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DATE: March 5, 2018 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: March 13, 2018 (Date of publication)
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Certain Advocates have forgotten the code of eithcs. They facilitate the unethical misadventures of their clients, encouraging their clients' dishonest practices, causing grave stress to the Judiciary, and bringing the entire judicial system to disrepute. It has become a vicious and despicable cycle wherein dishonest litigants with malafide intentions seek out unethical Advocates, who for hefty fee and the lure of attracting similar new and unscrupulous clients, choose to disregard all ethics and the code of conduct enjoined upon this august profession

This malicious and mala-fide Notice of Motion sets out/alleges totally baseless and contemptible allegations against this Court, which are completely unacceptable and are a mere shenanigan to circumvent the action of contempt of Court. This reprehensible attempt at intimidating and manipulating this Court into not taking any action under the Law of Contempt calls for censure in the strongest terms. In an attempt to cover up the mala-fide intent, which is crystal clear and amply evident, the litigant Shri Vilas Chandrakant Gaokar dishonestly/falsely reiterates in the Application that he holds the Court in the highest esteem and respects its integrity. It will not be out of place to mention here that in an earlier matter before me, in which Mr. Mathew Nedumpurra appeared for one of the parties, he, after repeatedly reiterating that he holds the Court in the highest esteem and respects its integrity, had proceeded to pray that I recuse myself from all the matters in which he appears

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DATE: February 27, 2018 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: March 6, 2018 (Date of publication)
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No more adjournments. No more ‘tareek pe tareek’. Enough is enough. That a Court will endlessly grant adjournments is not something that parties or advocates can take for granted. Nor should they assume that there will be no consequences to continued defaults and unexplained delay

The time has gone when a Court could, would or should pick up some utterly random figure like Rs.5,000 or Rs.25,000, a number wholly without tether to the actual days of delay. Fixing ad hoc figures like this is counter-productive. Parties believe that even if the delay is inordinate, the costs of that delay will be negligible; and hence they continue to extend the delay. The costs must be real. They must be sufficient to convey the message that non-compliance with our orders brings consequences; that these consequences are inevitable and unavoidable; and the consequences are not some piffling trifle

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DATE: January 25, 2018 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: February 17, 2018 (Date of publication)
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Service-tax on maintenance of property: Under the MOFA, the builder/ developer is under a statutory obligation to look after the day-to-day upkeep, maintenance and repair of the property till conveyance to the co-op society. Such maintenance of the structure is not rendering a taxable service as per s. 65 (64) of the Finance Act, 1994

The promoter has to maintain, safeguard and protect the property and look after the day-to-day wear and tear. Therefore, when he maintains the structure or repairs it, he is not rendering a taxable service in the sense envisaged by the Financial Act, 1994. If one loses complete focus or sight of the backdrop in which the so called service is rendered, then, the conclusion as erroneous and suggested by the Revenue will be reached. The deposit or the monies themselves are held and appropriated towards payment of taxes, etc., popularly known as outgoings. The building and the Flats therein has to stand intact till all the Flats or units are sold and the statutory obligations are fully discharged. This is not a service of the nature understood by Section 65 (64) of the Finance Act, 1994. It is not a contractor simplicitor of maintenance of immovable property. It is not as if there is a existing building comprising of Flats, fully occupied, the maintenance and upkeep of which is handed over under a contract. It is a statutory obligation superimposed on a contract to sell a Flat/unit in a building to be constructed on a piece or parcel of land. That cannot be confused with a taxable service as defined under the Finance Act, 1994. The day-to=day upkeep, maintenance and repair is till the statutory duty is fully performed as noted above.

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DATE: February 6, 2018 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: February 16, 2018 (Date of publication)
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GST Network: The regime is not tax friendly. GST was highly publicised and termed as popular but there has been great hue and cry because assessees are unable to obtain access to the GST website. Those in charge of implementation and administration must wake up and put in place the requisite mechanism to preserve the image, prestige and reputation of this country, particularly when we are inviting and welcoming foreign investment in the State and the country

We do not think that these are satisfactory state of affairs. A tax like Goods and Services Tax was highly publicised and termed as popular. We had yet not seen a celebration of New Tax regime, but that has followed with great hue and cry. These celebrations mean nothing. The special sessions of Parliament or special or extraordinary meetings of Council would mean nothing to the assessees unless they obtain easy access to the website and portals. The regime is not tax friendly. We hope and trust that those in charge of implementation and administration of this law will at least now wake up and put in place the requisite mechanism. This is necessary to preserve the image, prestige and reputation of this country, particularly when we are inviting and welcoming foreign investment in the State and the country. We hope and trust that such petitions are rarity and the Court will not be called upon to administer the implementation of the law, leave alone monitoring and supervising the working of the individual officials, howsoever high ranking he may be

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DATE: February 9, 2018 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: February 10, 2018 (Date of publication)
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Appointment of Tribunal Members under new rules: interim directions issued regarding the method for selection of Tribunal Members and their terms and period of appointment

