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Aadhaar: Both the court and government should come up with a clear-cut notification
Aadhaar by Unique Identification Authority of India – UIDAI, is a 12 digit number that serves as a unique identifier for Indian citizens and residents. It was introduced by the UPA government in 2010, with the intention of making subsidy and benefit deliverance more effective and eliminate leakages in the process. Aadhaar has been ever prevalent in the news since.

No doubt, the decision of the Supreme Court on Aadhaar card – a document of unique identification – is still pending, but the Central government is making its best use by extending its field for linking it with any transaction by any individual.

In the last four months, two judgments have come from the Supreme court, both giving jolts to the Modi government. One, the government cannot make the Aadhaar card mandatory for its welfare schemes. Although, it is almost necessary to make it mandatory in all such schemes.

In another interim judgment, the court banned linking of Aadhaar with PAN card for the purpose of filing of income tax return. However, it has been made clear that this decision will not have any impact on the constitutional provisions of amendment in the income tax law.

While it may be mandatory under 139AA (1) to enroll for Aadhaar and quote it in your tax return, there appear to be no consequences for non-compliance with that mandate for the moment.

The two-judge bench said the PAN cards of those people who are not Aadhaar card holders, and who do not comply with the provision of Section 139(2), cannot be "treated as invalid for the time being".

In the recent notification, the government has made it mandatory to link Aadhaar card number for any transaction of Rs 50,000 or above. At the same time, all the existing banks account holders will ensure to add Aadhaar card number by the end of the year. Those who will not link the Aadhaar card with their bank account, the same will be become inoperative after the target date.

The overall concept is that Aadhaar card number will be necessary where earlier the PAN number was necessary for any financial transaction. The government has its own logic behind this that fake PAN cards are easily available and with the intention of evading tax, individuals get more than one PAN card issued and as per estimate, around ten lakh cards have been cancelled. Whereas, with the availability of biometric data of an individual on the Aadhaar card, it is almost impossible to get a duplicate Aadhaar card issued.

Frankly speaking, the Aadhaar by Unique Identification Authority of India – UIDAI has consistently set new benchmarks in transparency and accountability by making public all its operations and decisions.

From transparency point of view, Aadhaar is more transparent and accountable as a project of this magnitude has never been attempted before, thereby rendering comparative analysis impossible.

Although, there are many positives that a system like the Aadhaar will have for India, the limitations and flaws should also be kept in mind rather than a forced push for it. Aadhaar does make managing benefits easier for India but making it mandatory to avail benefits makes the Aadhaar database a prime target for exploitation, increasing the security risk. Furthermore, forcing Aadhaar to be mandatory to file taxes opens up an argument on privacy rights.

Both the court and government should come up with a clear-cut notification, instead of issuing partial directives from time to time, and make it mandatory for all purposes as in the biometric system, the chances of error are very remote.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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