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Report No. 79

III. Central Tax Court and Benches

17.9. Preference of this Commission for view taken by earlier Commission A.-

While we are in agreement with the view of the Chokshi Committee1 that there should be a continuous Atting of the tax Benches in the High Courts if the volume of work so warrants,2 and also as to the desirability of deputing those judges on such Benches as have a grounding in the tax laws, we would as regards its proposal for creating a Central Tax Court, express our preference for the view taken by the High Courts Arrears Committee presided over by Mr. Justice Shah and by the Law Commission in its 58th Report in so far as they arrived at the conclusion against the formation of the Central Tax Court.3

The main reason which weighed with the Chokshi Committee in recommending the establishment of a Central Tax Court was the inability of the High Courts to cope with the number of references which were made to them under the tax laws. In our view, low disposal of references relating to direct tax laws can be adequately remedied by resorting to continuous sitting of tax Benches in the High Courts where the volume of work so warrants. In High Courts where there are not sufficient number of tax references, the tax Bench can have a continuous sitting till all the ready tax matters are disposed of. As mentioned earlier,4 the view of the Chokshi Committee is based on the assumption that a constitutional amendment is required.

1. Para. 17.8, supra.

2. See also para. 17.5, supra.

3. Para. 17.7, supra.

4. Para. 17.8, supra.

17.10. Frequent constitutional changes not favoured.-

We are not in favour of too frequent changes of the Constitution. The Constitution is our basic law and there should be a resort to amendment of its provisions only in exceptional situations of the most compelling nature. Amendment of the Constitution is not the answer to meet the general run of administrative and other difficulties. There is an element of sanctity about the provisions of the Constitution and although we do not suggest that they be canonised or given a stamp of deification we are averse to suggesting changes of the constitutional provisions with a view to taking us out of every difficulty, fancied or genuine.

17.11. Inconvenience to assesses.-

Another reason which has also weighed with us in agreeing with the conclusion of the High Courts Arrears Committee1 and the Law Commission as in its 58th Report2 is the inconvenience to which the assesses would be subjected if, when they feel aggrieved, they have to go outside their State in appeal or reference against the order of the Appellate Tribunal. It is plain that according to the Report of the Chokshi Committee3 the proposed Central Tax Court would not function in all the States. This would make it necessary in quite a number of cases for the assesses to go to other States for approaching the Central Tax Court.

1. Para. 17.9, supra.

2. Para. 17.9, supra.

3. Para. 17.9, supra.

17.12. Conflicting views unavoidable.-

It is, no doubt, true that the disposal of references by the various High Courts sometimes results in different and conflicting views. This in the very nature of things, cannot be helped. It, howeyer, needs to be mentioned that as stated elsewhere,1 the Appellate Tribunal2 empowered to make a reference direct to the Supreme Court of a question of law, if the Tribunal is of the opinion that, on account of a conflict in the decisions of High Courts in respect of any particular question of law, it is expedient that a reference should be made direct to the Supreme Court.

1. See para. 17.17, infra.

2. Section 156, Income-tax Act, 1961.

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