|CORAM:||D. Manmohan VP, R. C. Sharma (AM)|
|DATE:||May 25, 2015 (Date of pronouncement)|
|DATE:||May 27, 2015 (Date of publication)|
|AY:||2007-08 to 2010-11|
|FILE:||Click here to download the file in pdf format|
|ITAT laments non-representation/ inept-representation of matters before it by the Revenue. Suggests guidelines to remedy the state of affairs|
The learned CIT-DR, Smt. Madhu Vani, requested for adjournment in all the cases listed for hearing before ‘D’ Bench on the ground that regular CIT-DR is on leave and several details are required to be submitted for effective representation of the cases. Having regard to the factual matrix of the case we refused to grant adjournment with a direction to the CIT-DR to be ready to present the case on the part of the Department. However, by the time the cases were called upon for hearing the CIT-DR left the court room without informing anybody. She was hardly present in the court for about 30 minutes, i.e. from 10.30 a.m. to 11.00 a.m. only to seek adjournment in all the cases assigned to her on the ground that though she had got the intimation on Friday itself that she has to appear before ‘D’ Bench but due to intervening holidays she could not prepare the cases. This cannot be a valid reason for seeking adjournment. The DR is duty bound to prepare the cases and only in exceptional circumstances could seek adjournment. It is for the Chief Commissioner to engage some experienced Department Representatives who are aware of the court procedures. In the recent past, it is noticed that some of the DRs had never had exposure to the functions of the Tribunal except the formal court observation as part of their training programme, which sometimes result in not supporting the stand of the Revenue effectively and in turn may affect a genuine case of the Revenue for want of proper prosecution. We would take this opportunity to suggest that any official, on being assigned the duty of DR, should be made to sit in the court room for observation at least for 15 days so that their services can be used effectively at a later stage. In the instant case it appears that on a temporary basis Department Representatives are posted; only in the previous week the fact of non-availability of DR could be made known to the CCIT who has to make an alternative arrangement and then it is for the nominated DR, who is a 24 hour government servant, to collect the files from the office and go through the records properly to make an effective representation on Monday morning. Here is the situation where the CIT-DR sought adjournment in all the cases assigned to her on the ground that she was asked to represent the matters on Monday, only by sending intimation on Friday. It is for the Revenue to take appropriate steps in this regard for effective representation of the cases and it is not necessary for us to discuss more on this aspect. The fact is that none appeared on behalf of the Revenue.
It is the high time that revenue hires independent professionals (advocates & CAs’ both) to represent in ITAT. NO IRS officer is ready to do the job in ITAT. They are just compelled. It is like a punishment posting. After all ITAT is a court & involves high stakes & complexities.
As in many other spheres of work in ITD which are not popular with serving officers , the ITD can consider appointing senior retired officers of ITD to represent cases in ITAT . This can be in addition to CAs and advocates. Senior retired officers will be cost effective as leading CAs and Advocates charge fees at high rates and are not happy with delay in settling their bills by ITD as is normal occurrence in cases where prosecution counsel have been engaged.