Linkage of PAN With Aadhaar Mandatory, Reiterates SC [Read Order]
“This Court has decided the matter and upheld the vires of section 139AA of the Income Tax Act. In view thereof, linkage of PAN with Aadhar is mandatory.”
Linkage of PAN with Aadhar is mandatory, said the Supreme Court while disposing a special leave petition against a Delhi High Court order which it passed before the Constitution bench judgment in Aadhaar case.
The Delhi High Court, in February 2018, had allowed Shreya Sen and some other petitioners to file the Income Tax Return for the Assessment Year 2018-19 without linkage of their Aadhar and PAN numbers. The High court had also directed the Income Tax Department not to insist on production of number of Aadhar enrollment for filing returns.
In the SLP filed by Union of India against this order, the bench comprising Justice AK Sikri and Justice S. Abdul Nazeer observed: "The aforesaid order was passed by the High Court having regard to the fact that the matter was pending consideration in this Court. Thereafter, this Court has decided the matter and upheld the vires of section 139AA of the Income Tax Act. In view thereof, linkage of PAN with Aadhar is mandatory."
The court made it clear that for the assessment year 2019-20, the income tax return shall be filed in terms of the Constitution bench judgment.
On September 26th 2018, the Supreme Court (4:1 majority) had upheld the Aadhaar Act, though it had read down some of the provisions of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act 2016, struck down a few but significant ones (mainly Section 33(2), 47 and 57).
The court, in the said judgment had also held that Section 139AA of the Income Tax Act, 1961 is not violative of right to privacy as it satisfies the triple test (I) existence of a law; (ii) a 'legitimate State interest'; and (iii) such law should pass the 'test of proportionality'.
Justice Sikri, in the judgment, had observed: "Validity of this provision was upheld in the case of Binoy Viswam by repelling the contentions based on Articles 14 and 19 of the Constitution. The question of privacy which, at that time, was traced to Article 21, was left open. The matter is reexamined on the touchstone of principles laid down in K.S. Puttaswamy. The matter has also been examined keeping in view that manifest arbitrariness is also a ground of challenge to the legislative enactment. Even after judging the matter in the context of permissible limits for invasion of privacy, namely: (i) the existence of a law; (ii) a 'legitimate State interest'; and (iii) such law should pass the 'test of proportionality', we come to the conclusion that all these tests are satisfied."