All appointments to be made in pursuance to the selection made by the interim Search-cum-Selection Committee shall abide by the conditions of service as per the old Acts and the Rules. A further direction to the effect that all the selections made by the aforementioned interim selection committee and the consequential appointment of all the selectees as Chairman/Judicial/Administrative members shall be for a period as has been provided in the old Acts and the Rules

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DATE: September 29, 2017 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: December 30, 2017 (Date of publication)
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Sales-tax/VAT Tribunal: (i) Only legally qualified, judicially trained and experienced persons can be appointed Members. A Chartered Accountant or Commissioner cannot be appointed unless they have expertise in the subject. (ii) The Selection Committee should be headed by either a sitting Judge or a retired Judge of the High Court. (iii) It is the constitutional obligation of the State to provide proper infrastructure to the Courts, Tribunals and Judicial Officers. Financial constraint on the part of the Government is no ground to deny the adequate infrastructure to the Courts and Tribunal. (iv) For complete transparency, the Tribunal will have to ensure that its records are digitized and all orders, short or long, are uploaded on a dedicated website

For bringing about a complete transparency, the Tribunal will have to ensure that its record is digitized and all orders, short or long, are uploaded on a dedicated website. It will be ideal if the President of Tribunal looks into the eCourt Project Phase I and II initiated by the eCommittee of the Apex Court which is being implemented in all civil and criminal Courts in the State. Needless to add that the State Government will provide necessary infrastructure to ensure that the record of the Tribunal is digitized and the aforesaid projects are implemented in substance. We make it clear that it will be open for the learned President of the Tribunal to seek assistance of the High Court team headed by the Central Project Coordinator for implementation of the project of digitization. Till the larger project is implemented, the President will have to ensure that all orders passed by the Tribunal, small or big, are uploaded on the website

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DATE: September 13, 2017 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: October 4, 2017 (Date of publication)
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A Chartered Accountant who is accused of offering a bribe to an Income-tax Officer for performing an official act can be tried under sections 7 and 13 (1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act and s. 120-B of the IPC. The fact that the CA is not a “public servant” is irrelevant

The third fold of argument that the accused No.2 is not a public servant and is beyond the contemplation of the statute. The words occurring at Section 8 of the Act “Whoever accepts or obtains, or agrees to accept, or attempts to obtain, from any person, for himself or for any other person, any gratification…………” covers the persons other than the public servants contemplated by definition clause (c) of section 2 of the Act and that does not require much elaboration. Regarding the contention that section 7 of the P.C.Act cannot be invoked against accused No.1 is not within the competency of the petitioner to urge before this court. Even otherwise the charge sheet material contains voice recording of the accused Nos.1 and 2 and the complainant and also there is material that this petitioner made demand for bribe on behalf of the 1st accused

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DATE: September 20, 2017 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: September 22, 2017 (Date of publication)
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GST: As the system is not working and is required to be corrected, taxpayers who are unable to log-in should inform the concerned officials. No coercive action (penal interest, late fees and prosecution) shall be levied against the clients of the Petitioners' members referred in the petition and those who inform by email. The composition Scheme is extended upto 30.9.2017 and desirous assessee can apply

Looking to the averments which are made in the petition and the reply which has been filed, it appears that the system is not working upto the level and the same is required to be corrected & updated to meet requirements. In the meantime, no coercive action (penal interest, late fees and prosecution) against any of the client of the petitioners members who are referred in the petition and are informing by email, will be protected

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DATE: September 6, 2017 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: September 9, 2017 (Date of publication)
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HUF Law: It is a settled principle of Hindu law that there lies a legal presumption that every Hindu family is joint in food, worship and estate and in the absence of any proof of division, such legal presumption continues to operate in the family. The burden lies upon the member who after admitting the existence of jointness in the family properties asserts his claim that some properties out of entire lot of ancestral properties are his self-acquired property

It is a settled principle of Hindu law that there lies a legal presumption that every Hindu family is joint in food, worship and estate and in the absence of any proof of division, such legal presumption continues to operate in the family. The burden, therefore, lies upon the member who after admitting the existence of jointness in the family properties asserts his claim that some properties out of entire lot of ancestral properties are his self-acquired property. (See-Mulla – Hindu Law, 22nd Edition Article 23 “Presumption as to co-parcenary and self acquired property”- pages 346 and 347)

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DATE: August 14, 2017 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: August 26, 2017 (Date of publication)
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CCTV cameras are culture of the day and promotes good governance. All Tribunals including the ITAT should have CCTVs with audio recording. The footage of the CCTV Camera will not be available under the RTI and will not be supplied to anyone without permission of the concerned High Court

We asked learned Additional Solicitor General as to why the Union of India has not so far installed CCTV cameras in Tribunals where open hearing takes place like Court such as ITAT, CESTAT etc. as the tribunals stand on the same footing as far as object of CCTV camera are concerned. He is unable to dispute the utility and requirement of doing so and we see no reason why this should not be done. Recordings will help the constitutional authorities and the High Courts exercising jurisdiction under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution over such Tribunals. We, therefore, direct that this aspect may now be taken up by learned Additional Solicitor General with the concerned authorities so that an appropriate direction is issued by the concerned authority for installation of CCTV cameras in Tribunals in same manner as in Courts and an affidavit filed in this Court