The author has raised the alarm that appointing the President and Members for the ITAT is not sufficient. He reminds the Government that it also needs to urgently appoint several Vice Presidents to fill the impending vacancies. If the Government drags its feet in the matter, the cause of justice will suffer, he warns
All tax professionals highly appreciate the appointment of 45 new members to the ITAT. As on date, there are more than 1 lakh appeals pending before the ITAT. Filling up of these vacancies will help certainly the case of ‘satvarnyay’ before the ITAT. One would appreciate that the ITAT has a sanctioned strength of 63 Benches at 27 different locations in our country. To ensure better administration, it is divided into nine zones and each zone is headed by a Vice–President and as per administrative orders, the ITAT should have one Senior Vice-President and 9 Vice-Presidents. However, the Government has not appointed any Vice-President since 2009 and Senior Vice-President since 2010. As a result, now, the ITAT has only four Vice-Presidents and out of them one is due to retire in coming October, 2015. Thus, this scenario is quite disturbing for the administration of justice, requiring very prompt action by the Hon’ble Law Minister.
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The author, an eminent senior advocate, is deeply anguished that the ITAT, which was at one time hailed as a “Model Tribunal”, is today facing the ignominy of being subjected to repeated strictures from the High Courts. The author has analyzed the reasons for this sorry state of affairs and offered valuable recommendations on what can be done to rectify the situation. He has also sent the clarion call to all stakeholders to rise to the occasion and work tirelessly towards restoring the glory and prestige of this august institution
The Income-tax Appellate Tribunal which is considered as mother Tribunal of all Tribunals which was established on 25th January, 1941 will be celebrating its 75th year on 26th January 2016. An honest attempt should be made by the Bar and the Bench to retain its glory as one of the finest Institution of Our Country.
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The author, an eminent senior Advocate, points out that while the goal of the Hon’ble Prime Minister to bring ‘Acche Din’ for the common man is laudatory, the same will not be fulfilled unless drastic reforms are incorporated in the Income-tax laws to bring about accountability for income-tax officials and to prevent the on-going rampant corruption. He also points that the long delay in getting justice from the Courts compels the taxpayers to grease the palms of the officials. He has also listed out a few core issues which according to him require immediate attention of the Hon’ble Prime Minister
Professionals and honest tax payers are having great expectations that this year’s Budget will be a vision document of the Honourable Finance Minister to have a simplified tax structure and better tax administration. The Federation has short listed some of the issues for the kind consideration of the Honourable Finance Minister which can be deliberated upon:
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The author, an eminent Senior Advocate and champion of judicial independence points out that what was in the realm of a dream till now, namely, the constitution of regional Supreme Court Benches, may soon become reality. The Hon’ble Chief Justice of India, Mr. H.L. Dattu, has clearly indicated that he is in favour of such regional Benches. The Hon’ble Prime Minister’s Vision of “Digital India” may help lawyers at remote places to argue matters before Supreme Court Judges sitting in Delhi or before the regional Benches.
The Free Press Journal on 13-10-2014 carried a news item that the Honourable Chief Justice of India Mr. H. L. Dattu is in favour of setting up regional Benches of the Supreme Court. The Law Commission of India in its 229threport dated 5th day of August, 2009, after a detailed study strongly recommended having four regional Benches of the Supreme Court. One of the reasons stated by the report is quoted below:
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The author, an eminent Sr. Advocate and a champion of judicial integrity and independence, expresses grave apprehension that the National Judicial Appointments Commission Bill, 2014, which seeks to replace the present Collegium system of appointment of Judges by a Committee, comprised partly of politicians, will severely hamper the independence of the Judiciary. He reminds us that the Government is the biggest litigant in the Country and warns that Judges may feel apprehensive of taking bold decisions against the Government in the fear that their chances of promotion to the higher Court would be jeopardized. The author also argues that the present Collegium system is working well and the few defects in it can be rectified. He offers practical suggestions on how this can be done.
