ITAT – “Relive Your School Life”


CA Prarthana Jalan has lightheartedly equated the Tribunal with a school. She says that the grim atmosphere of the Tribunal and the strict discipline in its functioning reminds her of the school days and revives nostalgic memories of a carefree life that has long gone past

School life is one of the most cherished stage of a person’s life. No matter how old we grow up, how much we accomplish in life but we all miss our school days. If given a chance, we all will happily give back our present status, success and all that we have accomplished just to re-live our school days again. A life which we all dream and crave for.

“The Hon’ble ITAT”- Income Tax Appellate Tribunal which is indeed a temple of law/school of knowledge for all the Income Tax Practitioners, thus gives a person a chance to relive his/her school life again.

May be other Practitioners would differ with me but every time I go to Hon’ble ITAT, I feel the pleasure of reliving my school days.

Early in the morning all the Income Tax Practitioners like students, in a proper stipulated uniforms (dress code) assemble for this school with their bag containing laptops/ipads/files/case laws/paperbooks/ Acts/highlighters/markers/stick ons etc.

Before the school bell rings at 10:30 a.m, all the students gel up and talk about different issues relating to case laws, professional matters, personal matters etc. One can see anxiety, nervousness, confidence, curiosity, calmness on the faces of different students. While some come well prepared for attending the school and its proceedings and whereas some are busy in completing their assignments like numbering the paper book/case law book, highlighting important facts and case laws, getting some last moment photocopies etc. One can also see some students doing the last moment revision by going through the case files/synopsis /study material once again, it is similar to the scenes we use to witness in the examination hall, when some students till the last moment used to revise the notes.

“Thring…………”it is 10:25 am. The first bell ringing, sending across the signal to the students to take their seats, to switch off their mobile phones , to maintain silence and to be prepared as the class is about to start.

“Thringggggggg, Thump Thump” Here comes the final bell at sharp 10.30 am. This school timings are absolutely fixed and neither freezing temperature of 1 degree celsius nor scorching sun of 45 degrees and even if it rains like cats and dogs can de-punctual this school from functioning on time. This school has no summer holidays, no winter holidays and no rainy days.

Sharp at 10:30 a.m, the Hon’ble Members (Principal and Vice Principal) enters and a few seconds assembly takes place wherein all the students rise and exchange of greetings with folded hands happen between the Principals and the students and a vow is also taken that all will discharge their duties and responsibilities with the utmost honesty, sincerity and dedication while giving full respect to each other.

Then comes the attendance (adjournment) time. In this school ironically, first the leave absentees have to mark their presence. The attendance (“adjournments “) are marked as ” sine dine” “next date…..”. Even some of the dis-obedient students are scolded for un-necessary delaying in submitting their assignments and are given last strict warning. Whenever some student is scolded for seeking unnecessary adjournments then, next student in turn who has to seek adjournment shakes in fear that what will happen when his/her leave will be heard. There are some utmost disobedient students who don’t come to school and neither do they submit any leave application, even after they are given ample number of opportunities and reminders, therefore they are expelled from this school “ dismissed as limine”.

Now starts the real class. Students one by one as their assignment (case file) names are called upon have to appear and explain their assignments to the Prinicipals. It is a real examination time ( hearing of the case).

One just has few minutes to explain and present his/her assignment. In just few minutes the student has to wrap up all the facts of the case, case laws relied upon which were searched after tireless efforts of infinite days, all have to be narrated precisely and in just one go. There is no second chance. It is an open book exam.

The nervousness, anxiety, curiosity of not only of the appellant and respondent increases while the assignments are produced, but even the other students sitting in the class who have to maintain pin-drop silence, get involve in the proceedings and they also make speculations, with every new fact/case law pointed out by the appellant/respondent that will the pendulum move in favour of the appellant “Allow” or against the appellant “Dismissed ” or will it stand in the middle” remand back”.

As during examination time, external help is not allowed in the school, same way the other students when looking at the proceedings many times they want to hoot aloud to their colleagues ” say SLP dismissed”, “quote this circular” “quote this case law” but they cannot do then by chits, slowly some send their message across.

When all the proceedings are over then again all stand up and greet each other. This time it symbolizes that we respect each other’s different view points and if we offended each other then kindly pardon us.

The students after going back from the school tell their guardians ”clients” “Examination is over, I did fairly well and lets see what is the result.” It is similar to what we used to tell our parents after we used to write the exams

Then comes Friday -The report card day. Students whose results are about to come are filled with restlessness, anxiety, curiosity and they impatiently wait for the results to be out. After getting the results some are happy, some are sad, some contented, some dis-heartened.
No matter, if a student passes (appeal allowed) or fails (appeal dismissed) or is demoted (remanded back) but it is always the law that passes with full distinction and it enhances the knowledge of lakhs of students living in different parts of the country.

