The first thing to be noticed is that the Income Tax Act does not provide for any paramountcy of dues by way of income tax. This is why the Court in Dena Bank’s case (supra) held that Government dues only…
The NTT Act “crosses the boundary” & is unconstitutional. CAs/CSs are specialists on accounts & facts and are not capable of arguing/ deciding ‘Substantial Questions Of Law’
A perusal of the reported judgements shows that while deciding tax related disputes, provisions of different laws on diverse subjects had to be taken into consideration. The Members of the NTT would most definitely be confronted with the legal issues emerging out of Family Law, Hindu Law, Mohammedan Law, Company Law, Law of Partnership, Law related to Territoriality, Law related to Trusts and Societies, Contract Law, Law relating to Transfer of Property, Law relating to Intellectual Property, Interpretation of Statutes, and other Miscellaneous Provisions of Law, from time to time. The NTT besides the aforesaid statutes, will not only have to interpret the provisions of the three statutes, out of which appeals will be heard by it, but will also have to examine a challenge to the vires of statutory amendments made in the said provisions, from time to time. They will also have to determine in some cases, whether the provisions relied upon had a prospective or retrospective applicability. Keeping in mind the fact, that in terms of s. 15 of the NTT Act, the NTT would hear appeals from the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal and the CESTAT only on “substantial questions of law”, it is difficult for us to appreciate the propriety of representation, on behalf of a party to an appeal, through either Chartered Accountants or Company Secretaries, before the NTT. The determination at the hands of the NTT is shorn of factual disputes. It has to decide only “substantial questions of law”. In our understanding, Chartered Accountants and Company Secretaries would at best be specialists in understanding and explaining issues pertaining to accounts. These issues would, fall purely within the realm of facts. We find it difficult to accept the prayer made by the Company Secretaries to allow them, to represent a party to an appeal before the NTT. Even insofar as the Chartered Accountants are concerned, we are constrained to hold that allowing them to appear on behalf of a party before the NTT, would be unacceptable in law. We accordingly reject the claim of Company Secretaries, to represent a party before the NTT. We simultaneously hold s. 13(1), insofar as it allows Chartered Accountants to represent a party to an appeal before the NTT, as unconstitutional and unsustainable in law.
S. 113 Proviso inserted by FA 2002 w.e.f. 01.06.2002 to impose surcharge in search assessments is not clarificatory or retrospective. Suresh Gupta 297 ITR 322 (SC) overruled
There cannot be imposition of any tax without the authority of law. Such a law has to be unambiguous and should prescribe the liability to pay taxes in clear terms. If the concerned provision of the taxing statute is ambiguous and vague and is susceptible to two interpretations, the interpretation which favours the subjects, as against there the revenue, has to be preferred. This very principle is based on the “fairness” doctrine as it lays down that if it is not very clear from the provisions of the Act as to whether the particular tax is to be levied to a particular class of persons or not, the subject should not be fastened with any liability to pay tax