The government’s move to make Aadhaar mandatory to file taxes faced a fresh challenge after the Supreme Court ruled privacy a fundamental right.
Communist Party of India leader and former Kerala minister Binoy Viswam petitioned the top court to strike down Section 139AA of the Income Tax Act that mandates linking taxpayers’ Permanent Account Number with the unique ID. He called the law unconstitutional, illegal and arbitrary.
A five-judge bench of the apex court had upheld Section 139AA in June. It, however, allowed taxpayers without Aadhaar to file returns. Viswam argued the court then didn’t go into the issue of privacy as it was pending with a nine-judge bench. Now that the court has settled it, the Aadhaar-PAN linkage case “must be reagitated”, the petition said.
Viswam said due to Section 139AA he is “being coerced to obtaining an Aadhaar card in complete violation of his right to privacy as enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution of India”. He cited the recent verdict against instant triple talaq to argue that a law can be struck down on grounds of being arbitrary.
He said the “biometric and demographic information of an individual is sought to be forcefully obtained by the state machinery by virtue of Section 139AA”.