State vs. Abraham Kurian (Supreme Court)

DATE: (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: February 16, 2008 (Date of publication)

(1) Tax administration is a complex subject. It consists of several aspects. The Government needs to strike a balance in the imposition of tax between
collection of revenue on one hand and business-friendly approach on the other hand.

(2) Exemption is a matter of policy. If the Government, acting through the Central Board of Revenue has conferred an administrative exemption, it is not open to the Revenue to challenge the same.

(3) Circulars issued by the Board are binding on the officers though not on the assessees or on the courts. An argument that the circulars are not binding on the revenue is unsustainable in law. If such a contention was to be accepted, it would lead to chaos and indiscipline in the administration of tax laws.

(4) Whenever such binding circulars are issued by the Board granting administrative relief (s) business arranges its affairs relying on such circulars. Therefore, as long as the circular remains in force, it is not open to the subordinate officers to contend that the circular is erroneous and not binding on them.

Note: The judgement in Azadi Bachao Andolan 263 ITR 706 (SC) was followed.

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