The Supreme Court on Monday said that it was essential to link Aadhaar with the PAN card to file income tax returns. The court was hearing the government’s plea against a Delhi High Court order allowing the respondent, Shreya Sen, to file income tax returns for 2018-’19 without linking her Aadhaar and PAN numbers.

In its judgement, the court said that the High Court’s verdict was based on the consideration that the decision on making Aadhaar-PAN linkage compulsory for filing returns was pending in the Supreme Court. “Thereafter, this court has decided the matter and upheld Section 139AA of the Income Tax Act,” the bench said. “In view thereof, linkage of PAN with Aadhaar is necessary.”

The court said that the respondent had filed her income tax returns for 2018-’19 based on the orders of the High Court, but will have to link her Aadhaar and PAN card to file them for the 2019-’20 financial year.

In September, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar scheme. In a 4-1 judgement, a Constitutional bench of the court said that the Aadhaar Act did not violate the right to privacy. It also upheld the passage of the Aadhaar Bill as a money bill in the Lok Sabha.

Aadhaar optional for first installment under PM-Kisan scheme

Meanwhile, the Centre on Monday made Aadhaar optional for small and marginal farmers who want to avail the first installment worth Rs 2,000 under the Rs 75,000 crore Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme, PTI reported. However, these farmers will have to present their Aadhaar number to avail of the second installment.

“For transfer of first installment of benefit for the period December 2018 to March 2019, Aadhaar number shall be collected wherever available,” the Union Ministry of Agriculture said in a letter to state governments, PTI reported. “However for transfer of subsequent installments, Aadhaar number shall have to be compulsorily captured.”

The Centre asked state governments to prepare a database of small and marginal farmer families, with details such as name, gender, caste, Aadhaar number, bank account number and phone number. The cut-off date to determine land ownership under the scheme was February 1.