Arbitrary tax collection results in social injustice, says CJI

CJI SA Bobde, sharad arvind bobde, arbitrary tax collection, budget 2020, Union budget 2020, indian express

Chief Justice of India S A Bobde at the 79th Foundation Day celebrations of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal in New Delhi on Friday. (Express Photo: Praveen Khanna)

A week ahead of the Union Budget, Chief Justice of India Sharad Bobde Friday said while tax evasion by citizens is social injustice, excessive and arbitrary tax collection by government also results in social injustice.

“Excessive taxation can be seen as a tool of creating social injustice by the government,” he said addressing the 79th Foundation Day celebrations of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT).

Making a case for speedy adjudication of tax related disputes, he said, “To the tax collector, an efficient tax judiciary assures that demands arising out of legitimate assessment are not strangled in judicial delay. To the tax payer, a just and speedy tax dispute resolution is an incentive.”

The CJI said even though the Supreme Court had remarked that tribunals had not performed upto the expectations of the statute, ITAT stood as an exception.

“If there is one tribunal that is known for its professional excellence, independence and neutrality, it is the ITAT,” he said.

Set up in 1941, ITAT is the oldest tribunal in the country. It has 84 members against a sanctioned strength of 126.

The chief justice also cautioned against the idea setting up more tribunals to resolve tax disputes efficiently. “You have to be careful about that and see to it that pendency is not simply transferred from high courts to tribunals. Resolution is important,” he said.

CJI Bobde stressed on the need to use technology and artificial intelligence for dispute resolution. “Human discretion can never be replaced by technology, but in cases which are repetitive and mechanical, artificial intelligence must be deployed,” he said.