Supreme Upholding the validity of section 139AA has held in Binoy Viswam held that the purpose behind the Act namely the Income Tax Act, 1961 is entirely different and the purpose being to curb black money, money laundering and tax evasion, etc. It has been further held that for achieving such objects, if the Parliament chooses to make the provision mandatory under the Act, the competence of the Parliament cannot be questioned on the ground that it is impermissible only because under the Aadhaar Act, the provision is directory in nature. The Hon’ble Supreme Court also held that it is the prerogative of the Parliament to make a particular provision directory in one Statute and mandatory/compulsory in the other and that by itself cannot be a ground to question the competence of the Legislature.
While considering the aforesaid submission of the petitioners, one has to keep in mind the aforesaid purpose of the impugned provision and what it seeks to achieve. The provision is aimed at seeding Aadhaar with PAN. We have already held, while considering the submission based on Article 14 of the Constitution, that the provision is based on reasonable classification and that has nexus with the objective sought to be achieved. One of the main objectives is to de-duplicate PAN cards and to bring a situation where one person is not having more than one PAN card or a person is not able to get PAN cards in assumed/fictitious names. In such a scenario, if those persons who violate Section 139AA of the Act without any consequence, the provision shall be rendered toothless. It is the prerogative of the Legislature to make penal provisions for violation of any law made by it. In the instant case, requirement of giving Aadhaar enrolment number to the designated authority or stating this number in the income tax returns is directly connected with the issue of duplicate/fake PANs.
“124. Therefore, it cannot be denied that there has to be some provision stating the consequences for not complying with the requirements of Section 139AA of the Act, more particularly when these requirements are found as not violative of Articles 14 and 19 (of course, eschewing the discussion on Article 21 herein for the reasons already given). If Aadhar number is not given, the aforesaid exercise may not be possible.
Having said so, it becomes clear from the aforesaid discussion that those who are not PAN holders, while applying for PAN, they are required to give Aadhaar number. This is the stipulation of sub-section (1) of Section 139AA, which we have already upheld. At the same time, as far as existing PAN holders are concerned, since the impugned provisions are yet to be considered on the touchstone of Article 21 of the Constitution, including on the debate around Right to Privacy and human dignity, etc. as limbs of Article 21, we are of the opinion that till the aforesaid aspect of Article 21 is decided by the Constitution Bench a partial stay of the aforesaid proviso is necessary. Those who have already enrolled themselves under Aadhaar scheme would comply with the requirement of sub-section (2) of Section 139AA of the Act. Those who still want to enrol are free to do so. However, those assessees who are not Aadhaar card holders and do not comply with the provision of Section 139(2), their PAN cards be not treated as invalid for the time being. It is only to facilitate other transactions which are mentioned in Rule 114B of the Rules. We are adopting this course of action for more than one reason. We are saying so because of very severe consequences that entail in not adhering to the requirement of sub-section (2) of Section 139AA of the Act. A person who is holder of PAN and if his PAN is invalidated, he is bound to suffer immensely in his day to day dealings, which situation should be avoided till the Constitution Bench authoritatively determines the argument of Article 21 of the Constitution. Since we are adopting this course of action, in the interregnum, it would be permissible for the Parliament to consider as to whether there is a need to tone down the effect of the said proviso by limiting the consequences.”