The Centre today defended linking Aadhaar with permanent account number (PAN) in the Supreme Court.
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said that the government is entitled to ask for identification details of citizens.
Representing the government, the Attorney General said that Aadhaar is mandatory to avoid fake PAN card.
Mukul Rohatgi submitted arguments in response to the petitions challenging the Narendra Modi government's decision to make Aadhaar mandatory for Income tax filing and obtaining and retaining PAN.
Rohatgi argued that petitioners cannot live in a vacuum and cannot ask to remain invisible. People don't live in the Himalayas, the Attorney General said.
HERE IS HOW MUKUL ROHATGI DEFENDED GOVERNMENT IN SUPREME COURT:
- Arguing on behalf of the government, Mukul Rohatgi said as constituents of a society, citizens cannot claim immunity from identification.
- Citing the example of Census surveys, Mukul Rohatgi said Census records date on caste, gender, religion, and citizens cannot claim exemption from it.
- He said an identification system is essential for governance, and it cannot be relinquished for "so-called privacy".
- Harping on the privacy point, the Attorney General said that mobile phone companies can track the exact whereabouts of an individual through one's phone.
- Arguing for the Modi government, Mukul Rohatgi said that Section 139 AA of the IT Act, which makes Aadhaar mandatory for PAN, curbs use of fake PAN cards.
- The Attorney General said that there are safeguards for privacy under the Aadhaar Act--the authority shall ensure security, and confidentiality of data.
- Under the act, biometric is not to be shared, unless as per procedures of law. Biometric has been classified as sensitive public information, Mukul Rohatgi argued in Supreme Court.
- You might want to be forgotten, the state does not want to forget you, Mukul Rohatgi said, adding that the government is not looking to play big brother.
- The Attorney General argued that no ban can be placed on Parliament making laws. Powers of Parliament to legislate are supreme and sovereign, he added.
- Mukul Rohatgi said the Supreme Court order directing government to make Aadhaar voluntary was an interim order. The Supreme Court cannot injunct Parliament from passing a new law, he argued. Parliament can pass a validating law to remove the basis of an SC judgment, he said.
- The right to forget is a luxury only the rich can afford, and rich don't need access to PDS (public distribution system), said Mukul Rohatgi. The government has saved over Rs 50,000 crore on benefits for poor due to Aadhaar, AG Mukul Rohatgi informed the Supreme Court.