This school not only bestows knowledge about different aspects of law but it also teaches us to respect different views, to have patience hearing, to wait calmly for our turn to come. It teaches us that to win over an argument one should raise the words and not the voice.
In this prestigious institution, the students get admission only after sheer toil of many years, apart from having knowledge the admitted students also possess the qualities of sincerity, dedication, patience, diligence, perseverance, hard work. There is also a little bit craziness that is necessary, a craziness to go through 100’s of case laws just to get the right one for you. A student spends nights tossing in beds even thinking about the cases in his/her dreams and many times if certain point strikes at midnight then to the surprise of the rest of the family members you can find that student flipping over papers at that moment itself. Many times out of anxiety, nervousness students skip their breakfast while attending this school.

It is a very prestigious school , it has been my privilege and my honour to have had the opportunity to relive my school days once again, for this I thank my mentor CA Deependra Mohan and will always be grateful and indebted to him to make me take admission in this Prestigious School of Knowledge The Hon’ble ITAT.

Though for depicting the similarities between schooldays and the Hon’ble ITAT proceedings, I had to use words like student, guardian, Principal but it was not done with any intention to hurt anybody’s feeling and if I offended it then please pardon me.

22 comments on “ITAT – “Relive Your School Life”
  1. H.R.Malani (Pune) says:

    Thanks Madam,
    your experience will guide me for future carrier.
    Its very helpful to us, who is newly practising in Income Tax
    Thanks a lot.

  2. N. DEVANTHAN says:

    congrats for stress relieving article

  3. N. Devnathan says:

    oxygenated tonic for practitioners to shed their stress before ITAT- congrats for Innovative article

  4. Chandravijay Shah says:

    Though a refreshing Article, Members of Division Bench may be compared with ‘Vice Principal’ (Sr. Member) and ‘Teacher’ (Jr. Member) because only Hon’ble President of the Tribunal can be compared with ‘Principal’, the top person in the hierarchy.

  5. CA. Uttamchand Jain says:

    Good way of sharing the experience. Though it may not be the same all days, it all depends on the internal and external ambiance of the day. I would recommended a professional to at least be a spectator once in a year to see the so called “Relive Your School Days”

  6. CA. Pankaj Agrwal says:

    Very well related the present with past. All my good wishes for your professional contributions.

  7. CA.J.S.Rathore says:

    Very well conceived and expressed.
    All the best for your present and future endeavours.

  8. Praveen Agarwal says:

    A awesome & well written article. I usually don’t read such long articles..but as soon as as I read this article it makes me more curious what is written next. Honestly it was too great.

  9. TK Das says:

    Excellent job. God bless always.

  10. Pankaj Kejriwal says:

    Very nice to remember us our school days. Very well comparison. We should behave in court room like a student in concern discipline as well as get knowledge.

  11. I.S.Verma, says:

    Firstly, I would like to extend my Congratulation and blessings to CA Prarthana Jalan for equating the Tribunal with a school by such a nicely worded Humorous manner,yet,keeping the Dignity of the Bar and the Bench.

    Secondly, I fully agree with her when she says ‘It is a very prestigious school’, with a little amendment that “It is ‘the prestigious school'”

  12. CMA Satyabrata Dash says:

    Nice comparision

  13. B.R. BHALLA says:

    CA Prathna selected her article’s topic after careful thoughts and used proper words in the write up. She deserves kudos.

  14. Ashwani Joshi says:

    Read such an article after feed of stressful legal researches after many years. Relieved and relived.

  15. Madhukar Bhat says:

    Clearly and thought provoking

  16. vijay singh says:

    Thanks a lot Prathna. I have carefully gone through the words comparing school life with proceedings of Hon’ble Tribunal and found that you have nicely dipicted all the events in proper manner. Its really appreciable. Keep it up.

  17. Hari Agarwal says:

    very nicely described and correlated.

  18. veeramani says:

    More than the readers the ITAT members should read it. In my school days the teachers were unsympathetic to normal students and shows favouritsm towards supposedly brilliant students and refused to recognise the sparks in others. My friend used to tell me when water is given from Conch Shell, though muddied water it is called THEERTH, but the same water given in glass is simply water. There should be change in the approach of the members. Some members, particularly Accountant Members carry with them the authroity of their previous office.

  19. Atul T Suraiya says:

    Excellent parallel drawn and very well written!

    • sunaina khaitan says:

      Beautifully explained Prarthana. It really makes me feel amazed as to how we can relate the surrounding and feel the enthusiasm so that professional life not makes us feel tiresome and monotonous.

  20. Nem Singh says:

    Very thoughtful views about the life of a person practicing before ITAT a very disciplined Institution not for you but for all.

    ”it is 10:25 am. The first bell ringing, sending across the signal to the students to take their seats, to switch off their mobile phones , to maintain silence and to be prepared as the class is about to start.”

  21. CA Mohit Dhiman says:

    A very well written article. Hope everybody would like it. Thanks for reminding us of our school days one again.

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