UID/Aadhaar
SC questions govt over making Aadhaar as mandatory
Coming down heavily on the Narendra Modi government, the Supreme Court on Friday asked how they could make Aadhaar mandatory when the apex court has made it optional. The Court also asked the Centre to justify the need for making Aadhaar mandatory for filing income tax returns (ITRs).
 
The Court said it will examine next week the constitutional validity of central government's decision to link the Aadhaar with the permanent account number (PAN) card. 
 
Mukul Rohatgi, the Attorney General was quoted in the reports as saying that "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 mandatory."
 
The Bench of Justice AK Sikri, and Justice Ashok Bhushan, asked the Attorney General that “Is this the remedy? Forcibly asking people to get Aadhaar cards?”
 
The court was hearing a petition filed by former Kerala Minister Binoy Viswam, represented by senior advocate Arvind Datar and advocate Sriram Prakkat, challenging the constitutionality of Section 139AA inserted in the Income Tax Act by the Finance Act, 2017.
 
The Attorney General argued that it was a mandatory requirement under Section 139A of the Income Tax Act to allot PAN and Aadhaar is only being linked to it. 
 
Mr Datar contended that the Aadhaar Act itself does not make obtaining Aadhaar mandatory. “Going by the Attorney General 's logic about fake PANs, I get a PAN card on the basis of showing my Aadhaar as proof. Aadhaar is a basic document along with driving licence. By making Aadhaar mandatory under Section 139AA, my PAN become invalid. This has serious consequences," he said.
 
In his petition, Mr Viswam, former minister from Kerala, had stated that “Section 139AA of the Income Tax Act, 1961, which makes enrolment for Aadhaar mandatory, without making appropriate amendments to the Aadhaar Act which till date does not prescribe that the enrolment is mandatory, in a Finance Bill was with the intention of avoiding the Rajya Sabha where the ruling party does not have a majority. It is submitted that the said amendment is completely contrary to Article 110 of the Constitution, which defines a Money Bill."
 
The Modi government had enacted the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act of 2016 as a Money Bill. However, Congress MP and former Union Minister Jairam Ramesh had challenged this enactment in the apex court.
 
Ever since Finance Minister Arun Jaitly announced to link Aadhaar number with PAN card and mandatory for filing ITR, several people are finding it difficult to link both due to mismatch in data fields. Over the years, PAN cards are known as linked with Income Tax and ITRs and are issued through a verification process. The same cannot be said to be true for Aadhaar as it is the private companies that collect the data, which is never verified or audited by any government agency or authority.
 
The Supreme Court had time and again restricted use of unique identification (UID) number or Aadhaar to public distribution system (PDS) Scheme, the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) distribution scheme, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), National Social Assistance Programme (Old Age Pensions, Widow Pensions, Disability Pensions), Prime Minister's Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) and Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO).  The Supreme Court has repeatedly emphasised that the UID number where permitted “is purely voluntary and it cannot be made mandatory till the matter is finally decided by the Court one way or the other“.  
 
On 15 October 2015, the Constitution Bench of Supreme Court led by the then Chief Justice HL Dattu had ruled that no person shall be deprived of services such as MNREGA, Jan Dhan Yojana, pension and provident fund schemes for want of Aadhaar. The Bench even hinted that the government risked contempt of Court if it chooses to continue to make Aadhaar number a mandatory condition.
 
Earlier on 23 September 2013, a bench of Justice J Chelameswar, Justice SA Bobde and Justice C Nagappan, without going into concrete examples, had said: "In certain quarters, Aadhaar are being insisted on by various authorities."
 
"...no person should suffer for not getting the Aadhaar in spite of the fact that some authorities had issued a circular making it mandatory and when any person applies to get the Aadhaar voluntarily, it may be checked whether that person is entitled for it under the law and it should not be given to any illegal immigrant," the apex court had said in its order. 
 
