Amin Merchant vs. Chairman CBEC (Supreme Court)

DATE: July 22, 2016 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: September 9, 2016 (Date of publication)
AY: -
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The fact that the Finance Minster announced a concession in Parliament does not entitle the assessee to relief if the same is not set out in the Finance Act

(i) The whole thrust of the appellant is that the proposals of the Finance Minister were duly approved by the Parliament. No doubt, the appellant has placed before this Court the proposals of the Finance Minister which discloses the intention of the Government but there is no material placed before us to demonstrate that the budget proposals are duly accepted by the Parliament. It is an admitted fact that pursuant to the proposals, the Finance Act was passed by the Parliament wherein for the goods specified under Tariff Sub-Heading 2208.10, particular tariff was specified. We are unable to agree with the argument advanced by the appellant for the reason that he is unable to make note of the difference between a proposal moved before the Parliament and a statutory provision enacted by the Parliament, because the process of Taxation involves various considerations and criteria.

(ii) Every legislation is done with the object of public good as said by Jeremy Bentham. Taxation is an unilateral decision of the Parliament and it is the exercise of the sovereign power. The financial proposals put forth by the Finance Minister reflects the governmental view for raising revenue to meet the expenditure for the financial year and it is the financial policy of the Central Government. The Finance Minster’s speech only highlights the more important proposals of the budget. Those are not the enactments by the Parliament. The law as enacted is what is contained in the Finance Act. After it is legislated upon by the Parliament and a rate of duty that is prescribed in relation to a particular Tariff Head that constitutes the authoritative expression of the legislative will of Parliament. Now in the present facts of the case, as per the finance bill, the legislative will of the Parliament is that for the commodities falling under Tariff Head 2208.10, the tariff is Rs.300/- per litre or 400% whichever is higher. Even assuming that the amount of tax is excessive, in the matters of taxation laws, the Court permits greater latitude to the discretion of the legislature and it is not amenable to judicial review. In view of the foregoing discussion, we are unable to concur with the submission of the appellant that the budget proposals are duly passed and approved by the Parliament and moreover, if the appellant is aggrieved by the particular tariff prescribed under the Finance Act and the same is contrary to the approved budget proposals, he ought to have questioned the same if permissible.

One comment on “Amin Merchant vs. Chairman CBEC (Supreme Court)
  1. Agreeing with the hon court as also Amin, I have to say, per se Bentham taxation is for the public good only else the taxation is indeed ‘ultra vires’ the constitution very Art 265, just because , ‘procedure prescribed by law (read here not statutes but the provisions of the Constitution only); extending to the statutes is definitely outside the purview of the Constitution of India; Lok sabha or the cabinet proposals for taxation many a time beyond the means of citizens, never in the constitution is prescribed citizens have to pay through their Nose whatever the state needs, except during war, (war is a venture indeed uncontrollable expenses, just to see foreign invaders do not take over the country and put the people in serious trouble; similarly you can expand M3 (monetary expansion during war time as Maynard Keanes expanded by his so called ‘paper currency’ just to meet world war) but you cannot expand money during peace time as you have to expand by reasonable measures like natural growth of the real economy, else, politicians would use the money expansion for their pet projects and the like, like it happened during sub=prime, we all know what happened in 2007-08 on and yet we are yet to recover. Again president Mr.Roosevelt correctly called expansion of ‘paper currency’ as great ‘Non sense ‘ then in 1930. Not that he could not appreciate as if our politicians appreciate, in fact our politicians are no big Kautilyas, but some party workers.

    In fact the concept of judiciary is evolved to ensure all these mad adventures by politicians are properly reigned by judicial reviews too.

    So i partially agree with judicial perception; so too partially with Amin.

    In fact constitution has to be read independently not with the statutes of the parliament in very essential aspects of life pls.

    I say all these with due respects to the judiciary and Lok sabha and cabinets are subject to changes every 5 years once depending upon the ‘dejure’ citizens perceptions.

    so the defacto set up like institutions have to securely protect the peoples rights under very Art 14 itself r/w Art 226 or Art 32 is my considered view sirs.

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