Supreme Court upholds linking Aadhaar with PAN, but exempts those without it for now

SC on Aadhaar card for IT return: The apex court upheld the validity of sub-section 1 but ordered a partial stay on the operation of sub-section 2.

Written by ANANTHAKRISHNAN G | New Delhi | Updated: June 10, 2017 8:47 am
Aadhaar, Aadhaar IT return, Aadhaar income tax, Aadhaar Supreme court, The order also made it clear that today’s decision will be subject to the outcome of the decision of the Constitution Bench.

The Centre’s amendment to the Income Tax (IT) Act making it compulsory for assessees to link their PAN and Aadhaar numbers passed judicial scrutiny on Friday with the Supreme Court upholding it. The apex court rejected the contention that the changes had the effect of making Aadhaar which was “voluntary” under the Aadhaar Act into a “mandatory” requirement. The order came from a bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan which heard a clutch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Section 139AA of the IT Act, introduced by way of the Finance Act of 2017 in March this year.

READ: Larger bench to see if Aadhaar violates privacy: SC

Sub-section 1 of Section 139AA required assessees to furnish their Aadhaar number while applying for PAN card and while filing their income tax return. Sub-section 2 said that the PAN cards of all those who already had their Aadhaar cards made or were eligible for it will be deemed invalid if they did not submit their Aadhaar numbers to the designated authority (for linking PAN and Aadhaar).

The apex court upheld the validity of sub-section 1 but ordered a partial stay on the operation of sub-section 2. This was done to avoid difficulty to genuine assessees until the time a separate batch of pending petitions which has questioned the privacy issues raised by the Aadhaar scheme is decided by a Constitution Bench of the Court.

The order also made it clear that today’s decision will be subject to the outcome of the decision of the Constitution Bench.

“Having said so, it becomes clear from the aforesaid discussion that those who are not PAN holders, while applying for PAN, they are required to give Aadhaar number. This is the stipulation of sub-section (1) of Section 139AA, which we have already upheld. At the same time, as far as existing PAN holders are concerned, since the impugned provisions are yet to be considered on the touchstone of Article 21 of the Constitution, including on the debate around Right to Privacy and human dignity, etc. as limbs of Article 21, we are of the opinion that till the aforesaid aspect of Article 21 is decided by the Constitution Bench, a partial stay of the aforesaid proviso is necessary,” the order said.

“Those who have already enrolled themselves under Aadhaar scheme would comply with the requirement of sub-section (2) of Section 139AA of the Act. Those who still want to enrol are free to do so. However, those assessees who are not Aadhaar card holders and do not comply with the provision of Section 139(2), their PAN cards be not treated as invalid for the time being…We are adopting this course of action for more than one reason. We are saying so because of very severe consequences that entail in not adhering to the requirement of sub-section (2) of Section 139AA of the Act. A person who is holder of PAN and if his PAN is invalidated, he is bound to suffer immensely in his day to day dealings, which situation should be avoided till the Constitution Bench authoritatively determines the argument of Article 21 of the Constitution,” the Bench added.

The court rejected the contention that since enrollment under Aadhaar Act is voluntary, it cannot be compulsory under the Income Tax Act saying the objectives of the two acts were entirely different and the Parliament was within its powers to make a provision directory in one statute and mandatory in another.

The purpose for enrollment under Aadhaar Act is to avail benefits of various welfare schemes while the purpose behind Income Tax Act is entirely different, the bench said. “For achieving the said purpose, viz., to curb black money, money laundering and tax evasion etc., if Parliament chooses to make the provision mandatory under the Income Tax Act, the competence of the Parliament cannot be questioned on the ground that it is impermissible only because under Aadhaar Act, the provision is directory in nature.

It is the prerogative of the Parliament to make a particular provision directory in one statute and mandatory/compulsory in other.”

The petitioners had contended that the IT Act amendment went against earlier orders of the SC which had the effect of saying that Aadhaar was voluntary.

But the court rejected this saying that such orders were “passed in the petitions where Aadhaar scheme floated as an executive/administrative measure has been challenged” whereas in the present case, it was a statute passed by Parliament that was in question.

Further, those were interim orders pending adjudication of the main question whether Aadhaar scheme violated Article 21 which had to be decided by the Constitution bench, it said and added that “in a situation like this, it cannot be said that Parliament is precluded from or it is rendered incompetent to pass such a law.”

The court acknowledged citizens’ concerns about leak of Aadhaar data and said: “This is a concern which needs to be addressed by the Government. It is important that the aforesaid apprehensions are assuaged by taking proper measures so that confidence is instilled among the public at large that there is no chance of unauthorised leakage of data whether it is done by tightening the operations of the contractors who are given the job of enrollment…or by prescribing severe penalties to those who are found guilty of leaking the details, is the outlook of the Government.”

