Why The FM’s & CBDT’s Promise Not To Reopen Retro Cases Is Still Illegal
Tarun Jain, Advocate, Supreme Court
The question whether the promise made by the FM & the CBDT in Circular dated 29.05.2012 not to reopen completed assessments despite the retrospective amendments is legal or not has created a major controversy. The author, in the light of the criticism of his earlier view, has objectively reconsidered the entire law on the subject and made out a compelling case why his earlier view that the promises are unlawful & unenforceable is correct
At this forum I had the privilege of getting my article published a few days back. In that article I had put forth my view on the purported illegality of the promise made by the Finance Minister and the CBDT Instruction dated 29.05.2012 directing its officers that no reopening should ensue on the basis of the retrospective amendments in the Finance Act, 2012. A number of comments on that article and also a detailed article of Sh. K.C. Singhal (Former Vice President, ITAT) have shed considerable light over the various dimensions covered in my article to opine to the contrary. The learned Former Vice President has in fact gone on to state that the said Instruction is well within the powers of the CBDT. I have examined the views in considerable detail and made further research to analyse the correctness of the proposition. In the end I am unable to persuade myself to the counter-view and would like to reflect my viewpoint in the form of this rejoinder. The intent is not to carry any ill-will but to pose other factors for an erudite debate on the correct legal position.