From the desk of the Editor-in-Chief

A Tribute to Late Shri Narayan Varma
A great visionary of the tax profession

My Senior, Late Shri V. H. Patil Advocate had encouraged me to write for the Bombay Chartered Accountant’s Journal (BCAJ). I had the fortune of contributing to the BCAJ since 1984, when Shri Shyam Argade, was the editor. Later on I used to contribute to the subject of unreported judgments of the Bombay High Court, Special Bench cases, etc. It was a great rewarding experience to attend yearly meeting of the Journal committee of the BCAS and listen to the new ideas by the editors and other members of the journal committee.

Late Shri Narayan Varma was one of the great visionaries of the tax profession who used to share several new ideas for Professional Organisations, Journals, Seminars, etc. I had the fortune of associating with Shri Narayan Varma in the educational activities of the Bombay Chartered Accountants’ Society, the Chamber of Tax Consultants, and public interest litigation relating to taxation matters. It is Shri Narayan Varma who inspired me to start “Allied Laws” as a new regular feature for the BCAJ.

In April 1996, with my friend Mr. Chetan A. Karia, Chartered Accountant, we co-authored the first feature. Ever since, with the help of my associates, our chamber has contributed to the feature regularly.

This feature on “Allied Laws” is drawn from referring to the All India Reporter (AIR), Supreme Court cases (SCC), Customs and Central Excise Times (Now known as GST Law Times), Sales Tax cases (STC) (Now The Goods and Service Tax Reports (GSTR) and many more journals.

I must acknowledge that the support of my professional colleagues,
Mr. Chetan A. Karia, Chartered Accountant, Mr. K. Gopal Advocate,
Mr. Reepal Tralshawala Chartered Accountant, Mr. Ajay R. Singh Advocate, Mr. Shashank Dundu, Advocate, Mr. Rahul Hakani, Advocate and Mr. Shashi A. Bekal, Advocate, who have from time to time, shared the effort in ensuring timely and regular contribution to the feature “Allied Laws”. The Journal Committee and Editorial team of the Bombay Chartered Accountants’ Society (BCAS) have always added value with their regular inputs for the feature.

Chartered Accountants have domain knowledge of business and accounts and are recognised as experts in the field. Tax Laws do not stand in isolation from other laws and it does not operate in a vacuum. Certain enactments like the General Clauses Act are laws that apply to all enactments of the Legislature. Then there are commercial laws like the Companies Act and, the Indian Contract Act, which will have a direct bearing on a commercial transaction. There are also enactments to which reference is made in the Tax Law itself, as Legislation does not re-enact the same provision again. To top it all, the Rules of Interpretation of Statute, are secular in the sense the Rules will apply equally to interpret an enactment, irrespective of its subject. Therefore, it can be said that general law is the backbone of tax and legal practice.

This publication will serve as a guide and reference to Chartered Accountants in their day-to-day practice. Case laws on general law help the chartered accountants, lawyers, and tax practitioners to be better equipped for representation as well as advisory services. One will find most of the tax journals have now started digesting important judgments on allied laws.

The idea of publishing a publication on “General Laws” was discussed a few years back when I had a discussion with Shri Deepak R. Shah, Chartered Accountant and Past President of the BCAS who has shown a positive response and he had discussed with then President and Chairman of the Publication Committee of the BCAS who then agreed to the proposed publication. I discussed this with Mr. Pradip Kapasi, Chartered Accountant, Past President of the BCAS, and one of my close friends who has supported this publication. When I discussed with my associates who were contributing to Allied Laws, all of them agreed to be part of this prestigious project. Senior members of the profession and my close associates in the profession have agreed to spare their time for editing the publication. They have edited the contents of this publication and added value to the publication. It is due to the great teamwork of the research team and editorial team we were able to bring out this publication.

I owe a lot of gratitude to the BCAS, its past presidents and especially my friend Shri P. D. Desai who gave me the opportunity to deliver a lecture at BCAS’s forum.

I was pondering on the idea of giving back to the BCAS and its members. The idea came to me to come out with a publication on General Laws relevant to Direct Tax as a tribute and in remembrance of the Late Shri Narayan Varma.

This publication will be a useful reference to chartered accountants, lawyers, and tax consultants who practice exclusively on tax laws. This publication will be very useful to all who desire to know about legal issues relating to various acts such as succession, will, nomination, registration, etc. and many other acts.

