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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Supreme Court asks Government to Check delays in Direct Tax Appeals

Supreme Court asks  Government to check delays in Income Tax Appeals

The Supreme Court on Monday faulted government departments for dragging their feet on filing tax appeals running into crores and asked the government to put in place a mechanism to cut down the delays. A two-judge bench of the apex court, headed by CJI S H Kapadia and Justice A K Patnaik, expressed concern over the delays and wordered if the "department officials" were "conniving" with the litigants to delay the cases. 

Put in a mechanism to ensure there are no delays, the bench suggested. Monitor it periodically to ensure that things dont go back to the way they were after six months, Kapadia, who retires later this month, told Additional Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran. 

The bench said this while hearing an I-T Department appeal in a case involving a tax claim of Rs.90 crore on Citibank. Parasaran assured the court that these views would be conveyed to the government. He also sought more time to work on streamlining the tax litigation process. The bench gave him time till the next Monday to explain the steps the government proposed to take to deal with the problem. The Supreme Court has indirect tax recovery litigations of around Rs.8,130 crore and the High Courts has recoveries of an estimated. 11,459 crore pending in the courts, as per a statement made by the Minister of State S S Palanimanickam in the Lok Sabha recently. 

This involves 2,855 cases in the Supreme Court and 14,626 cases in the High Courts. 

Direct tax cases involve another Rs.2,707 crore in 5,860 cases in the Supreme Court and Rs.36,340 crore in Rs.29,650 cases in the High Courts.

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