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Aadhaar-PAN linkage case: Govt tells Supreme Court objectors offending law

LiveMint logoLiveMint 03-05-2017 Apurva Vishwanath

New Delhi: “Conscientious objectors to Aadhaar are essentially offending the law,” a lawyer arguing on behalf the government told the Supreme Court on Wednesday during a hearing of petitions challenging the government’s decision to make the 12-digit ID mandatory for filing income tax returns (ITRs) as well as for obtaining and retaining PAN (permanent account number).

Advocate Arghya Sengupta, founder of Vidhi Centre for Policy Research, a New Delhi-based think tank, defended the government’s rule making Aadhaar mandatory for ITRs.

Vidhi Centre assisted the government in framing the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016.

Sengupta also argued that the petitioners cannot cite the right of information self-determination to make a case against the government’s decision as the right is inherently linked to privacy.

“We cannot import a concept of privacy from places that are culturally vastly different from India,” he said.

In an earlier hearing, senior advocate Shyam Divan had cited informational self-determination, a legal concept developed in a German constitutional court ruling relating to personal information collected during the 1983 census.

A Supreme Court bench comprising justices A.K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan is hearing three petitions filed by Binoy Vishwam, a senior Communist Party of India leader; Bezwada Wilson, a Dalit rights activist; and S.G. Vombatkere, a retired army officer.

Divan is expected to rebut the government’s arguments after which the hearing will conclude.

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