Of PAN Card and Aadhaar....

The Supreme Court upheld a law that makes it mandatory for Aadhaar card holders to give their identity numbers while filing income tax returns and applying for permanent account number.
The top court, however, said it has not addressed privacy concerns over the scheme and said it will be decided by a separate constitution bench.

A bench headed by Justice AK Sikri provided some relief for IT assesses who do not have Aadhaar — a 14-digit unique identification number which critics say is vulnerable to misuse. SC said the government shall not take penal action against them and invalidate their PAN card because the applicant is bound to suffer.

However, Aadhaar is mandatory if someone wants a fresh PAN card, the court said. Those who have applied for Aadhaar but are yet to get the number are also required to provide the enrolment details while filing their IT returns.

The court partially stayed the amended IT Act because the Supreme Court is hearing petitions challenging the validity of the law providing Aadhaar on the ground it infringes upon the right to privacy.

The court felt the penal consequences for not adhering to the law was severe and said a citizen not in possession of Aadhaar should not be made to suffer the same until the constitution bench determines the larger issue.

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