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DATE: February 8, 2016 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: February 12, 2016 (Date of publication)
AY: -
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S. 9(1)(vi) vs. Article 12 of DTAA: The retrospective amendment to s. 9(1)(vi) so as to supersede the law laid down in Asia Satellite 332 ITR 340 (Del) and assess transmission fees as “royalty” has no impact on assessees covered by DTAA because a corresponding amendment has not been made to the definition of “royalty” therein. Amendments to domestic law do not affect the DTAA

This Court is of the view that no amendment to the Act, whether retrospective or prospective can be read in a manner so as to extend in operation to the terms of an international treaty. In other words, a clarificatory or declaratory amendment, much less one which may seek to overcome an unwelcome judicial interpretation of law, cannot be allowed to have the same retroactive effect on an international instrument effected between two sovereign states prior to such amendment. In the context of international law, while not every attempt to subvert the obligations under the treaty is a breach, it is nevertheless a failure to give effect to the intended trajectory of the treaty. Employing interpretive amendments in domestic law as a means to imply contoured effects in the enforcement of treaties is one such attempt, which falls just short of a breach, but is nevertheless, in the opinion of this Court, indefensible