In this publication, 75 Acts and 924 cases relevant to Direct Tax practice have been discussed. The Research team has digested section-wise, the important case laws on respective Acts. It is a matter of pride that the publication is a joint effort of leading tax professionals. Twelve senior members have edited research material gathered and digested by sixteen professionals. All of them have spared time from their busy schedule.

In my 45 years of practice, I had the opportunity to associate with the BCAS and I must acknowledge that BCAS is one of the finest organisations. The members are dedicated to the professional cause and the BCAJ is a must for every professional who practices on direct and indirect taxes.

This publication is possible due to the support of Mr. Chirag Doshi, President and Past Presidents Mr. Mihir Sheth, Mr. Anil Sathe, and the positive support of Mr. Deepak R. Shah, Past President of the BCAS and convenors Mr. Shashi A. Bekal, Advocate and Ms. Divya Jokhakar, Chartered Accountant. Special Thanks to Ms. Neelam Jadhav, Advocate who has devoted time in preparing the subject-wise index which is very useful to readers.

There is constant change in the law, what we consider today may not be good law tomorrow. I feel that this publication may have to be revised at least once in five years.

We look forword to the valuable suggestions of the readers of this publication.

Dr. K. Shivaram
Senior Advocate

[Source : Bombay Chartered Accountant Society Publication 75 Laws Relevant to Direct Taxes]

Dr. K.Shivaram Senior Advocate , Bombay High Court    

A Tribute: 82 Glorious years of the Income tax Appellate Tribunal – Legacy and way forward.

January 25, 2023 will mark the 82nd Foundation Day of the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT), the Mother Tribunal of our country. ITAT is one of the oldest Temples of Justice in our country. Older the temple, the greater is its sanctity and reverence. It is the strong foundation of this great institution which has  made possible for it to retain the glory as one of the finest institutions of our country.

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Hon’ble Chief Justice Dr. D.Y. Chandrachud is a great visionary, crusader of Justice and a champion of the Constitution. Lordship will make a sincere attempt to reduce the pendency of tax matters which are pending before Hon’ble Supreme Court and various High Courts. Hon’ble Justice Dr. D.Y. Chandrachud always believed that it is the law students who will be the guardian of our democracy and b more women judges are required to be appointed in the judiciary.

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Dr. K. Shivaram, Senior Advocate, has pointed out that the Ordinance defeats the decision of the Supreme Court in Madras Bar Association vs. UOI which inter alia held that advocates with experience of at least 10 years are eligible for appointment as Judicial Members in the ITAT. He has also pointed out that the terms of the Ordinance are such that many Advocates or Chartered Accountant will not be inclined to apply for the post of Members of the ITAT. This will have a detrimental effect on the ITAT. The Ld Advocate has suggested that the entire issue may be reconsidered by the Govt

The Hon’ble Income tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) which has completed 80 years of its existence has 63 benches at 29locationsacross the Country. Out of its sanctioned capacity of 126 members. On July, 06, 2018 an advertisement was issued by the Central Government seeking appointment of 21 Judicial Members and 16 Accountant Members. Accordingly, the search cum selection committee made its recommendations in November 2019.

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Tax Practitioners from across the country salute the Income-Tax Appellate Tribunal oldest Temple of Justice, which is considered as Mother Tribunal in India, on completion of 80years of its purposeful existence and wishes that the Income tax Appellate Tribunal retain its glory as one of the finest Institution of our Country for years ahead (25-1-1941 to 25-1-2021) – Whether faceless appeals proposed by the  Hon’ble Finance Minister in the Finance Bill 2021,  before the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal will inspire the confidence of the Tax payer?

Dr. K. Shivaram, Senior Advocate,Bombay High Court

January 25, 2021 was the 80th Foundation Day of the Income tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT)which is considered as Mother Tribunal of our country. The Income-tax Appellate Tribunal is one of the oldest Temples of Justice in our country. The older the temple, the greater is its sanctity and reverence. It is the strong foundation of this great institution which is made possible to retain the glory as one of the finest institutions of our country. It is due to very successive Hon’ble Presidents, Hon’ble Vice-Presidents, Hon’ble Members, the value ethics and convention which the Tax Bar inherited from the stalwarts of the Tax Bar and learned Departmental Representatives. I am associated with this great institution for more than 42 years. During the early days of my practice, I have had the opportunity to appear before various judicial and quasi-judicial forums. Eventually, I decided to practice mostly before the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal and the Hon’ble High Court on Direct taxes, according to me on account of its efficiency and justice-oriented approach of the hon’ble Members of the institution, the Income tax Appellate Tribunal is one of the best institutions to practice.

