New Delhi, June 09, 2017 : The Supreme Court on Friday upheld validity of law making it mandatory to link PAN cards with Aadhaar for filing Income Tax returns. However, those having no Aadhaar cards till date can also file their returns, it ruled.
A bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan put a partial stay on the operation of the amendment into Income -Tax Act brought in through Section 139AA that made it essential for all assesses to link their PAN cards with Aadhaar.
The court said till the time right to privacy issue is authoritatively decided by Constitution bench, the operation of a portion of the amendment would remain stayed.
Though the apex court held it cannot question Parliament wisdom to pass the law, it went on to read down the recent amendment.
The court, however, disagreed with the contention of PIL petitioners former Kerala Minister and CPI leader Binoy Wiswam that the move violated their fundamental right to equality and created unreasonable classification.
The court also did not concur with the contention by other petitioners retired Major General S G Vombatkere and social activist Bezwada Wilson that insertion of Section 139AA into the Income Tax Act under the Finance Act, 2017 – making it mandatory for individual tax payers to quote Aadhaar number in filing IT returns -- was contrary to the previous apex court’s orders and repeated claims by the government that Aadhaar is voluntary.
The court also asked the government to ensure that there is no leakage of citizens data collected for the purposes of Aadhaar.