INTERPRETATION OF EVENTS AFFECTING OUR LIFE
We all have had knowledge and experience of interpretation of statutes, especially the taxing ones, which is a dry and to some extent a boring subject. However, this became quite interesting when I read Justice Holmes who valiantly tried to make taxes less odious by means of a felicitous definition. Taxes, he said, “are what we pay for civilized society”. He further remarked, “I like to pay taxes. With them I buy civilization.” His soothing and dutiful remarks were drilled in my mind. Subsequently, I came to notice from a judgment delivered by Hon’ble Justice Dua who observed, in the context of sales tax matter, that – “In our Republic, taxing statutes are designed to see that the burden of taxation falls equally and uniformly, avoiding as far as possible, unjust or unreasonable results. It must never be forgotten that the long range objective of all tax measures is the accomplishment of good social order and for a welfare democratic State revenue is its very blood.” (16 STC 967 P 972) Now, looking forward decades ahead of his remarks, and living in the present grossly corrupt society, I have no hesitation to say whether his above definition of taxes in the context of buying civilized society needs a fresh look. Also, recall our Rishikesh National Tax Conference held on 15-17 November 2013, at Parmartha Ashram, the ‘Theme’ of the Conference was: “Role of Spirituality in Tax Profession.” After in-depth deliberations in which Hon’ble Judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts participated, it was concluded that we buy “peace” by paying our taxes legitimately. This kind of resolution in the context of spirituality was highly acclaimed by the Conference. But it is unfortunate that the State and Union Treasury which is filled up by paying taxes honestly by tightening the belts as per the calls given by the law makers, the treasuries are being emptied by various kinds of scams and nothing is left for the development of the society. Hence, all our Hon’ble Members and readers of this Journal may like to ponder over seriously on this serious lapse committed but not regulated properly in our democracy. Hence, we have to find necessarily a solution for this malady. To support the proposition, following is a brief of the scams:
2. Coming to the subject proper, I would like to share with you two persons, namely, (i) Shri Vijay Mallya and (2) Saharashri Subroto Roy, both celebrated personalities and eminent in their walks of life. The first one borrowed over Rs. 7,000 crore from banks and duped them. The second one allegedly looted common man across the country for an estimated sum of Rs. 24,000 crore and could not prove the source of the money so collected from common man, (Source: Loksatta daily dt. 15-07-2015). Hence, SEBI is chasing and prosecuting him. The authorities initiated criminal cases that went right up to Supreme Court and the Supreme Court in Mallya’s case said – “enormous money power” made him believe that the State should “adjust” its affairs to suit his convenience. (Source: ET dt. 14-7-2015). I am sure you must have read through the press, day in and day out, the cases covered by it. Both have the tenacity and highest degree of egoism to indicate that with their money empire, they can do and undo anything and go scot free. Alas, they were grossly wrong in manipulating the system and when the cases went to Supreme Court, the Supreme Court hit them so hard that they have now lost all the prestige and credibility in the eye of the society. So far so good! But the million dollar question that arises now is, who promoted and supported them to amass this kind of wealth at the cost of State Treasury? Ultimately, the common man who is a fountain of democracy is going to suffer for their misdeeds, which were aided and abetted by the politicians and obedient bureaucracy for their vested interests.
3. As if the above two scams were not enough, Economic Times dt. 15-07-2015 at page 4 reported ‘Rose Valley Scam’ committed by Gautam Kundu who has 700 acres land spread across 12 States, 23 Hotels, 150 odd-cars including a dozen imported luxury vehicles, 900 branch offices and 3,078 bank accounts, according to the Enforcement Directorate.
4. According to the records of the investigating agency, Kundu’s empire is spread over West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar, Assam, Punjab, Delhi, Rajasthan, M.P., Tripura, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh. The Directorate has started listing the landed properties and other assets of Kundu, but investigators claim that his assets could be much more. They claim that the quantum of land Kundu owns could be over 1,000 acres.
5. The Rose Valley Group of Companies had raised Rs. 15,400 crores in last few years, at least 6 times higher than what the now defunct Saradha Group collected from people in West Bengal, Bihar and Odisha. ED now investigating complaints against the group is learnt to have accessed the software and bank data of the Company. The data revealed that the group only returned Rs. 900 crore to investors on maturity. Yogesh Gupta, Special Director, ED (East), confirmed to ET that ED has filed a charge sheet in the case and it is working on a supplementary one. ED further revealed that Rose Valley has 27 companies, but only 6 are active. All other companies are merely on paper. It is reported by ED that Kundu has political access at highest level in all the parties. Still, he has been arrested by ED on March 25, 2015. Now, the law as usual will take its own course.
GREECE DEBT CRISIS
The saying – “Cut your coat according to your cloth”. This principle was ignored by Greece for decades leading to its insolvency in as much as it was not able to pay its debt to IMF. Ultimately, being helpless it has to surrender to the dictates of the European countries, especially to Germany and it was compelled to accept the severe conditions as laid down to bailout the said country. Upon so agreeing to this historical bail out package, Greece would get loan for 3 years for € 86 billion. This is the third package they got so far. With this it is hoped that they will improve their economy by following stricter measures on all fronts and live within their budgeted limits. Otherwise, they will not remain in the cover of Eurozone.
2. Therefore, we must take a lesson from the Greece episode and ensure that various scams that are being taking place today in our country must stop sooner the better. Otherwise, a day will not be far away for us to face similar situation.
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D. H. Joshi