As the validity of the Aadhaar Act is under consideration by the Supreme Court, the Gujarat High Court has held that until a final verdict in that matter, the authorities will not declare a PAN inoperative due to non-linking of Aadhaar.
"in the opinion of this court, with a view to balance the equities, the applicant needs to be protected by directing that his PAN shall not be declared inoperative and the applicant may not be subjected to the proviso to sub-section (2) of section 139AA of the Act till the judgment of the Supreme Court in Rojer Mathew v. South Indian Bank Ltd. is delivered and available. In the opinion of this court, grant of such interim relief in favour of the applicant can in no manner have wide repercussions as is sought to be contended on behalf of the revenue," the bench of Justices Harsha Devani and Sangeeta K. Vishen said.
The linking of Aadhaar number with PAN is mandatory as per Section 139AA of the Income Tax Act, 1961. It states that if the PAN is not linked with Aadhaar by the date notified by the government in that behalf, then the PAN would become invalid.
The Petitioner had moved the high court stating that the very fact that the privacy judgment of the Supreme Court in Justice K.S. Puttaswamy (Retd) v. Union of India, (2019) 1 SCC 1, had been referred to the Larger Bench showed that he had a prima facie case for not linking his PAN with Aadhaar.
He contended that if relief was not granted, he'd suffer irreparable loss as he will not be able to file his income tax return.
The court noted that the validity of the Addhaar Act had not attained finality as the question as to whether it wasrightly introduced as a "Money Bill" was still under consideration before theSupreme Court in Rojer Mathew v. SouthIndian Bank Ltd. & Ors., CA No. 8588/2019.
Thus, the court held that the Petitioner's PAN will not be declared inoperative and he would not be in default in any proceedings only for the reason that his PAN is not linked with Aadhaar, till the judgment of the Supreme Court in the Rojer Mathew v. South Indian Bank Ltd. is delivered and available.. The court explained,
"if the applicant is directed to abide by the provisions of section 139AA of the Act, in the event the challenge to the Aadhaar Act being introduced as a Money Bill were to succeed, it would not be possible to turn the clock back as the applicant would be required to provide all the necessary information for obtaining an Aadhaar card and the claim of privacy of the applicant would be lost for all times to come."
Case Title: Bandish Saurabh Soparkar v. Union of India
Case No.: R/Spcl. Civil Application No. 17329/2017
Quorum: Justice Harsha Devani & Justice Sangeeta K. Vishen
Appearance: Senior Advocate SN Soparkar with Advocate Swati Soparkar (for Petitioner); Senior Advocate MR Bhatt with Advocate Mauna Bhatt (for Respondent)
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