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User

COMMENTS

BR

6 months ago

Please give the copy & no.of the Supreme Court Order saying that Aadhaar may be used for LPG connection. & PDS. MY EMAIL Id is braman555@gmail.com

BR

6 months ago

Please give the copy & no.of the Supreme Court Order saying that Aadhaar may be used for LPG connection. & PDS. MY EMAIL Id is braman555@gmail.com

BR

6 months ago

Please give the copy & no.of the Supreme Court Order saying that Aadhaar may be used for LPG connection. & PDS. MY EMAIL Id is braman555@gmail.com

Aadhaar: What exactly happened in the Supreme Court on Monday?
Contrary to media reports that the Supreme Court allowed usage of Aadhaar number for non-benefit schemes, nothing really happened. In fact, all previous orders passed by the apex court on Aadhaar remain unchanged. 
 
According to one of the lawyers present in the Court, on Monday, the Aadhaar matters and the intervention application for stay on the Act were mentioned before the Bench of Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul. Senior Counsel Shyam Divan informed the Bench about earlier orders passed in this matter. 
 
"Given the Chief Justice Khehar or any of the judges in the Bench had never heard the case before, they had some questions on whether Para 5 of the 15 October 2015 order making it purely voluntary was for benefit schemes as well as non-benefit schemes. Therefore Chief Justice Khehar suggested that it could be used for other non-benefit schemes such as Income Tax filings. Sr Counsel Divan clarified on that point," the lawyer says.
 
Chief Justice Khehar expressed his opinion about perhaps setting up a Seven Judge Bench for hearing the main petition on Aadhaar. However, Sr Counsel Divan informed the Bench that the matter is before Justice Jasti Chelameswar, who had already indicated the order in which the Constitution Bench matters would be taken up for hearing. Aadhaar is one of the three such matters. Upon hearing this, the Chief Justice declined to intervene.
 
"In short, nothing changed today and there was no order passed by the Court," the lawyer concluded.

User

COMMENTS

BR

6 months ago

Supreme Court must clarify whether Aadhaar is a must fo LPG,PDS,NEET, Driving Licence,etc. Even though its order that it is not compulsory is valid, Govt Depts are forcing it on us. UIDAI says that it only gives Aadhaar to whoever wants it but does not force it on us. Petroleum Ministry says that UIDAI gave a list of services for which Aadhaar is needed. Aadhaar Act did not & cannot remove the court order. TheGovt must clarify.

BR

6 months ago

Supreme Court must clarify whether Aadhaar is a must fo LPG,PDS,NEET, Driving Licence,etc. Even though its order that it is not compulsory is valid, Govt Depts are forcing it on us. UIDAI says that it only gives Aadhaar to whoever wants it but does not force it on us. Petroleum Ministry says that UIDAI gave a list of services for which Aadhaar is needed. Aadhaar Act did not & cannot remove the court order. TheGovt must clarify.

LALIT SHAH

7 months ago

Most of highly learned and connected with politics and judiciary was opposing Aadhaar .Now forcing to give Aadhaar every where.How Aadhaar is secured with Government just example all telcome compony have whole biomatric data like JIO ,AIRTEL pay tm and this data is freely awailable with there 4-5 class staff.............................jay ho achhe din aa gaye

Freddie Movdawala

7 months ago

How Do We apply for Aadhar Card of a person who is bed ridden and who is 85 years of age and is not mobile

MOHAN SIROYA

7 months ago

Good Omen! So far so good.
But the Government cares two hoots for such Apex Court orders and violates with impunity by linking all benefits ,transactions or any other act of the Indian citizen to an Aadhaar number. Now from April all railway reservations done online will compulsorily require Aadhaar number. All those who have not yet made Aadhaar, thus are advised to RUSH without waiting for any remedial order from the
Supreme Court .

POS industry wary of Aadhaar-enablement over cost, security issues
The demand for point of sale (POS) devices -- which saw a spurt after demonetisation as people and merchants opted for cashless transactions -- could be dented by the mandate to make them Aadhaar-enabled as this will push up costs and increase security risks, industry players said.
 
"One of the biggest challenges in making the POS machines Aadhaar-enabled is the high cost of adoption as well verifying its reliability. Tampering and skimming threats for merchants and processors of card data are on the rise," Ravi Goyal, Chairman and Managing Director, India Transact Services, told IANS.
 
