The Central Board of Direct Taxes has issued an order under Section 119 of the Income Tax Act, 1961, extending the deadline to link PAN with Aadhaar while filing tax returns, to 30th June 2018. Earlier orders dated 31.07.17, 31.08.17 and 08.12.17 had set the deadline for linking PAN with Aadhaar at 31st March 2018.
The government has also extended the deadline for linking welfare schemes covered under Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act (Government pensions, PDS, etc) with Aadhaar to 30th June 2018.
This comes in the wake of the Supreme Court extending the stay on linking bank accounts and mobile phones with Aadhaar as well as the requirement for Aadhaar for Tatkal passports indefinitely until the hearings on the Constitutional Validity of Aadhaar in the Supreme Court are concluded. The extension had excluded relief for Welfare Schemes, presumably because they were directly covered under Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act.
The government has nothing to gain by invalidating PANs of taxpayers, so the date will likely continue to be extended till most PANs are linked. The documentation of extensive exclusions in welfare schemes, already being questioned in the Supreme Court necessitates that the government take immediate measures to prevent disruption for services covered under Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act as well.
However, this continues the trend of the use of deadlines to pressurize people into making and linking Aadhaar with various services for fear of services being cut off. This results in a scramble at Aadhaar enrollment and updation centres, which are already inadequate for the population. As the deadlines approach, they are extended, with each successive extension presumably resulting in more and more services being linked with Aadhaar, even as the Constitutional Validity of Aadhaar is in dispute in the Supreme Court of India.