A 72-year-old chartered accountant has filed a petition in the Bombay High Court against the mandatory requirement by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to either quote or link one’s Aadhaar number in order to file income tax returns online.
In the petition, it is argued that the petitioner does not have an Aadhaar number nor does he intend to get one until the Supreme Court decides on its constitutionality.
The petitioner argued that as per the orders of the Supreme Court, Aadhaar is a voluntary scheme and its requirement could only be made mandatory in certain government schemes like the Public Distribution scheme and six others.
Pointing to similar litigations before other high courts in the country, the petition stated-
“Similar Writ Petitions have been filed in the Delhi High Court and Punjab and Haryana High Court by individuals who are similarly situated as the Petitioner and in both the instances the Hon’ble High Courts at Chandigarh and Delhi have through interim orders dated 28.03.2018 and 04.04.2018 respectively have allowed the respective Petitioner in those to file their IT returns without submitting their 12-digit Aadhaar number or a 28-digit Aadhaar enrolment number.”
In fact, the Delhi High Court had directed the CBDT to build a platform for taxpayers who wish to file income tax returns online without Aadhaar until the Aadhaar-PAN linkage deadline of March 31, 2019.
Thus, the petitioner has stated that the mandatory requirement to link or quote an Aadhaar number for enabling taxpayers to file returns online, is not only in direct violation of the orders of the apex court but also violation of a citizen’s fundamental rights under Article 14 of the Constitution.