Aadhaar PAN linkage: The Supreme Court will announce its verdict today on a raft of pleas contesting the validity of the Narendra Modi government’s move to make Aadhaar mandatory for procuring Permanent Account Number (PAN) card. The Centre had earlier made an amendment to the tax proposals in the Finance Bill of the Budget for 2017-18. The amendment has a provision which made Aadhaar mandatory for filing income tax returns and allotment of PAN. The decison was taken with an aim to curb tax evasion through use of multiple PAN cards, according to agency report.
On May 4, the apex court had reserved the verdict petitions challenging section 139AA of the Income Tax (I-T) Act. The Act was introduced in this year’s budget. A bench comprising Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan had reserved the decision. Meanwhile, earlier on April 21, the top Court had raised question over the Central government’s move.
Notably, section 139AA of the Income Tax Act makes enrollment ID of Aadhaar application form mandatory for filing of income tax returns and making application for allotment of PAN (Permanent Account Number) with effect from July 1 this year.
The petitioners had challenged the Centre’s move citing that it cannot go against the top court’s order in 2015 in which it had held Aadhaar as voluntary. Their argument was that the government should not have enacted the section 139AA in the Act to make Aadhaar mandatory for PAN as the apex court had already made its stand clear.
On May 4, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi who had appeared for the Central government, told a bench headed by Justice A K Sikri that they have found that people were giving details of PAN cards which have been procured on the basis of fake documents. Rohatgi said that there were instances that one person was having multiple PAN cards. They were using these fake cards to divert funds to shell companies.
The bench had then asked the Attorney General, “Is this the remedy that you need to have Aadhaar for having PAN? Why has it been made mandatory?” Responding to this, Rohatgi said that earlier too they have found people procuring SIM cards for mobile phones on fake identity cards and the apex court had asked the government to have a check on it.