The author says that modern day battles are fought in the court room and that lawyers and CAs are the new warriors. He lauds the efforts of the National Tax Moot Court Competition which hones the skills of budding professionals but says that the time has come to debate whether the desired objects are being achieved or there is some other way to benefit young professionals
16th January, 2004 was a memorable day in the history of the Federation. On this auspicious day the then Prime Minister of India, Hon’ble Atal Bihari Vajpayee, released a commemorative postage stamp in Mumbai which was dedicated to Shri N. A. Palkhivala. In his speech, Prime Minister stated as under
“In those days, the battle for democracy was fought by many people in many different ways. Many of us in politics under the leadership of Jayaprakash Narayanan fought it in prisons. But I have no doubt that one of the finest battles was fought in the court room and that fighter was Nani Palkhivala”.
We have tried to improve the quality of the competition year after year. We have been informed by the students that this is one of the prestigious moot court competition of our country, wherein the students representing all the leading law colleges desire to participate and this competition has generated the interest amongst the law students to study the tax law
This great contribution of Shri Palkhivala for preserving the basic structure of the Constitution of India will be remembered for ever. We, as citizens of our country are always indebted to Shri Palkhivala. This inspired us to hold the Palkhivala Memorial National Tax Moot Court Competition through which we can spread awareness among law students about contribution of Shri Palkhivala to the development of our country. When we started the Moot Court Competition in the year 2004, I as the president of All India Federation of Tax Practitioners and Shri Y. P Trivedi as president of ITAT Bar Association assured them, then Principal of Government Law College Mrs. Parimal Rao and Prof. Kadam, that we will organize Palkhivala Memorial National Tax Moot Court Competition at least for Five years. In my first message I had stated that “By organizing the National Tax Moot Court, we intended to achieve twin objects; firstly we will be remembering one of the greatest lawyer of our country for his contribution to the development of law and preserving the sanctity of our Constitution and Secondly, we are bringing awareness amongst the law students about the values and ethics practiced by Shri N. A. Palkhivala which will help to develop the Tax Bar of International Standards”.
Thereafter, successive President of Federation Shri V. Ramachandran from Chennai, Shri Bharatji Agrawal from Allahabad and Shri M. L. Patodi from Kota and Similarly, President of ITAT, Shri S. E. Dastur and Shri Dinesh Vyas, and the committee members of both the organizations have whole heartedly supported the Palkhivala Memorial Tax Moot Court Competition. While inaugurating the 5th Nani Palkhivala Tax Moot Court Competition Hon’ble Mr. Justice F. I. Rebello, Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court, (Then as Judge of Hon’ble Bombay High Court) desired that we should continue this educational programme year after year. I am pleased to state that with the co-operation of our professional colleagues, Hon’ble Members of ITAT and the Judges this year we have hosted on 7th to 9th October, 2010, the 7th successive years of National Tax Moot Court Competition, wherein 26 law colleges from different parts of the country participated in the competition. We have tried to improve the quality of the competition year after year. We have been informed by the students that this is one of the prestigious moot court competition of our country, wherein the students representing all the leading law colleges desire to participate and this competition has generated the interest amongst the law students to study the tax law.
This is the only Moot Court of our country which is been judged by the tax professionals, Members of the ITAT, judges of High Court and Apex Court, and the competition is held in Court Rooms of the ITAT. In the last seven years the law students had the opportunity of listening to the judges of Apex Court, Chief Justices of High Courts, Judges of High Courts, and Members of the Tribunal and views of leading professionals
To encourage law students to develop the skill of writing and research in the year 2005 we have started “Palkhivala Memorial Research Paper”, students from different parts of the country are taking interest in the competition. This year we have sent invitation to 121 law colleges to take part in the competition. The Best research and second best research articles are published in the journal of AIFTP, itatonline.org as well as in the international tax magazines. This year’s research paper is on the subject of “Cross border Business Reorganization – The Indian Perspective”.
To the Best of our information it is the ITAT Bar Association and All India Federation of Tax Practitioners are the only professional organizations of our country which have made an sincere attempt to develop the future tax bar by organizing the National Tax Moot Court Competition and also encouraging the law students to write research paper on direct taxes. This is the only Moot Court of our country which is been judged by the tax professionals, Members of the ITAT, judges of High Court and Apex Court, and the competition is held in Court Rooms of the ITAT. In the last seven years the law students had the opportunity of listening to the judges of Apex Court, Chief Justices of High Courts, Judges of High Courts, and Members of the Tribunal and views of leading professionals. Best team, best speaker and second best team had also the opportunity of getting internship with leading Sr. Advocates and leading law firms. Annual expenditure for this educational programme is about 10 lacs. This educational programme is the team work of ITAT Bar Association and All India Federation of Tax Practitioners. It is the time to debate whether we are achieving the desired objects or can we have any other educational programme dedicated to the Fond memories of Shri Nani A. Palkhivala for the benefit of law students wherein large session of law students can take part.
We are also considering the proposal of organizing a “Mock Tribunal” for the benefit of young tax professionals and also research paper for the tax professionals.
Your valuable suggestion and co-operation may help the organizers to decide the future course of action.
Dr. K. Shivaram
Reproduced with permission from the AIFTP Journal, October 2010