|COURT:||Bombay High Court|
|CORAM:||G. S. Kulkarni J, M. S. Sanklecha J|
|COUNSEL:||F. V. Irani|
|DATE:||January 19, 2015 (Date of pronouncement)|
|DATE:||October 12, 2015 (Date of publication)|
|FILE:||Click here to download the file in pdf format|
|For filing frivolous appeals and harassing taxpayers, heavy/exemplary costs to be imposed which will have to be personally paid by the jurisdictional CIT who sanctioned filing of the appeal|
(i) It needs to be pointed out that we have noticed that the Revenue has been preferring appeals from the orders of the Tribunal even where the issue stands concluded by the orders of this High Court. These appeals are filed by the Revenue in a very causal manner without indicating the basis of the challenge i.e. some distinction in facts from the order of the High Court or that the order of the jurisdictional High Court is a subject matter of challenge before the Apex Court. In the absence of the above explanation, it follows that there are times when even though the decision of the jurisdictional High Court has been accepted by the Revenue and yet the Revenue chooses to file an appeal on the same issue before this Court. Rule of law implies certainty of law and the State filing appeals on settled issues arbitrarily and/or without any application of mind. This filing of appeal without due application of mind leads to attempting to unsettle settled position without reasons. This casual manner of filing appeals subjects an assessee to unnecessary expenditure and at times anxiety. Even the Revenue incurs substantial expenses in pursuing unwarranted cases, which are a sheer waste of public money. The least that the Revenue should do is to examine whether or not the decision of the jurisdictional High Court being relied upon by the Tribunal, is subject matter of challenge before the Apex Court or is otherwise distinguishable and the same must be indicated in the appeal memo.
(ii) In the above view, we were contemplating to impose costs on the Revenue. However, we noticed that on earlier occasion when costs were imposed on the Revenue, it seemed to matter little to the Officers, for after all the amount came out of the general pool of tax paid by the tax payers. In the circumstances, we are now putting the Officers of the Revenue to notice, that in all cases including where appeals are filed, the Offices instructing the Counsel would review whether the appeal should at all be pressed in view of the Revenue having accepted the jurisdictional High Court’s order on an identical issue and take necessary instructions from the Commissioner of Income Tax to withdraw and/or not press the appeal. Alternatively, in case a conscious decision is taken to press the appeal, then an averment to the effect that either the case is distinguishable or an appeal has been preferred from the decision of this Court to the Apex Court if not averred in the appeal memo, then a further affidavit in support be filed indicating the reasons. In the absence of the above, we will be compelled to impose heavy/exemplary costs to be personally personally paid by the jurisdictional – Commissioner of Income Tax under whose jurisdiction, the appeal is being filed and pressed in spite of the issue being settled by this Court and the same having been accepted by the Revenue.