The Supreme Court is likely to pronounce its verdict on the petitions challenging constitutional validity of newly-inserted section in the Income Tax Act that makes linking of Aadhaar number with PAN mandatory.
The bench of Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan had on May 4 reserved the order on the pleas by senior Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Binoy Visman, former Major General of Indian Army S.G. Vombatkere and Convenor of Safai Karamchari Andolan Bezwada Wilson, who had challenged the validity of Section 139AA.
The petitioners had told the court that the provision mandating linking of Aadhaar number with the Permanent Account Number (PAN) would have "extremely far-reaching consequences not only for individuals but small businesses too".
The petitioners had told the court that the government had an agenda to push Aadhaar and pointed to the dichotomy between Aadhaar Act, 2016 that makes possessing Aadhaar optional and the Section 139AA of the Income Tax Act that makes its linking with PAN compulsory.
"A right that is voluntary under Aadhaar Act can't be made a penal provision under the Income Tax Act," petitioner CPI leader Visman had told the court.
The court was told that "slowly, step by step the government is making it compulsory by linking it with various things". "Is it not a contempt of court?"
The top court by its earlier orders had said that the government could insist upon Aadhaar only for distribution of food grains, LPG and other schemes including MNREGA, old-age pension scheme, provident fund and Prime Minister's Jan-Dhan Yojana.