One of the objects of the All India Federation of Tax Practitioners (the Federation) is “To strive and work for independence of Honourable Courts–“. The Tax Bar has always played a paramount role in warding off threats to the independence of the Judiciary. It was due to the labours of the Tax Bar that the independence of the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) could be preserved [Ajay Gandhi v. B.Singh (2004) 265 ITR 451(SC), ITAT v.V.K.Agarwal (1999) 235 ITR 175 (SC)].
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The author, an eminent senior advocate, is a long-time crusader for reforms in the field of taxation. He believes that the change in regime is an opportune time to address the evils plaguing the tax administration. He has addressed an open letter to the Hon’ble Prime Minister in which he has systematically set out all the core issues that require to be addressed. He has also prepared a detailed discussion paper which sets out the solution to several issues. He urges all stake-holders to vigorously support the process of reforms and to make their voice heard
Shri. Narendra Modi, Hon’ble Prime Minister of India,
We, the All India Federation of Tax Practitioners an Apex Body of tax practitioners of India, heartily congratulate you on being elected as the Prime Minister of India. Indeed it was a great revolution through democratic process.
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The author, an eminent senior advocate, expresses gratitude at the proactive role played by Courts in seeking to redress the inefficiencies of the department. However, while the strictures do shake the department out of its’ reverie for some time, the effect does not last long. The author suggests that a monitoring mechanism should be set up and the top brass of the department hauled up for non-compliance of the directives. The author has also identified the problem areas and suggested simple and cost-effective solutions to prevent the department from being on the wrong side of the law
As on 15-2-2014, the pendency of appeals and references before the Bombay High Court was more than 9,700, which includes 1,850 old references, 4,700 appeals admitted and pending for final hearing and 3,150 pending for admission. The Income-tax Appellate Tribunal Bar Association has made a representation to the Hon’ble Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court to constitute at least two tax Benches. We wish to express our gratitude to the Hon’ble Chief Justice for being kind enough to accept the request and constituted three tax Benches.
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The author bemoans the myopic attitude of the Government that even though hundreds of crores of revenue is locked up in litigation pending before the Tribunal, a few crores is not being spared for the day-to-day effective functioning of the Tribunal. Even strictures by the High Court in similar matters is not having any effect on the Government’s attitude rues the author. He pleads again with the powers that be to wake up and smell the coffee before it is too late to save the Tribunal
The Income tax–Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) which was established in the year 1941 is considered as mother Tribunal of all other tribunals. Regrettably, it has been ignored by the Government due to the frequent change at the helm of the Law Ministry in the last four years. Hence, the Ministry could not devote the deserved time on issues pertaining to the better administration of the ITAT. The ITAT, which is the final fact finding authority, requires urgent attention and support of the Government for its continued excellence in administering justice. I have made an attempt to highlight some of the important issues which require immediate attention.
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Amidst the grim news that some lawyers are indulging in “cut throat competition” and fee “under-cutting“, one renowned firm of international tax laws experts has sent the stern reminder that this is not professional behavior and gone the other way by indulging in “happiness billing”
Lawyers are alleged to be indulging in “cut-throat competition” and “under-cutting” of fees. However, one legal firm has bucked the trend by indulging in “happiness billing”
Lawyers and Chartered Accountants are a part of the noble profession where you render services without an eye on the fees. Also, the fees that you charge are based objectively on your level of skill and standing in the profession and are uninfluenced by the economics of demand and supply.
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The Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, like any judicial body, has a number of procedural requirements that require to be complied with before an appeal can be heard. Unfortunately, several authorized representatives, though highly qualified CAs and Advocates, neglect to comply with the requirements with the result that their matters get adjourned and they waste their own time and that of the Bench and their clients incur unnecessary costs. To assist the Tribunal and the taxpayers in the cause of justice, the author, an eminent advocate, has prepared a comprehensive check-list of matters that need to be complied with. The author assures all taxpayers that if the check-list is religiously followed, they will have a smooth and pleasant experience before the Tribunal
The Income–tax Appellate Tribunal-Final fact finding authority—Members of the Bar and Bench are trustees-The onus is on them to preserve its dignity, sanctity and purity.
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