The top court, however, ruled that it is not mandatory to link bank accounts with Aadhaar, the 12-digit personal identification number.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed linking of Aadhaar with PAN or Permanent Account
Number, which is mandatory for filing of income tax return (ITR). The top court, however, ruled that it
is not mandatory to link bank accounts with Aadhaar or Unique Identity Number, a 12-digit personal
identification number issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India. The Supreme Court said
benefits under the Aadhaar project should be in the nature of welfare schemes and it cannot be made
compulsory for services such as bank accounts, mobile connections or school admissions.
Wednesday’s ruling by the top court means that individuals will not be required to mandatorily link
their bank accounts with Aadhaar.
The top court also said that no private company or bank can ask for an individual’s Aadhaar.
The much-awaited verdict on the Aadhaar matter comes after a clutch of petitions challenged the
Constitutional validity of the system on the grounds that it violates privacy. (Also read: Aadhaar is
treated as unique, says Supreme Court)
The Aadhaar verdict was announced by a five-judge constitution bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak
Misra, Justice A.K. Sikri, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice Ashok Bhushan.
The bench had reserved the verdict after hearing the petitions for over 38 days starting January 17
The compulsory linking of the Aadhaar card with bank accounts, PAN card, welfare schemes and a host of
other utilities violates the fundamental right to privacy, a spree of petitions had alleged challenging
The bench also said that private companies cannot access Aadhaar data. Seeking biometric details does
not violate the right to privacy, said Justice Bhushan.
More than 21.08 crore PANs issued by the Income Tax Department have been linked with Aadhaar till
Monday, news agency Press Trust of India cited reported citing official figures. The number of total
issued PANs stands at over 41.02 crore.
Aadhaar is a unique 12-digit identification number issued to individuals by the UIDAI after storing
their biometrics data. The UIDAI uses iris and fingerprint scans to obtain biometric data from an
applicants and stores it in a database.
PAN is a 10-digit alphanumeric number issued to assessees by the Income Tax Department. Quoting of PAN
for filing income tax return is mandatory. The taxman had in June this year ordered an extension in the
due date for linking Aadhaar with PAN to March 31, 2019.