CBDT Appoints Top Counsel To Argue International Tax & Transfer Pricing Matters At Generous Fees

The CBDT has issued an order dated 2nd July 2018 by which it has appointed special counsels to represent the Income-tax department in cases relating to International Tax and Transfer Pricing before various judicial fora at Delhi, Bengalure and Mumbai.

The Special Counsel are entitled to appearance fees, conference fees and fees for drafting written submissions etc. They are also entitled to reimbursement of Air Expenses (Executive Class) and lodging & boarding expenses.

It may be recalled that in Pr CIT vs. Grasim Industries Ltd the Bombay High Court has passed strictures against the practice of the department of appoiting retired officers as panel counsel. The Court held that while the retired officers have domain expertise, they lack the skills and conduct required to appear as an Advocate.

5 comments on “CBDT Appoints Top Counsel To Argue International Tax & Transfer Pricing Matters At Generous Fees
  1. Bobjee kurien says:

    The Board has conceded that the IRS officers are incapable of handling its own assessment

    Why not appoint councils for ITAT too

    Though on paper the postings in ITAT is. Prestigious posting in reality it appears to be a dumping ground or punishment posting !!!!

  2. vswami says:


    Reg. a similar move conceived of as long back in 2008 but not pursued for reasons unknown, so also to know MORE – (2008) 169 TAXMAN 14 (Art)- para. 2.

  3. Ravi says:

    I was always wondering why the Govt. did not have this practice of appointing top advocates atleast where high stakes were involved. A few lakhs of rupees in fees may earn crores in revenue to the Govt.

  4. vswami says:

    To Share Instant Thoughts / jot down personal viewpoints:

    Quite a sensational development; upfront, laser sharp focus is inevitable, hence the utmost care need to be taken, on, –

    ‘Appointment’ –
    A) by an ‘independent’ ‘committee of EXperts’ , reputed and renowned , predominantly, for their intelligence coupled with integrity;
    with more than adequate first hand knowledge, experience, and exposure in the two specified special fields.of taxation;

    B) To be done in accordance with duly framed guidelines in screening and selecting counsel , before appointment; and, ideally, in consultation with the HC and SC Benches before whom those have appeared and proved their mettle to the hilt;

    C) “TOP” – the criteria to be satisfied must be clearly laid down, so as to render the choice by the committee less onerous but at the same time fool- cum safe-proof.

    MASTER NOTE: Last but not least, the apex court’s eminent observations in its Judgment in disposing of the WRIT against the establishment of ‘NTT’ could be kept in view as a source of proper guidance in calling for to the end of appointment of competent counsel. Reference is to the court’s observations to the effect as to why CAs , without special qualification in connected ‘laws’ and appropriate training, might not be competent to fit into the institution for adjudication as then proposed.

    TAIL Note: Clarity of mind and meticulousness in expression should be given the utmost priority.
    For, court is a forum in which it is the quality of counsel- namely, sharp and quick wits that has a principal role to play in fighting the battle of wits.

    Incidentally, on clarity in expression, consider, for instance,should not , instead of the word ‘Appoints’, it needs to have been made quite clear saying that is just a move to appoint!

  5. Adv E S Jagadeeshwar says:

    CBDT may use the services of Advocates having the background of accounting knowledge and also may use the services of those who discontinued CA due to any reason and practicing as Advocates. The main issue will be Advocates without having CA background cannot understand the updated Accounting and Auditing Standards. These have to be interpreted in an appropriate way. There is a need to bridge the gap between Law and CA course.

    Both Direct and Indirect Tax matters have to be dealt by the Advocates with accounting background. Number of Advocates are available with this background across the country. While appointing the Standing Counsels from the district level the above said fact has to be kept in mind. Why the Advocates practicing Tax Laws are less is due to the non-availability of sufficient courts and opportunities at Dist. level.

    As far as my knowledge is concerned in case of an Accountant the mind is revolving around figures whereas in case of Lawyer the mind is revolving around facts. The mindset must be ability to understand both facts and figures is necessary. Interpretation of Civil Advocates is entirely different.

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