The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought the assistance of Attorney General K K Venugopal in dealing with a plea of a transgender person alleging that her attempt to link her PAN with Aadhaar has failed as the PAN card has no 'third gender' option unlike the Aadhaar card.
Reshma Prasad, a social activist from Bihar, has sought a direction to the Centre to create a separate third gender category option on PAN cards to enable transgender like her to link it with Aadhaar to get an "accurate identity proof".
"Let a copy of the petition be served on the central agency so that we can have the assistance of Attorney General for India. List the matter in the second week of May 2018," a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice A M Khanwilkar said.
"It is humbly submitted that due to the anomaly the linking of Aadhaar and PAN is not being accepted/automatically rendered unsuccessful by the Department's systems in cases of those third gender individuals whose respective gender as mentioned in the Aadhaar and PAN are different," Prasad said in the plea.
Prasad also said that she had enrolled for PAN in 2012 selecting the male gender identity category and has been getting the tax return of the year 2015-16 and 2016-2017 in the category of male.
The Aadhaar system, she said, included the category of the third gender after an apex court verdict and she registered as a transgender in the Aadhaar.
She has been using Aadhaar as the identity proof and has availed all benefits provided by the government through Aadhaar Card, the plea said.
Prasad, who had written 'male' as gender while getting PAN, received Aadhaar under the transgender or third gender category.
However, when she had to link the PAN with Aadhaar, she could not do so due to dual gender identity.
Prasad was recognised as an entrepreneur by the Bihar government in 2017 for the innovative ideas for the new start-up known as 'NaachBaaja.com' providing platform to the transgender persons, men and women in Bihar and to recognise the skills of dance and music as an art among transgender persons.
She wanted to avail the financial grants from the state of Bihar for registering the company but she failed to register the same, as to start the company one needs to create a Digital Signature Certificate on the website of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs for which the Identity proves such as Aadhar Card and PAN are needed.
"The non-collaboration of both the Identity cards due to mismatch in gender, the Petitioner (Prasad) failed to get the Digital Signature Certificate," the plea said.
Earlier, a similar plea was filed by a Mumbai-based transgender saying the issue was serious since a failure to link the two can even invite criminal prosecution. He added that there is a provision to invalidate the PAN card over failure to link it with Aadhaar.