Search Results For: Article 3

CATCH WORDS: , , , ,
DATE: November 15, 2019 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: November 30, 2019 (Date of publication)
AY: 2018-19
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Static vs. Ambulatory interpretation of DTAAs: Entire law on whether the retrospective amendments to the definition of "royalty" in s. 9(1)(vi) of the Act can have bearing on the interpretation of the same term in the DTAAs explained with reference to the doctrine of "treaty override" and the Vienna Convention (Siemens AG 310 ITR 320 (Bom) explained)

That is a classic case of a subtle unilateral treaty override. While, in India, the expression ‘treaty override’ is often loosely used for the situations where the provisions of tax treaty prevails over any inconsistent provisions of domestic law, this approach seems to be at variance with the international practices wherein connotations of ‘treaty override’ refer to a situation in which domestic legislation of a treaty partner jurisdiction overrules the provisions of a single treaty or all treaties hitherto having had effect in that jurisdiction. That will be the end result of a domestic law amendment of an undefined treaty term, in departure from the current position, and import such amended meaning of that term, under article 3(2), in the treaty situations as well. Such an approach, on the first principles, is unsound inasmuch as it is well settled in law that the treaty partners ought to observe their treaties, including their tax treaties, in good faith. Article 26 of Vienna Convention on Law of Treaties provides that, “Pacta sunt servanda: Every treaty in force is binding on the parties to it and must be performed by them in good faith”. What it implies is that whatever be the provisions of the treaties, these provisions are to be given effect in good faith. Therefore, no matter how desirable or expedient it may be from the perspective of the tax administration, when a tax jurisdiction is allowed to amend the settled position with respect to a treaty provision, by an amendment in the domestic law and admittedly to nullify the judicial rulings, it cannot be treated as performance of treaties in good faith. That is, in effect, a unilateral treaty over-ride which is contrary to the scheme of Article 26 of Vienna Convention on Law of Treaties