India Transact imports POS machines -- also known as payment or credit card machines -- from Europe and supplies them to Syndicate Bank, Bank of India, Reliance Retail and PVR Cinemas, among others.
 
According to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) mandate, all POS machines acquired after January 1 this year had to be enabled for Aadhaar-based biometric authentication. The date was was later extended to June 30 because the rate of deployment slowed down due to a drop in the supply of such Aadhaar-enabled devices. 
 
"Fingerprint authentication per se is not secure. It is about the levels and forms of encryption that companies implementing the solution follow. It is important that fingerprint data is encrypted at the source of the scanning device and remains encrypted all the way through till it reaches the card-issuing authorities," ePaisa Co-founder Siddharth Arora told IANS.
 
ePaisa will start manufacturing POS devices this year and plans to reach a million merchants by 2018.
 
"If somebody is able to capture the biometric data, which is easily done, they can very easily impersonate me," Manish Patel, Founder, Mswipe Technologies, which supplies POS terminals to 165,000 merchants, told IANS.
 
Apart from the increased security vulnerability to the person's biometrics, another deterrent to the digital mode would be the increased costs of the additional hardware.
 
"The costs of POS machines will go up. Currently, each terminal costs Rs 6,000. With the additional hardware, it will mean Rs 3,000-3,500 extra per terminal, which is 50 per cent increase in costs," Patel said.
 
"This is not technically a difficult task but rather a very expensive one. We need to attach a biometric reader to the currently available POS machines and simultaneously make changes in application," Goyal said.
 
They feared that ultimately the merchants will have to bear the cost and they may pass this on to the customer.
 
The demand for POS machines saw a steep rise just after demonetisation. At the peak of demonetisation, the government had floated a tender through Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) to acquire one million POS machines, but so far has been unable to procure any. 
 
Mswipe alleged that the tender was floated but the government failed to buy any POS terminals because of the cost factor. 
 
Corporation Bank said it placed an order for 10,000 devices immediately after demonetisation was announced November 8.
 
"We have approximately 30,000 POS machines. An order for about 10,000 additional POS machines was placed after demonetisation for immediate use," Eknath Baliga, Manger, KYC-Antimoney Laundering Cell, Corporation Bank, Mangalore, told IANS.
 
"Our sales shot up by 300 per cent in November and December compared with the previous year," India Transact Services said.
 
The total value of financial transactions done by the debit and credit cards issued by at POS terminals was at Rs 51,883.68 crore while the number of transactions stood at approximately 23 lakh in October 2016.
 
About 15 lakh POS terminals were deployed by the banks in October. 
 
But as cash returns to the system again, the demand for POS machines is tapering and these additional directives can prove a further deterrent to POS machines, the industry said, adding that there was no clarity on the revenue model in the Aadhaar-enabled payment system (AEPS).
 
"There is no revenue model defined for AEPS payments against the card-based payment system where MDR (Merchant Discount Rate) is a source of revenue. The reliability of AEPS infrastructure for mass payment is yet to be proven," Goyal said.
 
A typical transaction uses a payment instrument like a card, which is secured by a PIN (personal identification number). When a PIN gets captured on a terminal, there are payment card industry standards for the security of transactions. 
 
While RBI is calling for biometric enablement, it is not clear if the transaction is going to be carried out by a PIN and biometrics would be the second level of authentication, or if the biometric credentials are going to be used to identify the person with no second factor of authentication. 
 
"If the thumb impression alone will authorise a transaction, it will be a disaster. It has to be backed by a PIN. There are proven technologies to copy your fingerprint, like cloning," Patel said.
 
"A second factor of authentication is must. Else anyone can do a transaction in my name and I will not be able to dispute it," he said.
 
If by adopting these new measures, security against data theft can be ensured only then would both merchants and customers be assured that their hard-earned money is safe, he added.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

 

User

COMMENTS

Ramesh Bajaj

8 months ago

It is highly risky . I have myself tried and it took multiple tries to get my finger print authenticated, and I am still not sure how it was done. They kept on pressing my finger down on the instrument , a number of times

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