Digitalisation of Supreme Court
– The Supreme Court
will go paperless from 3rd July, 2017
The Supreme Court’s Integrated Case Management Information System (ICMIS) was inaugurated on 10-5-2017 in a function attended by Hon’ble Prime Minster Shri Narendra Modi, Hon’ble Chief Justice of India Mr. J. S. Khehar, Hon’ble Law Minister Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, the Hon’ble Judges of the Apex Court and other dignitaries. The salient features of the new system are as under:
• Online data retrieval
• End of voluminous paper books
• Integration of all 24 High Courts and lower courts
• Central and State Governments will be informed of litigation
• Court fees calculator and online gateway
The portal is user friendly and will help the Bar and all the stakeholders (refer www.itatonline.org )
This initiative by the Hon’ble Chief justice of India, the digitalisation of Supreme Court will motivate all the Courts and Tribunals to go digital, which will be a revolutionary step forward for the justice delivery system and all citizens will be benefited.
One may recollect that the Federation has sent a detailed representation to the Hon’ble Prime Minister, the Honourable Law Minister and the Chairman of the law Commission, to link all the High Courts and adopt the E-Court model of the ITAT, where the assessee may be allowed to argue the matter sitting at Mumbai or Guwahati from their respective High Court. We are sure in the years to come one may have the option to
argue the matter before the Supreme Court from their respective High Court.
2. ITAT proposes important changes to Tribunal Rules
One must appreciate that this time the proposed changes in the Rules of the ITAT have been put up on the website and comments have been called for from tax professionals and other stakeholders. This bold approach of the ITAT deserves to be complimented. We hope that other department will also follow the method adopted by the ITAT. Most of the amendments proposed are welcome provisions. One can visit www.itatonline org. and express their views on the proposed amendments. The ITAT Bar Association’s Co–ordination Committee of the Federation has requested all the members of the Committee to forward their suggestions, which will help in better administration of justice before the Tribunal.
3. Appointment of Honourable members of the ITAT for a tenure of five years, will affect the independence of the institution
As per Section 252A of the Income-tax Act, 1961 (To be notified), Section 184 of the Finance Act 2017 is made applicable in respect of the Members of the ITAT who will be appointed hereafter. With respect, the members of the AIFTP are of the considered opinion that the proposed provision is not in the interest of the Institution. Few of them are:-
1. Appointment of Members of the ITAT for only a tenure of five years, affects the independency of the Institution.
2. Independent functioning of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal cannot be compared with other Tribunals.
3. Young talent from profession of law and accountancy will be deferred from joining the Bench.
4. There is no reason to disturb the system which has served well for more than 76 years.
5. Judicial members of the ITAT are a potential source of appointment to the High Court to deal with taxation matters.
6. The President of the ITAT retires at the age of 65, whereas members at the age of 62.
The Federation has sent a detailed representation to the Hon’ble Finance Minister and the Hon’ble Law Minister and also made an appeal to all the professional organisations to take up this issue which is of national importance. Readers may send their views on all the issues referred above.
Dr. K. Shivaram