court on Friday questioned its move to make the Aadhaar Card compulsory for several government-funded schemes and other services.
The apex court decided to examine the constitutional validity of the central government's decision to link the Aadhaar card with the Pan card.
An apparently furious court asked “How can you make Aadhaar mandatory despite a clear order to make it optional. Is making Aadhaar by force the only way to tackle fraud?.”
The government had made the card mandatory to avail several schemes and services, including, opening a bank account, filing income tax returns, getting a driver's licence, availing a new mobile connection.
Last month, the Supreme Court had made it clear that Aadhaar cards cannot be made mandatory by the government for extending benefits of social welfare schemes, adding that the government cannot be barred from seeking these cards for “non-benefit” purposes like filing of IT returns and opening of accounts.
Responding to the apex court, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said the government now has an Act to use the Uniform Identification Number.
“We found a number of PAN cards being used to divert funds to shell companies. To prevent it, the only option is to make Aadhaar card mandatory.”
The apex court said it will hear the plea challenging the government’s move on 25 April.