Link Aadhaar to PAN: Here’s what government and the top court said

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The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the mandatory requirement of linking 16-digit unique identity number (Aadhaar) with PAN in the Income-Tax returns from this year. But in a partial relief to the people, it held that not linking PAN with Aadhaar will not lead to criminal consequences and exempted those without Aadhaar until the larger privacy issue is decided.
The Bench of Justices A.K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan, which had reserved its order after a detailed hearing, asked the government to tighten the procedures to guard against the leakage of personal information collected while enrolling people in Aadhaar as alleged by the petitioners.
The court asked all those having both Aadhaar and PAN to link them while filing income-tax returns, but made it clear that the linkage mandated through an amendment in the Finance Act 2017 won’t be applied retrospectively and previous returns won’t be rendered invalid if filed without Aadhaar details. However, if you have applied for Aadhaar and are yet to get the 16-digit number, you need not mention it while filing your I-T return this year, the apex court ruled.

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