On Thursday, the Central government notified that the requirement of quoting of Aadhaar/Enrolment ID shall not apply to some individuals if they do not possess the Aadhaar/Enrolment ID. As per Section 139AA of the Income-tax Act, 1961, which was inserted by Finance Act, 2017, it is mandatory to quote Aadhaar or the Enrolment ID of Aadhaar application form for filing of return of income and for making an application for allotment of Permanent Account Number (PAN) with effect from July, 1 2017.
Section 139AA (3) of the Act empowers the Central Government to notify the person(s) or State(s) to which the requirement of quoting of Aadhaar/Enrolment ID shall not apply.
Four categories of people have been exempted from mandatorily quoting Aadhaar or Enrolment ID. They are:
- An individual who is residing in the state of Assam, Jammu and Kashmir and Meghalaya.
- An individual who is a non-resident as per the Income-tax Act, 1961.
- An individual of the age of eighty years or more at any time during the previous year.
- An individual who is not a citizen of India.
On Friday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a plea challenging various notifications of the Centre to make Aadhaar card mandatory for availing benefits of government schemes. The SC would hear the arguments on May 17. A decision in this regard was taken by a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar, which is currently hearing a batch of petitions challenging the practice of triple talaq. The bench agreed to the contention of senior advocate Shyam Divan that the Aadhaar matter is very important and needed an urgent hearing.
“Despite the order of this court that Aadhaar will be voluntary and not mandatory, the government has been coming
out with a series of notifications making it mandatory to avail benefits of schemes like scholarships, Right to Food and mid-day meal in schools,” Divan, told PTI. He is appearing for Shanta Sinha, former chairperson of National Commission For Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), who is one of the petitioners in the Aadhaar case.
Appearing for the Centre, Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, however, contested the submission made by Dewan. He said that even interim orders in Aadhaar matter was passed by a five-judge bench and, hence it would not be appropriate to list the plea before a two-judge bench.
The matter would now be heard by a five-judge constitution bench yet to set up by the CJI.
(With PTI inputs)