Supreme Court tax bench arrives!
So the eagerly awaited/much needed tax bench at the Supreme Court is here and the judges sitting on the bench will surely inspire lot of confidence in tax litigants - i.e. both tapayers and Revenue. Justice A.J. Sikri and Justice Rohinton Nariman, both of whom possess rich experience in dealing with tax laws, are the designated judges for the bench, that started working yesterday, March 9.
Justice Sikri, as Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, delivered several high profile tax judgments including one on re-assessment, where heading a full bench of the Court, he wrote the majority judgment in favour of Revenue. Justice Sikri in the instant case, drew a thin line between change of opinion and failure to form an opinion, by AO (http://www.taxsutra.com/analysis/6380/Full-Bench-lays-down-law-on-Re-opening-Justice-Easwar-dissents ). At the Supreme Court, Justice Sikri wrote the pathbreaking judgment for the Constitution bench that struck down the National Tax Tribunal (http://www.taxsutra.com/analysis/10903/Key-Excerpts-from-SC-judgment-striking-down-National-Tax-Tribunal. He also sat on the bench with Justice Radhakrishnan, when the Court upheld the Delhi HC judgment imposing concealment penalty on income voluntarily offered by assessee to avoid litigation ( http://www.taxsutra.com/analysis/7039/Upholds-concealment-penalty-on-income-voluntarily-offered-to-avoid-litigation.
Justice Nariman, former Solicitor General, is well known in tax fraternity for arguing the highly controversial Vodafone tax case at the Supreme Court. While he may have not been able to win the case for Revenue, nevertheless his arguments at the apex court in the long drawn battle, were sheer poetry! So forceful were his arguments that then Finance Minister Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, while retrospectively amending Sec. 9, to overcome Chief Justice Kapadia's adverse judgment, almost lifted the words used by then Solicitor General Nariman in the courtroom.
While the news is welcome for tax professionals for more reasons than one, this article in Mint delves in some detail about how the formation of this bench will impact the over 10,000 pending tax cases at apex court! http://www.livemint.com/Politics/zS9slLqZu3ySWkAHEBvv6M/Why-the-Supreme-Courts-tax-bench-is-timely.html