On 9th of June, 2017, the Supreme Court of India ruled that the government should allow the issue of PAN cards even if the citizens don’t link their Aadhar number to their PAN cards. It also stated that the PAN cards of non-Aadhar holders cannot be invalid. This however is only a partial stay which involves all those who still DO NOT HAVE AADHAR. For all those, who have an Aadhar card, still have to Link Aadhar Card to PAN Card. Here are more details on the same.
Link Aadhar Card to PAN Card – Who must do it?
As per Section 139AA of the Income-tax Act, 1961 introduced by the recent Finance Act, 2017, it provides for compulsory quoting of Aadhar/Enrolment ID of Aadhar application form, for filing of return of income and for making an application for allotment of Permanent Account Number with effect from 1st July, 2017.
However, the Supreme Court’s order brings only a partial stay on the mandatory requirement to Link Aadhar Card to PAN Card for a citizen.
The PAN card is a very important document when it comes to filing taxes. In what can be called, a partial stay, the Supreme Court said that… The people who don’t own an Aadhar card till now should not be forced to get one. However, the people who have a PAN card, must make it a point to connect it to the Aadhar.
The court also said that the “Parliament needs to consider toning down the provision”, when referring to Section 139AA of the Income Tax Act.
This however leaves it unclear as to what action can the Government of India take if one has an Aadhar number, but deliberately avoids connecting it to the PAN card. This is because the full text of the judgement has not yet been published, it is supposed that the full text is quite voluminous.
As a concern with the security of the citizens’ privacy and data, the court said that this is a matter that needs to be addressed by the Government, the court further added that severe fines need to be applicable in case of data leakages, calling deterrent measures – “essential”.
Furthermore, the issues that relate to the right to self-determination, the right to be left alone and “informational self-determination” were judged to be related to the issue of privacy, which will be heard if and when the Supreme Court sets up a constitutional bench to hear those cases.
In addition to this, the court considered issues which are related to Article 14 (equality before law) and Article 19 (1) (g) of the Indian constitution, and discharged the challenges on both grounds.
The Government has also been asked by the Supreme Court to take appropriate steps to ensure there is no leakage of data from the Aadhar scheme. Previous transactions will not be affected or nullified with partial stay on new law till privacy issue linked to Aadhar is decided, it said.
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