Why Law Minister needs to focus on ITAT!
It is no secret that ITAT has been in the news for many reasons, it ought to not have. The latest is the Delhi HC judgment in the case of 2 senior ITAT members (http://www.taxsutra.com/analysis/9984/Despite-grading-anomaly-ITAT-Members-plea-over-non-promotion-dismissed-Recommends-selection-guidelines )
who had protested as regards their non-promotion to post of ITAT Vice-President. While the High Court refused to interfere with the Selection Committee's order, it did however point out that there were grading anomalies and especially the fact that those members who had lower cumulative grades, had been selected for VP - ITAT post. The following para from HC ruling requires a special mention:
" ... The Central Government should seriously consider continuous oversight through the concerned High Courts, given that High Courts exercise appellate (and supervisory writ) jurisdiction over the orders and proceedings of ITAT and its benches. Some reporting mechanism, preferably centralized, to oversee the quality of the orders of ITAT is essential because the President of ITAT’s powers over members of ITAT and Vice President are not appellate, they are administrative. Creation of this mechanism would result in adding a new and possibly crucial dimension to ensure greater scrutiny of ITAT and its orders and also provide a link in the decision making process of selection to senior judicial positions within ITAT.”
The pendency at ITAT too is reaching alarming proportions, with the latest figure of cases pending disposal, standing at over 90,000. With the new Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad taking charge, one hopes this important institution gets the attention it deserves, and as the HC has rightly observed, the quality of ITAT orders are monitoried and become the key criteria for promotions and transfers.