Arbitrary or excessive tax is also social injustice: CJI S.A. Bobde

Chief Justice of India Sharad Arvind Bobde on Friday said tax evasion is an injustice to fellow Indian citizens but arbitrary or excessive tax also results in social injustice by the government.

His observation gains significance as it comes against the backdrop of the Union Budget for 2020-21 set to be unveiled on February 1.

In his address at at an event held to mark the 79th Foundation ceremony of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, Chief Justice Bobde said imposition of excessive tax is also a kind of social injustice on the people.

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"While tax evasion is a social injustice to fellow citizens, arbitrary or excessive tax also results in social injustice by a government."

He insisted that the tax judiciary plays a very important role in resource mobilisation for the country and a speedy dispute resolution is considered a tax incentive.

"To the tax collector, efficient tax judiciary ensures tax demands originating from legitimate assessments are not strangled in delayed litigation," he added.

Although, the top judge did not make any comment on the health of the economy, especially when the country is facing an economic slowdown in the backdrop of high inflation and a weakening rupee, he insisted that delays in administration of justice are of paramount concern, and this has led to the creation of tribunals.

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Chief Justice Bobde also stressed on the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI), saying it can play a significant role in tribunal's docket management and decision-making.

He said AI can be used in only repetitive areas of decision-making, that is rate of taxation etc, or something, and something which is mechanical should be covered by AI.

"AI should not be allowed to substitute human discretion, which is necessary for decision making. The AI systems we are looking to employ in court possess reading speed of one million characters' per second."