According to the amendments proposed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, income tax-payers will have to declare their Aadhaar number in all tax returns filed after July 1
Even as the Supreme Court has in successive orders, declared that the Aadhaar card cannot be made mandatory, the government on Tuesday made quoting the national ID number mandatory for filing Income Tax returns and also processing of Permanent Account Number (PAN) applications from July 1, 2017.
The apex court in 2015, and in 2016, had said, “The Aadhaar card scheme is purely voluntary and it cannot be made mandatory till the matter is finally decided by the court.” People can link their Aadhaar with their bank accounts and use Aadhaar-enabled payment system for funds transfer, balance enquiry, cash deposits or withdrawals and inter-banking transactions.
According to the amendments proposed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, income tax-payers will have to declare their Aadhaar number in all tax returns filed after July 1. They will also have to link their unique identification number with the PAN before the July deadline. According to the bill, PAN cards that are not linked will be deemed to be invalid. Separately, the labour ministry has issued a notification making Aadhaar mandatory for opening EPF accounts from March 31. In Haryana, the government has made Aadhaar-enabled biometric attendance mandatory for teachers and other employees in all the government-aided colleges.
The Supreme Court five-judge Constitution bench had on October 15, 2015 extended use of the Aadhaar card on a voluntary basis to avail of other government schemes like the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, employee provident fund and pension schemes. The social welfare schemes, aimed at reaching the door steps of the “poorest of the poor” were in addition to the other two schemes — public distribution system and LPG schemes — allowed earlier by the apex court in its August 11, 2015 interim order.
“We want to make it clear that the Aadhaar card scheme is purely on a voluntary basis and not made mandatory till the matter is finally decided,” the bench said. The bench added that it would refer the issue – as to whether privacy was a fundamental right — to a larger bench of nine or 11 judges.
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