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  1. #
    #AADHAARFAIL
    Jun 11, 2017 at 6:52 pm
    Please get your #AADHAAR deactivated by sending an email to UIDAI asking them either they take 1 crore insurance for your #AADHAAR bio-metrics theft/#AADHAAR authentication failure or they delete your bio-metrics and deactivate your #AADHAAR.
    Reply
    1. #
      #AADHAARFAIL
      Jun 11, 2017 at 6:46 pm
      Please get your #AADHAAR deactivated by sending an email to UIDAI asking them either they take 1 crore insurance for your #AADHAAR bio-metrics theft/#AADHAAR authentication failure or they delete your bio-metrics and deactivate your #AADHAAR.
      Reply
      1. S
        srinivasan
        Jun 10, 2017 at 11:26 am
        Even though I have obtained an Aadhaar Card since I would not like to get the same linked to PAN card, I would say that I do not have an Aadhaar Card. Is it not possible?
        Reply
        1. #
          #AADHAARFAIL
          Jun 11, 2017 at 6:46 pm
          Please get your #AADHAAR deactivated by sending an email to UIDAI asking them either they take 1 crore insurance for your #AADHAAR bio-metrics theft/#AADHAAR authentication failure or they delete your bio-metrics and deactivate your #AADHAAR.
          Reply
          1. #
            #AADHAARFAIL
            Jun 11, 2017 at 6:53 pm
            Please get your #AADHAAR deactivated by sending an email to UIDAI asking them either they take 1 crore insurance for your #AADHAAR bio-metrics theft/#AADHAAR authentication failure or they delete your bio-metrics and deactivate your #AADHAAR.
            Reply
          2. R
            Rohit
            Jun 10, 2017 at 9:55 am
            We Love Supreme Court and Honorable Chief Justice which is the only free ins ution left in the country under Modi Dictatorship. CBI, IT, EB should come under Supreme Court to protect Democracy and prevent abuse of power by BJP Tyrannical Regime.
            Reply
            1. #
              #AADHAARFAIL
              Jun 11, 2017 at 6:46 pm
              Please get your #AADHAAR deactivated by sending an email to UIDAI asking them either they take 1 crore insurance for your #AADHAAR bio-metrics theft/#AADHAAR authentication failure or they delete your bio-metrics and deactivate your #AADHAAR.
              Reply
            2. A
              anandap
              Jun 10, 2017 at 8:14 am
              Why a section of urban middle cl Indians are as if so much concerned or obsessive about false security or privacy than the other civilized world people where they do not object any technology based system for smooth services and deliveries! Despite 70 percent above in APL/BPL level with stinking conditions, a section of urban middle classes are so worry about "Aam aadmi privacy" and security itself is their fraud clerical mentality, corruption, non-transparent and secrecy mindset! Supreme court may have 100000's of pending cases to dispose, but hanging on Aadhaar is unfair!
              Reply
              1. #
                #AADHAARFAIL
                Jun 10, 2017 at 8:49 am
                WTF will you do when your fingerprints collected at mobile retail shop gets repla and used for #AADHAAR pay?
                Reply
              2. H
                H.Balakrishnan
                Jun 10, 2017 at 8:10 am
                Time at hand to hand over the reins of the 'EXECUTIVE" to our "learned judges". SIC.
                Reply
                1. #
                  #AADHAARFAIL
                  Jun 10, 2017 at 7:46 am
                  Please get your #AADHAAR deactivated by sending an email to UIDAI asking them either they take 1 crore insurance for your #AADHAAR bio-metrics theft/#AADHAAR authentication failure or they delete your bio-metrics and deactivate your #AADHAAR
                  Reply
                  1. P
                    pankaj
                    Jun 10, 2017 at 9:24 am
                    Lalloo lal, your biometrics have no value of their own, you finger prints and all other scans have no value of their own till they can be used by somebody else to claim your iden y and for that cheating aadhar is million times tougher than just using your identy (name etc) without aadhar. Your tiny brain won't understand it. So from your bank account, your hospital records, your school records, your worker records, from everywhere your iden y can be stolen and no body needs anything to verify that it is you if they have that information, but with aadhar they need your fingers to claim that. Again very difficult for your IQ to understand it. It needs around 10th grade IQ though.
                    Reply
                    1. P
                      Punekar
                      Jun 10, 2017 at 8:47 pm
                      You are wrong. Biometric authentication is umed to be 100 percent confirmatory with no scope of fraud. In the event of cheque fraud or card fraud it is the accepted norm to investigate it if you lodge a police complaint. How are you going to do it in case your fingerprint has been skimmed? Have you seen how easy it is to do a biometric updation? Have you experienced how easy it for your fingerprint authentication to fail especially for the elderly? In such cases of failed authentication genuine individuals will be denied services like acquiring Mobile SIMs, boarding commerical Airliners etc because their scans fail.
                      1. #
                        #AADHAARFAIL
                        Jun 11, 2017 at 6:48 pm
                        English please.
                        1. #
                          #AADHAARFAIL
                          Jun 11, 2017 at 6:50 pm
                          You are giving both fingerprint and #AADHAARFAIL card copy to Airtel/Idea, they can do whatever they want. #blind bhakt
                      2. V
                        Vicky
                        Jun 10, 2017 at 4:27 am
                        Fraud BJP Government should not impose its will on people. Great job SC.We salute you. They should be jailed for misusing CBI, ED, IT on honest people, oppostion and press like NDTV. People Privacy should not be compromised when this kind of Corrupt Government in power because of which farmers dying and whistle blowers in Vyapam scam murdered brutally. DENETIZATION was biggest madness that even an African Head of State would have taken such mindless and heartless action that we are at square one with 150 innocent lives lost due to arrogance.
                        Reply
                        1. P
                          pankaj
                          Jun 10, 2017 at 6:23 am
                          Fraud BJP will jail all your fraud friends sooner or later. Rest ured. You are not living in medieval era.
                          Reply
                          1. #
                            #AADHAARFAIL
                            Jun 10, 2017 at 7:47 am
                            Please get your #AADHAAR deactivated by sending an email to UIDAI asking them either they take 1 crore insurance for your #AADHAAR bio-metrics theft/#AADHAAR authentication failure or they delete your bio-metrics and deactivate your #AADHAAR
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