THE GOVERNMENT has proposed to make the Aadhaar number mandatory for filing income-tax returns and while applying for a new Permanent Account Number (PAN) from July 1, according to amendments proposed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the Finance Bill. Taxpayers will be required to link their PAN cards with Aadhaar numbers; PAN cards not linked to Aadhaar numbers before the July deadline will be deemed invalid, as per the amendments. Those who do not have their Aadhar cards as yet will be required to submit their enrollment numbers.
In January, the labour ministry had made the linking of Aadhaar cards with employee provident fund (EPF) accounts mandatory. In a notification, the ministry said that those without Aadhaar will have to apply to get enrolled by January 31, 2017. Reminding the central government that Aadhaar cannot be made mandatory for any services, the Supreme Court had last September ordered it to remove a condition making it mandatory for students to provide Aadhaar numbers for various scholarship schemes.
A bench led by Justice V Gopala Gowda had recalled an order of the top court in October 2015 whereby it was clarified that “the Aadhaar card Scheme is purely voluntary and it cannot be made mandatory till the matter is finally decided by this Court one way or the other”. But a letter sent by the central government to chief secretaries and administrators of all states and union territories on July 14 had stated that only online applications under the National Scholarship Scheme will be accepted and “it may be noted that submission of Aadhaar is mandatory.”