The Narendra Modi government has defended its move to link Aadhaar numbers with the Permanent Account number (PAN) cards arguing that citizens could not claim “absolute” right over their body parts and refuse to give their bio-metric details citing privacy.
Dubbing the concerns over intrusion of citizens’ privacy due to use of Aadhaar as “bogus”, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the Supreme Court that one cannot have an absolute right over his or her body.
Describing Aadhaar as an effective tool to check terror financing and black money, Rohatgi said “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.”
Centre’s response came after the apex court sought its reply over a flurry of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of a change in law made during parliament’s budget session that mandates people to link their Aadhaar number with the PAN card.
Making a strong case in favour of Aadhar, Rohatgi said that due to Aadhaar, government has saved over Rs 50,000 crore on the schemes to benefit the poor as well as the pension schemes.
He said that around 10 lakh PAN cards have been cancelled, while out of the 113.7 crore Aadhaar cards issued, no case of duplication has been found by the government.
Rohatgi also took a swipe at the petiioners and asked “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,”