The Supreme Court, earlier this week, said that it was essential to link Aadhaar with the PAN card to file income tax returns henceforth. The court was hearing the government’s plea against a Delhi High Court order allowing the respondent to file IT returns for 2018 – 2019 without linking the Aadhaar.
The apex court held that the High Court’s verdict was based on the fact that the decision on linking Aadhaar to vital documents or making Aadhaar compulsory was pending before the Supreme Court. It also said that the respondents will now have to link their cards to file the returns.
In a 4:1 verdict, the Supreme Court in September last year upheld the constitutional validity of Aadhaar. It, however, struck down some of its provisions including its linking with bank accounts, mobile phones, and school admissions.
The top court, however, made it compulsory for an individual to furnish their unique Aadhaar ID while filing IT returns. It also made Aadhaar-PAN card linking mandatory as well as the requirement of Aadhaar when applying for PAN card. Accordingly, the individuals who do not link their PAN and Aadhaar cards would not be able to file ITR.
The last date for Aadhaar-Pan linking is March 31, 2019. In a notification, the government has stated that the maximum late fee for not filing income tax returns is Rs 10,000 per person effective April 1, 2018. The income tax department may also send tax-offenders a notice under section 142(1) for filing ITR.
A five-judge bench headed by the then CJI Dipak Misra also said that obtaining the Aadhaar continues to remain voluntary. While Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar and Ashok Bhushan were in favour of Aadhaar, D Y Chandrachud dissented.