A Writ Petition was drafted and filed by Mr. V. P. Gupta, a Senior Member of the Federation, on behalf of the Federation before Hon’ble Delhi High Court in 2013 in regard to delay in adjudication of appeals by CIT(A)s. It was contended that in terms of Section 250(6A) of the Income Tax Act appeals should be decided within a period of one year whereas appeals are pending for quite number of years. There should be clear directions and guidelines to decide the appeals within the time envisaged in law. It was prayed that Hon’ble Court should issue directions to increase number of CIT(A) s, improve infrastructure available to CIT(A)s, decide the appeals in chronological manner and also pass the orders within a time frame after conclusion of hearing. This was done under the guidance of Mr. S.R. Wadhwa, Chairman of Direct Tax Representation Committee. Mrs. Prem Lata Bansal, Past President and Sr. Advocate has been regularly appearing and representing the AIFTP before the Court alongwith Mr. S. R. Wadhwa, Mr. V.P. Gupta and other advocates from their offices. The matter has been going on for last 10 years. Matter had come up before the court on more than 40 dates. It was vehemently argued on every date that Government in not taking necessary steps to eliminate the delay and delay is causing harassment and also financial loss to assesses. Repeated issues are not settled for number of years and determination of final tax liability remains pending. Reply filed before the Court in 2014 was not satisfactory and therefore, Hon’ble Court was requested to direct the Government to submit its action plan in the matter. The Hon’ble Court was pleased to accept the request and had directed the Government to submit their action plan to do the needful. No reply was filed on behalf of the Government for long period of 9 years and adjournments were sought again and again. Lastly, an additional affidavit was filed on behalf of the government as per directions of the Hon’ble court on 09.10.2023. In the Affidavit though the government accepted that pendency of appeals has been increasing year after year, it submitted that serious efforts are being made to reduce the pendency. It has been stated that efforts are being made to fill up vacant posts. Number of sanctioned posts are also in the process of being increased. Targets are also fixed for disposal of appeals by each CIT(A) s in action plan every year. The matter came up for hearing before the Hon’ble Court on 01.11.2023. The case was argued on behalf of the of the AIFTP by Mrs. Prem Lata Bansal, Sr. Advocate and Past President. It was argued that averments made on behalf of the government in the affidavit are not new. They have been saying the same thing in the past but there has been no change in the position. Number of vacancies have further increased and total number of CIT(A)s working are even less then the number informed earlier. Neither vacancies have been filed in nor post have been increased. As per their own version total number of CIT(A) s required to dispose of the appeals in time frame is 570 whereas sanctioned strength is of 349 and actual working strength is of 229 Commissioners. Pendency is increasing year after year resulting in more harassment to the assesses. It was further argued that in spite of the fact that appeals are not decided, demands are recovered from the assesses. It was also argued that government is paying interest only @ 6% on the refunds allowed against demand wrongly recovered whereas interest is charged by the government @ 12%. It was requested that directions should be issued not to recover any demand till the pendency of appeal whereas as per instructions of CBDT at least 20% of demand is required to be paid by an assessee and even after payment of 20% of demand any refund becoming due to assessee is also adjusted by the department against the balance outstanding demand. Counsel for the government argued that disposal of appeals at the earliest is on high priority of the CBDT and action plan is made every year keeping in view higher number of disposal. Targets are also given to CIT(A)s. The government has also appointed Additional / Joint Commissioners (Appeals) for early disposal of small appeals. Increase in number of sanctioned posts of Commissioners and filling the vacant posts are in process. The Hon’ble Court after hearing the matter on 01.11.2023 reserved the order and judgment has been pronounced on 06.11.2023. Vide the aforesaid judgment the Hon’ble Court has expressed its satisfaction as regards the efforts made by the government, however, vide para 10 of the judgment the Hon’ble court has directed the government to take appropriate measures to fill up all vacant posts and also increase the sanctioned strength of Commissioner (Appeals) so as to achieve the target. It can be expected that the judgement of the Hon’ble Court would bring some positive results in time to come.

The correct thing for us to do is to strive for a democratic Raj in which the Hindus, the Muslims and the other communities may participate as Indians and not as followers of any particular religion.

If I had the power to influence Indian journals, I would have the following headlines printed in bold letters on the first page: Milk for the infants, food for the adults, and education for all.”

– Lala Lajpat Rai