PROGRAMME "UDBHAV" FOR THE
JUDICIAL AND ACCOUNTANT MEMBERS OF THE
INCOME TAX APPELLATE TRIBUNAL, WILL HELP
THE INSTITUTION RENDER BETTER
ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Tax Bar highly appreciates that 42 newly appointed Members of the ITAT have undergone the training programme at Nagpur from 29th August, to 3rd September, 2016.
The Tax Bar has made an appeal, that when the new Members are appointed there has to be an orientation course so that the Honourable Members of the ITAT are able to deliver qualitative judgments. [AIFTPJ September, 2015 www.itatonline.org]. The Income Tax Appellate Tribunal being one of the oldest institutions of our country, is considered the Mother Tribunal of our country which celebrated its 75 years. It has a great tradition and reputation that has been built over the years, hence the new Members who have joined this institution have an even greater responsibility to preserve the purity, integrity and honour of the institution. The ITAT being the final fact finding body on direct taxes has to pass a speaking and well reasoned order. Only substantial question of law can be challenged before the High Court. One will have to appreciate that while hearing the appeals before the Tribunal, the Honourable Members of ITAT are not merely adjudicating on the issues before them but they are invariably deciding on the fortunes of the assessees. One wrong decision against an assessee may ruin his life and relegate him to the position of a pauper. At the same time, if the decision is against the Government it may affect the coffers of the Government only to an extent of a rain drop in the ocean.
In cities like Mumbai when an appeal is filed before the High Court, it can take a minimum of three years to hear the admission of appeal and assuming the appeal is admitted, it may take another 10 years to reach final hearing. At present, the appeals admitted of year 2012 are being taken up for final hearing. Hence, one can imagine the importance of the orders passed by the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal.
The Honâ€™ble Members of the ITAT are remembered by the quality of judgments they deliver. Due to innovation in technology, all the orders of the Tribunal are available for public scrutiny. In an appeal to High Court against the order of ITAT, the judges first read the Orders of the ITAT and thereafter they read the orders of lower authorities. Income tax Act, refers to various Central Acts and State laws, therefore while deciding important issues before the ITAT, it is very essential to know general law, which helps in delivering qualitative judgments. The training course will definitely help the members to deliver speaking and qualitative orders.
At present the pendency before the ITAT is only 92,000 appeals and we have 105 Members i.e. not more than 1,000 matters per member. With better management, use of modern technology and the help of the Tax Bar, pendency can be brought down to 75,000 and then it would be possible for tax-payers to get justice from the ITAT within six months of filing of an appeal. We desire that each and every assessee who approaches the ITAT must have the satisfaction that his grievances are heard patiently and qualitative reasoned orders are passed. We are sure that the initiation by the President of the Tribunal will go a long way in the justice delivery system of the ITAT.
Some of the Members of the ITAT are very young and it is the need of the hour that they should be groomed as ideal Members so that the institution can retain the glory as one of the finest institution of our country. We have confidence in the younger generation of Lawyers and Chartered Accountants. We feel they are more accomplished than us and far more alive. Good number of professionals are strictly following the ethics, values, and the conventions of the Tax Bar that have been inherited from respected seniors.
There is no doubt that the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal is one of the finest institutions of our country and both Bar and Bench must make a sincere attempt that it remains so. According to us, educational course must be held every year wherein all the members can participate in discussions and enrich their knowledge and experience as this will go a long way in improving the justice delivery system.
The Income Tax Appellate Tribunal Bar Associationsâ€™ co-ordination committee meeting will be held on 2nd December, 2016, at National Convention to be held at Delhi to discuss and to make representation relating to the ITAT, in respect of law, procedure, digitalisation of the ITAT, non-appointment of Vice-Presidents and introduction of concept of e-Court before the APEX Court, etc. The readers may send their objective suggestions which will be discussed and appropriate representation will be made to the concerned authorities which will help the institution to render better administration of justice.
Dr. K. Shivaram