(Image source from: The Financial Express)
The taxpayers have been given time till March next year to link their Permanent Account Number (PAN) cards to Aadhaar, the government announced on Sunday, extending the last date for the fifth time.
Hours before the end of the deadline at midnight, the order was issued by the tax department. It said that Central Board of Direct Taxes "extends the time for linking PAN with Aadhaar till March 31, 2019."
Earlier this year, the government had changed the income tax law to mandate that taxpayers quote their Aadhaar number to file income tax returns and to get a new PAN card. The active PAN card holders were also needed to complete the procedure to link their Aadhaar numbers.
The Supreme Court, which has heard a bunch of petitions filed against the Aadhaar law, had earlier supported the argument to push back the deadlines till the court decides the petitions.
In May, the tribunal had completed the marathon 38-day legal proceeding of the case.
The ruling by five-judge bench hasn't yet delivered on whether making Aadhaar obligatory for benefit schemes and financial transactions such as acquiring a loan or filling taxes violates the constitutional right to privacy.
Since the launch of Aadhar card in 2009, the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been acute to mandate the usage of Aadhaar for everything. Aadhaar is likewise mandatory now for welfare, pension, and employment schemes.
Activists challenging the validity of the Aadhaar law claimed that forcing citizens to link the unique identification number to various services violates their Right to Privacy. Earlier this year, Supreme Court had ruled that privacy was a fundamental right.
They further claimed that large-scale sharing of biometric data like iris scans and fingerprinting also leaves room for misuse, they have contended.
By Sowmya Sangam