The Supreme Court will hear pleas challenging government’s decision to link Aadhaar with the Permanent Account Number (PAN) card for filing of income tax returns and to apply for a new PAN, on Friday.
Significantly, the SC had earlier showed its displeasure over the Centre’s decision to make Aadhaar mandatory. However, attorney general Mukul Rohatgi contended that they have found many PAN cards being used to divert funds to shell corporations, thus making Aadhaar card mandatory is the only choice to stop it.
The SC is hearing two PILs, filed separately by former Kerala minister Binoy Viswam and retired Army official S G Vombatkere. The petitioners challenge the validity of an amendment in the I-T Act.
Rohatgi maintained this when the court asked the Centre as to why Aadhaar card should be made obligatory when an order has already been delivered to make it optional. He also said that now there is an Act in position to make Aadhaar obligatory to file the income tax returns.
Section 139AA of the Income-tax Act, 1961 as presented by the Finance Act, 2017, provides for obligatory quoting of Aadhaar/Enrolment ID of Aadhaar application form, for filing of return of income and for making an application for allotment of Permanent Account Number with effect from July 1, 2017.
The apex court in August 2015, had ordered that Aadhaar cards will not be mandatory for availing aids of the government’s welfare schemes.
However, the BJP government, which aims to end the black money nuisance, in March had made Aadhaar card mandatory for filing the income tax returns, for applying for a PAN card, to seek free gas connections under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana.