Tribute To Four Stalwarts By Tax Professionals Of Hyderabad

Tax professionals of Hyderabad Zone of ITAT, on 22nd July, 2020, held a condolence meet through virtual mode to pay homage to four stalwarts viz.Late Honourable Justice Mr .Y.V.Anjaneyulu (Retd.), Late Honourable ShriT.Venkatappa, Vice- President, ITAT (Retd.), Late Honourable Shri S.Rajaratnam, Accountant Member, ITAT (Retd.,) and  Late  Shri D.Sitaramaiah, FCA and Ex-TTD chairman.

The condolence meet was graced by HonourableMs. Sushma Chowla, Vice-President, ITAT-Hyderabad Zone, Honourable Judicial Member Smt.P. Madhavi Devi and Honourable Accountant Member Shri  Mohan Alankamoni,and many Honourable members of the ITAT. The meeting was also attended by family members and close relatives of the departed stalwarts.

Honourable Vice-President, Hon’ble Ms.Sushma Chowla, expressed her grief on this occasion and prayed to god to rest their souls in peace in heaven.

Sri G.Kalyandas, FCA shared his thoughts about his close association with the Late Justice Shri Y. V. Anjaneyulu and said that he was an expert in Trust cases and Nizam Group of Trusts were largely benefitted by his commendable expertise. Both were associated in the office of Dastagir& Co., Chartered Accountants and Shri Y.V. Anjaneyulu later joined the Bar as an Advocate and was elevated as a Judge of the Hon’bleHigh Court of Andhra Pradesh in 1983 and after demitting the office as a Judge, he was a member of the Law Commission.

Honourable Mr. Justice R.V Easwar, former judge of Delhi High Courtin his Tribute to late Shri S. Rajaratnam, Honourable Accountant Member of the ITAT was published in the Business Line datedJuly 18, 2020, the same reads as under

“In the last few decades , in this part of the country, if there was one man whose name was synonymous with the law of income-tax , it was that of Mr S. Rajarthanam, IRS, who breathed his last on Saturday morning  at the age of 93 . There  few men more soft spoken than him and more knowledgeable than him in the subject . To acquire such mastery over that branch of law is not an easy achievement ; it takes a major part of one’s life. Mr Rajaratnam was one of the most sought -after persons for his unbiased , but  sharp views on anything to do with income-tax law. He was a prolific writer on the subject, and given his vast experience , he had much deeper insights in to the practical implications of the frequent amendments of the Income -tax Act than most others . His popularity among the Chartered Accountants in Madras and other cities /towns of south India was un matched, for he had a special skill for and straight -forward communication of his thoughts, bereft of any kind of airs or pomp- simplicity personified , a rarest of rare traits these days!

My lawyer -friend told me, while breaking the news this morning , that in the last twenty years or so he has not seen Mr Rajarathnam miss a single study -meeting organised  by the professionals . Such was his eagerness to learn, and share what knew . He never dismissed an idea or a seed of an idea out of hand ;  he would think  , nurture the idea , water and manure it and develop in to a full -grown theory , the same way in which he would pass orders during his long stints in the IRS and  in the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal .

I first had the opportunity to interact with him when he was on deputation from the IRS to the Sales Tax Appellate Tribunal, Madras Bench , which sat in the High Court Premises . We from our senior’s chamber appeared before him frequently . It was refreshing , even at that time , to hear  his soft but probing queries , put to us with a smile and an encouraging nudge .

I remember an occasion when I appeared before him in his camp office in Madurai as Controller of Estate Duty , when he politely rejected one of my claims with a smile , saying “ Sorry Easwar , you have to get it from up there (Meaning Tribunal)”

Mr. Rajarathnam’s stint in the Tribunal was a golden era, particularly for the junior members of the Bar. He could “smell the brief” as they say !  You had only to stand up, and he would anticipate all your arguments  and sum it up for you . He would have looked up all the facts and all the law him self . He never stood on the formalities of a judicial proceedings ; his only aim was to do justice . Patience he had in abundance , not a frown creased his face , nor a harsh word was uttered.

The Madras Benches of the Tribunal those days had others like him: Mr .George Cherian  , Mr . T.N.C Rangarajan  (Later Justice Rangarajan)  Mr .C. .K Nair and others  and the Tribunal those days afforded a lunching platform for several of us juniors . We loved to appear before such giants . They knew so much , but never showed it .

I was in touch with him almost continuously even after leaving Madras . When I was posted in Delhi in the Tribunal , we had an orientation programme  for newly appointed members and Mr Rajaratnam was one of the invitees to address the Members .

When I spoke on charitable Trusts  in a meeting organised by RBA ( Revenue  Bar Association) Mr. Rajarathnam was the Chair Person after my speech , he softly whispered in my ears why I did not mention anything about the proviso to section 2(15) ! .I realized with shock what a glaring omission , it was , but he was such graceful person that he did not rake it up in summing up and allowed the matter to rest .For the memorial lectures for my senior , Mr Rajaratnam and Mr Cherian , both in their nineties , were present to listen to the guest -speakers , with the eagerness of students !

I last met Mr Rajaratnam in December last in a function in the ICAI premises and noticed that he had became a bit short of hearing but other wise looked trim and prim in his well -ironed white shirt . I even had the privilege (which I accepted after much hesitation) of writing aforeword to his book on valuation . Till date I feel guilty for that blasphemous act of mine !

The profession will undoubtedly miss Mr. Rajaratnam’s sobering counsel . What drove him to live income-tax was his sheer passion for the subject . A gentleman to the last word , a friend , philosopher and guide for upcoming practioners . 
The values he stood for are eternal . His motto in life appeared to me to be only to share his stupendous knowledge with others  so that it may benefit them . I recall the words of Seneca :

“ If wisdom were conferred with this proviso , that I must keep it to my self and not communicate it to others , I would have none of it”.

Mr .Rajarathnam would have none of it ! May His soul rest in peace !!

Dr. K. Shivaram, Senior Advocate, Mumbai, shared his thoughts about Late Shri Rajaratnam Honouarble  Accountant member of the ITAT,his academic brilliance as an author of several books on Income-tax and in particular, about the meticulous manner in which 3 editions of Sampath Iyengar on law of Income-tax was revised by him, and the monthly analysis of land Mark Judgments which was published in the ITRs has helped the development of tax law and tax profession. Dr. K.Shivaram also stated that theHonourableJustice LateMr.Y.V. Anjaneyulu was member of the All India Federation of tax Practitioners and known for his knowledge on the subject of direct and indirect taxation.

Shri D. Manmohan, former Vice-President of ITAT, paid his homage by giving detailed account of his close association with all the 4 stalwarts. In his words, Justice Y. V. Anjaneyulu was an authority on Income-tax and enjoyed a commendable reputation as a counsel and upon elevation as a high Court Judge, he rendered several path breaking Judgments. He was a Trustee of Shri Satya Sai Baba Trust, Hyderabad, and continued his spiritual path till he breathed his last. He was a beacon/role-model to all the Tax professionals and proved that hard-work and uncompromising passion would definitely lead to success. About Late Shri. Rajaratnam, he shared his experiences as an Advocate, appearing before him in Hyderabad benches in the early 1980’s and his thorough grip on facts and law and his simple demeaner on and off the bench. Similarly, about Late Shri T. Vankatappa, he reminisced that in one of the matters in which he appeared before him in Hyderabad bench, despite initial reaction on the bench, the judgment pronounced was an indication that as expected of a model judge, he has gone by the weight of evidence and legal principles rather than letting his initial views prejudice his mind. He also shared his personal interaction with him post retirement to highlight that his heart was more towards serving the public and continued to live in puttaparthy so that he can be close to the divine grace of Shri Satya Sai Baba. About Shri DevineniSitaramaiah, he shared his thoughts about his simple demeaner despite his reputable stature. Shri Sitaramaiah was the main partner of Brahmaiah& Co. for more than 6 decades and he was a director of Reserve Bank of India, Hyderabad, chairman of TTD board, and also continued on the board of several leading companies till he breathed his last. Mr. D. Manmohan, while paying homage to the departed souls, expressed that if at all one believes in imminent rebirth even for such great souls, we all should pray that they should be reborn in India so that tax paying public can take benefit of their expertise in tax laws, since it is believed that the qualities acquired in one life would be ingrained into the DNA as the qualities are attached to the soul.

Shri B. Ramkotaiah, Accountant Member(Retd.), Shri K. C. Devidas, FCA, Shri LaxminivasSarma, FCA, Shri P. Murali Krishna, FCA, Shri. P. Jitender Kumar, FCA,  ShriP.V.S.S.Prasad FCA ,Shri. S. Rama Rao, Advocate and Shri. Y. V. S. T. Sai, CIT-DR, paid rich tributes to the four noble departed souls, all of whom have lived past 90 years of age and continued to maintain an active life in terms of sharing their knowledge on tax laws and also in rendering charitable work.

Virtual meet was attended by good number of sitting and retired judges, tax professionals, family members and others which stands as a testimony to the stature maintained by the veterans who are no more in the physical form though everybody wished that their spirit should always guide them to enable them and help them emulate some of their qualities.

Upon conclusive remarks by Mr. Abhiroop Bhargav, FCA, Mr. Ravi Bhardwaj, FCA, and Mr. RaghuramAakula, Advocate,all the participants were requested to stand in silence as a mark of respect for departed souls.

(Gist is compiled by Advocate Sashank Dundu for the benefit of readers.)


One comment on “Tribute To Four Stalwarts By Tax Professionals Of Hyderabad
  1. Adv. Shashi Bekal says:

    Very well summarized

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