Dear Professional Colleagues,
The year 2017 is an eventful year, politically and economically. Economy of the country is in a transition phase. A noted educationist Paulin Kezer had said “continuity gives us roots, change gives us branches, letting us stretch and grow and reach new heights”. “Parivartan” is the life blood of any economy. Our growing economy has given birth to various law reforms. The effect of demonetisation was not diluted that the GST rolled down on the scheduled date. The professionals were not ready, industrialists were not ready, businessmen were not ready but the Government was ready to unfold the GST. Big challenges and opportunities are thrown before the professionals. In fact, professionals have to educate their fellow professionals as well as the ultimate stakeholders i.e., the industrialists and the businessmen which is a real service to the nation as a whole.
As apprehended, GST would enhance the tax base. It is a self-monitoring tax law based on processes and compliances. It is a greatest reform which will change the entire dimension under which businesses operate in India. Black money will be at a back foot. It is an attempt to make a uniform legislation, considering the multiple compliances affecting the free flow of goods and services. Compliances under the GST law are IT driven. Being most important device, GST portal will act as a bridge of communication between the taxable person and the tax administrator.
Equally important to the GST are the judicial reforms introduced in the Finance Act 2017 by way of inserting sections 156 to 189 which relates to “amendments to certain Acts to provide for merger of Tribunals and other Authorities and conditions of service of Chairpersons, Members etc.” These provisions will deal a blow on the independence of Judiciary and separation of powers between executives and judiciary. Our Federation has a deep concern and has always played a great role for the cause of legal fraternity at large and for protection of independence of judiciary.
Apart from these provisions in relation to restructuring and merging of 8 Tribunals, Part-XIV of Chapter-VI of the Finance Act 2017 and more particularly section 184 empowers the Central Government to make rules to provide for appointment, qualification, terms of office and removal of chairpersons and members of Tribunals, though the same are usually prescribed under the relevant legislation creating such Tribunals. Thus legislative powers have been encroached upon by the Executive. In exercise of powers conferred by Section 184, Ministry of Finance has framed the rules called as Tribunal, Appellate Tribunal and other Authorities (Qualifications, Experience & Other Conditions of Service of Members) Rules 2017 vide Notification dated 1-6-2017. By way of these rules, the term of office of ITAT members is reduced to 3 years and will be eligible for reappointment. The retiring age in case of President is decided to be 65 years and for others 62 years, this amounts to discrimination. Further, for their appointment, primacy has been given to the Executive by including more members from the Central Government as compared to judiciary in the search-cum-selection committee. Looking to the unfairness and arbitrariness of these rules, Federation is filing the writ petition challenging the constitutional validity of the provisions of Finance Act and the Rules framed there under before the Delhi High Court.
Friends, Institute of Chartered Accountants of India has recently celebrated its CA Day on 1st July 2017. Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi addressed the gathering and also released the revised course of education and training for CAs coming into effect from 1st July 2017. Our PM had shown a great concern for the professionals equalising them with Rishi Munis of economy but simultaneously PM had shown his anguish on the community as a whole. He was perturbed from the facts that only 32 lakh assessees are declaring their income more than ₹ 10 lakh when 2.18 crore people had visited foreign country in the last year, crores of vehicles are being purchased every year in the country. He reminded that during the freedom struggle, many lawyers in that era had dedicated their lives for the country’s independence, many of them had played a decisive role in framing our Constitution, now the country is at another crucial juncture of history. After country’s political integration in 1947, today the country is getting economically integrated. The country is beginning a new journey in 2017 when the dream of “One Nation – One Tax – One Market” has become a reality. Hon’ble PM has appealed that this economic development will be led by Army of Chartered Accountants. Friends, this is a time for introspection and retrospection. We all have to give our “Aahuti” to make the country better place to live and better India to devolve on our children.
Last but not the least, I may also apprise you that in the month of June your Federation had organised an international tour cum conference at Sri Lanka, an island in the Indian Ocean with diverse landscapes, ranging from rain forest, highlands and sandy beaches. In the beginning of this month, the Federation had organised a successful Residential Educational Programme in the lustrous city of Goa. Our special thanks to the organisers Mr. Chirag Parekh, Mr. Tushar Joshi and Mr. Praveen Shah who had, in the very short time organised this programme. I hope that all the delegates have enjoyed the programme and returned back with sweet memories of Green Goa.
With Best Regards,
Prem Lata Bansal