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10.52 lakh bogus PAN cards cannot be termed minuscule number: SC

Out of all fraudulent permanent account numbers, 10.52 lakh cases pertain to individual assesses

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Such huge number of cases cannot be termed as minuscule to harm the economy, said the Apex Court

As many as 10.52 lakh "bogus" cards of individual income evaluation, which is around 0.4 per cent of the total such documents, cannot be termed a "minuscule" number to harm the country's economy, the said.

The apex court said that it has come on record that 11.35 lakh duplicate or fraudulent permanent account numbers have been detected and out of these, 10.52 lakh cases pertain to individual assesses.

It made the observations in a 157-page judgement while upholding the validity of section 139AA of the Income Act making mandatory for allotment of cards and filing of returns.

The court, however, put a partial stay on its implementation till its Constitution Bench addressed the larger issue of right to privacy related to

Section 139AA of the Act provides for mandatory quoting of or ID of form for filing of returns and making application for allotment of with effect from July 1 this year.

"It was sought to be argued (by the petitioners) that people found with duplicate/bogus PAN cards are hardly 0.4 per cent and, therefore, there was no need to have such a provision," a bench headed by Justice A K Sikri said on Friday.

"We cannot go by percentage figures. The absolute number of such cases is 10.52 lakh, which figure, by no means, can be termed as minuscule to harm the and create an adverse effect on the nation," the bench, also comprising Justice Ashok Bhushan, said.

Dealing with the submissions advanced by that duplicate PANs were used to divert funds to shell companies, the bench said, "The fact remains that companies are after all floated by individuals and these individuals have to produce documents to show their identity."

It said if introducing Aadhaar in tax regime was one of the measures to check black money or money laundering, the scheme cannot be "denounced" only because of the reason that the purpose would not be achieved fully.

"Such kind of a menace, which is deep-rooted, needs to be tackled by taking multiple actions".

"It is the combined effect of these actions which may yield results and each individual action considered in isolation may not be sufficient," it noted.

First Published: Sun, June 11 2017. 11:22 IST