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Dr. K. Shivaram, Senior Advocate, has made the fervent appeal, on the auspicious occasion of the 80th Foundation Day of the ITAT, that all stakeholders, namely, the Tax Bar, the Ld. Members, the CBDT etc, shoud collectively make an honest attempt to maintain and preserve the glory of the ITAT as one of the finest institutions of our country. The Ld. Advocate has systematically set out the precise expectations and obligations of each stakeholder

Income tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) – 80th Foundation Day – Vision 2022 – Celebrating 75 years of Independence of our great Nation
Expectation of the stake holders from Income-tax Appellate Tribunal on celebrating 80th Foundation Day – Vision 2022 – Celebrating 75 years of Independence of our great Nation

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Dr. K. Shivaram, Senior Advocate, has lauded the recent philosophy of the Income-tax Dept of “Honouring the Honest“. He has described it as a “Game Changing Fiscal Policy“. He has advised that the tax administration has to make sincere efforts to satisfy at least 10 expectations of high tax payers. He has opined that this will be a way forward to eliminate the so-called “Trust Deficit” between the Tax Department and the Asseessees

The Hon’ble Prime Minister on August 13, 2020 launched the “Transparent Taxation – Honouring the Honest” platform. The intention of the Government is to enhance Transparency, Efficiency and Accountability and. With a view to achieve its objective it has proposed three areas of work viz. i. Faceless Assessment, ii. Faceless Appeals and iii. A Citizens Charter.

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Dr. K. Shivaram, Senior Advocate, has pointed out that the stakeholders in the ITAT will have no option but to adapt to a mixture of virtual and physical hearings, in order to dispose off appeals and do justice. The ld. author has offered valuable suggestions on how the challenges can be overcome and the task achieved with least hardship to all concerned

Proposal before the Hon’ble Income Tax Appellate Tribunal to consider a combination of Virtual and Physical hearing abiding by the parameters laid down by the Government

Since March, 2020, the Hon’ble Appellate Tribunal, at Mumbai and at its other benches across the Nation have been constrained from conducting physical hearing. A reasonably good number of matters have been disposed by the Appellate Tribunal via virtual hearings. This has been made possible under the able leadership of the Hon’ble Justice Mr.P.P. Bhat, President of the Appellate Tribunal, ably assisted by the Hon’ble Vice Presidents, with the active involvement of the Hon’ble Members of the Appellate Tribunal. Tax Bars across the Country and the learned Departmental Representatives have been supportive and proactive regarding this process. Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, Kolkata, Dehradun, Chandigarh, Mumbai etc. have all issued their respective Standard Operating Procedure for virtual hearings.

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DR-K-SHIVARAM-SR-ADVOCATEDr K. Shivaram, Senior Advocate, has lauded the Income tax Appellate Tribunal and the Tax Professionals for playing a proactive role during lock down by organising Webinars on several subjects which have helped tax practitioners to better their understanding on various issues. He has pointed out that this salutary practice has also helped them to do away with negative thoughts that set in as a result of the Lockdown

There is no denying that the pandemic has changed the world forever, we as humans have undergone social and behaviour changes. From excessive use of hand sanitisers to the use of mask each time we step outside of our homes; the last few months have been spent in captivity in our homes as a precaution against a virus.

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NA-PalkhivalaDr. K. Shivaram, Senior Advocate, has pointed out that the lament by Nani Palkhivala several decades ago regarding the ‘maddening instability‘ of the Income-tax Act and it being a “national disgrace” holds good today as well as is reflected by the numerous amendments ushered in by the Finance Bill 2020. Some amendments are ill-thought of and have led to enormous confusion and anxiety amongst taxpayers. Also, the non-allocation of funds to the Judiciary shows a lack of seriousness in the Government regarding clearing the massive backlog of cases in Courts. The learned author has also made valid points regarding the ‘Vivad Se Vishwas’ scheme and other important proposals in the Budget

Finance Bill -2020 –In the visionary budget, there is no allocation of funds to the infrastructure, digitalisation and modernisation of the judiciary.The Judiciary is the backbone of Democracy, unless sufficient resources are allocated towards the judiciary efficient to render speedy justice by appointing judges and providing the much-needed infrastructure, we may not be able to achieve the desired object of becoming a 5 trillion economy.

1. No allocation of funds to the judiciary.

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