Distinguished professional bodies like AIFTP, IMC, CTC etc made detailed representations to the CBDT in which it was pointed out that the move by the CBDT to give “incentives” to CsIT(A) to enhance assessments and levy penalty shakes the confidence of taxpayers that they would get a fair hearing from the CsIT(A) of their grievances.
It was also pointed out that the move interferes with the judicial discretion of the CsIT(A) and falls foul of the law laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Sirpur Paper Mill Ltd. vs. CWT [(1970) 77 ITR 6 (SC)] and other judgements.
However, these representations have fallen on deaf ears. The CBDT appears to be in no mood to listen, let alone reconsider its decision.
Accordingly, the AIFTP has filed a Writ Petition in the Hon’ble Delhi High Court to challenge the said move of the CBDT.
The Petition contends that such “incentive” will encourage the CsIT(A) to pass orders in a “biased and prejudicial manner” in favour of the revenue and against taxpayers.
This will result in incorrect determination of tax liability of an assessee and violate Article 265 of the Constitution of India which provides for collection of tax as per law.
It is also contended that different CsIT(A) are likely to act in a different manner and accordingly the instructions violate Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution.
The Petition has stated that it is well settled that an appellate authority should pass an order in an impartial manner and no administrative supervisory authority should interfere in the judicial functioning of an authority.
Attention has also been drawn to section 119(1) of the Income Tax Act 1961 which expressly states that the CBDT shall not issue any order or instruction or direction which interferes with the discretion of the Commissioner (Appeals) in the exercise of his or her appellate functions.
The Petition has also relied on several judgements wherein the independence of the CsIT(A) has been held to be a non-negotiable issue.
The Petition is likely to come up for hearing before the Hon’ble Delhi High Court shortly.
To re-shere (repeat), being of equal relevance(:
Looking not far back- albeit ‘human memory ‘ is, as ordained by nature, generally short –lived >
As said then, the right emphasis laid was on the priority of “Delivering quality tax payer services”.
Howver, The reported fresh move, being contested, to say the least, is in a reverse direction; is tantamount to a serious ‘self-contradiction’ and detestable ‘rollback’ of the above referred earlier moves, – commended to be in the right direction. In substance, the illogical faulty move makes for a drastic paradigm shift /change, across the board, with priority to ‘quantity’ (in effect, high -pitched assessments) as opposed to ‘quality’ (assessments strictly in accordance with both ‘letter’ and ‘spirit’ of ‘the law’.
As regards exercise by an appellate authority’s of ‘discretion’ in disposal of an appeal, that again is not an unbridled power; but might have to ideally stand the judicial standards of ‘independence’ and ‘objectivity’.
Same way as, in relation to the first stage, being ‘assessment’ , authored by the lowly AO, the said standards might have to be observed. For independent thoughts and viewpoints shared, and some suggestions made, if so care, refer the Article (2008) 169 TAXMAN 14 (ART) – paragraph 2.1 is of relevance .
I congratulate AIFTP for taking up cudgels against a wholly illegal notification to the detriment of the taxpayers.