New norms for issuing PAN card that required verification of original documents have been put on hold with the Finance Ministry announcing on Thursday that the existing procedure will continue.

“The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has decided to keep in abeyance the decision to change the procedure for PAN allotment till further orders. Accordingly, the operation of Circular (concerned) issued to PAN service providers has been directed to be put on hold till further orders,” the Finance Ministry said in a statement.

In the meantime, it added, the old procedure of PAN application and allotment “shall continue”. The ministry, however, did not give reasons for keeping the proposed norms on hold.

Currently, a PAN applicant has to just submit photo copies of documents required. The originals are not checked. The new norms were to come into force from February 3.

Under the proposed procedure, copies of proof of identity, address and date of birth attached with PAN application forms were to be checked against original documents when applications were to be submitted at PAN facilitation centres.

The original documents would be returned to applicants immediately after verification.

PAN is a 10-digit alphanumeric number issued in the form of a laminated card by the Income Tax Department to any person or entity applying for it or to whom the department has allotted a number without an application.

Officials in the I-T department said that the cost of obtaining a PAN card, under the proposed norms, after rounding off has been fixed at Rs. 105, including taxes.

The new procedure notified by the Income Tax department for obtaining a PAN card, is expected to eliminate the problem of fake and multiple cards.