The author passionately calls the Tribunal a “Temple of Justice” and the Bench and the Bar its’ “Trustees”. He gives out the clarion call that the onus is on the Bench and the Bar to preserve the dignity, sanctity and purity of this Temple
1. The Tribunal is the final fact finding authority and if it wrongly decides the matter the assessee is virtually left with no remedy. An appeal to High Court can be only on substantial question of law. Litigants before the Tribunal are of two categories, the aggrieved assessee and the Government. But the objective of filing appeal is different for both categories. An assessee rings the bell of justice before the Tribunal, only when the Assessing Officer makes additions which are not in accordance with law or facts. Appeals before the Tribunal involve, time and money, both of which he can ill afford to squander. Before doing so he makes a careful cost benefit analysis and elects to appeal only when the stakes are high and there is reasonable chance of success. Assessee is not an academician and does not derive any pleasure in obtaining a judgment for the sake of publicity or for laying down a legal precedent. The Government through different functionaries, on the other hand, files appeals, in most of the cases mainly out of fear of being questioned by superiors as to why appeal was not filed. Secondly, the Government does not have to pay any appeal fees. Thirdly assuming the appeal is dismissed there is no accountability of the officers to explain as to why such appeal frivolous are being filed. Considering the above scenario, the Members of the Tribunal have a greater responsibility. While hearing the appeals they are not merely adjudicating on the issues before them but they are invariably deciding on the fortune of the assessee. Whereas, one wrong decision against an assessee may ruin his life and relegate him to the position of a pauper, the same against the Government may affect the coffers of the Government only to an extent of a drop in an ocean. Hence, the Tribunal Members have greater responsibility to the citizen.