Strengthening and providing more power to the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal could hasten the decisions on disputes related to income tax, considering the clogging of tax related disputes in the High court, said senior advocate S E Dastur. Delivering the K R Ramamani Memorial Lecture on Indian Income Tax: Past & Future during the golden jubilee celebrations of the Revenue Bar Association, Dastur said, that there is a lot of delay in procedures at present, especially in the High Courts. This could be addressed if the tribunal is empowered and strengthened to handle more cases.
The tribunal could be entitled with more powers like the power to grand stay, which would reduce almost 50 per cent of the writ petitions related to the matter pending in the High Court. “The pendency in the High Court related to the matter is tremendous and almost 50 per cent of such writ petitions will go away if the tribunal has more powers,” he said. The basic powers related to the segment should be vested with the tribunal.
The tribunal should also be strengthened, since there are around 40 vacancies for members pending. Total number of posts for members are there in the tribunal, while 86 members are functioning. This leaves around 40 positions vacant, which if filled, would hasten the procedures on more petitions. The tribunal is already disposing the petitions faster than the High Courts, he added. He said that the efforts to bring a new Income Tax legislation has been there from last 15 years and a few reports by the committees related to this are pending with the government for several years. The memorial lecture also briefed on the history of income tax, from its beginning to till date, some of the major observations by the Supreme Court, issues with a few of the verdicts and the future requirements to improve the income tax regulations.