The Supreme Court today asked the government to devise at the earliest a scheme to address public concern over leakage of data on linking PAN with Aadhaar.
The apex court said that this apprehension of the public has to be assuaged by the government by taking proper measures so that people are confident that there would be no chance of "unauthorised leakage" of data.
A bench comprising justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said the measures to be taken can range from "tightening the operations of the contractors who are given the job of enrollment, they being private persons, or by prescribing severe penalties to those who are found guilty of leaking the details".
While observing that it would be the government's outlook to decide on which measure to adopt for ensuring there is no data leak, the apex court emphasised that a proper scheme be devised at the earliest.
"It is also necessary to highlight that a large section of citizens feel concerned about possible data leak, even when many of those support linkage of PAN with Aadhaar. This is a concern which needs to be addressed by the government. It is important that the aforesaid apprehensions are assuaged by taking proper measures so that confidence is instilled among the public at large that there is no chance of
unauthorised leakage of data...”
"... Whether it is done by tightening the operations of the contractors who are given the job of enrollment, they being private persons or by prescribing severe penalties to those who are found guilty of leaking the details, is the outlook of the government," the bench said.
The observations came while upholding the validity of a law making Aadhaar mandatory for allotment of PAN and filing of Income Tax (I-T) returns.