Two weeks after a Delhi High Court order, the Central Board of Direct Taxes has allowed assesses to file their income tax returns on the website without providing their Aadhaar details, petitioners in the case said.
The Delhi High Court on July 24 asked the Central Board of Direct Taxes to provide an “opt-out” option on their website for those who did not want to provide details of their Aadhaar, a 12-digit biometric-based unique identification number. Till August 2, the income tax department’s website still required one’s Aadhaar details to file returns.
However, on August 8, Jayshree Satpute, one of the petitioners in the case, was able to file her income tax returns on the website without providing her Aadhaar details. “We hoped that the Central Board of Direct Taxes would comply sooner,” Satpute told Scroll.in. “This felt like a process that made us anxious. Several others in the same situation kept contacting us to ask if the Central Board of Direct Taxes had complied or not. The Central Board of Direct Taxes should have made the changes to the website without us having to file an application in the court.”
Tripti Poddar, the lawyer for the petitioners in the case, said they were happy that the Central Board of Direct Taxes has provided an “opt-out” option. “However, through the process of this case, we realised that there are scores of Indians in the same position as my clients, who also felt anxious about waiting till the last minute to file their returns. It shouldn’t have taken them so long to comply with the court’s order,” she said.
On July 20, activist Shreya Sen and human rights lawyer Satpute had moved the court asking for a process to allow them to file their income tax returns without having to provide their Aadhaar details. The deadline for filing income tax returns was initially set for July 31 and later extended to August 31.