The author laments that the Finance Bill 2008 made everyone happy – except the judiciary.
Judiciary is guardian of our democracy. The common men have faith in the temple of justice. Only one criticism against the judiciary is that there is delay in disposing of the matters. Delay in disposal of matters are not on account of judges, it is only due to shortage of judges and lack of infrastructure. When world is becoming one global village, the judiciary also requires to keep pace with modern technology. The judiciary is neither having any political lobby to take up the cause of judiciary with the Government when the allocation of fund is required to be made for modernisation and innovation nor they can make the representation to Government, therefore, like defence, it is very essential for the Government to allocate in each years budget a specific amount for the research in law and modernisation of judiciary. We hope the Government will consider the proposal positively.
Like every year, this year’s budget also is full of promises and very little on the accountability. Unless the concept of accountability as suggested by Dr. Raja J. Chelliah is introduced whatever may be the law, the honest tax-payers may have to undergo the process of litigation to get the refund or to get the correct assessment. The late Shri N. A. Palkhivala in his Article published in Illustrated Weekly of India February 14th, 1982 on the subject of “The Budget of my dreams” stated that “I believe that the Union Budget should not be annual affliction but should partake more of the nature of the presentation of annual accounts of a partnership between the Government and the people. It is impossible to expect from the people good faith and acceptance of their moral duty to pay taxes, unless the Government first proves itself to be fair, considerable and reasonable”.
We have been given to understand that the Government has collected total of Rs. 20,229 crores from 2004 to 2007 by way of educational cess, however only Rs. 5830.67 crores was spent through Sarva Shikshan Abhiyan and Rs. 2,911 crores on Midday meal. This shows the money collected for education is not reaching for the purpose of education. It is to be seen how far waiver of loan will reach to the deserving farmers?
This year’s Finance Bill contains 64 amendments of which 22 are of retrospective in nature, how anybody can advice the industry based on the law declared by the Apex Court or High Courts, when the amendments are made retrospectively. We hope at least retrospective amendments deserves to be given go bye considering the development taking place in our country. One of the big manufacturing industries looking at the amendments and inconsistency in taxation law has opted to put its industry in neighbouring country rather than India. We feel instability in tax law and retrospective amendments will definitely affect the growth of industry.
Professional must play proactive role by making a representation to Government to allocate a specified amount to modernisation and research of judiciary and strongly oppose retrospective amendments.
Dr. K. SHIVARAM
(Reproduced with permission from the Income Tax Review, March 2008)