Report No. 162
Supplementary Questionnaire on Income-Tax and Cegat Tribunal
1. After Question 3(e), we add:
"(e)(i) Would you suggest, in the light of the above, that, as in the case of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CA) the retiring age of the President and Vice-President should be raised to 65 years while in the case of other members it may continue at 62 years?
(e)(ii) As a corollary to the above, would you suggest that the post of President and/or Vice President of these Tribunals should be restricted only to a sitting/or retired Judge of a High Court or would you make it available for promotion to Judicial and/or technical or accountant Members of the Tribunals aswell? Would you restrict the eligibility of Members only to the posts of Vice-President and that too only to a proportion of such posts?
2. At the end of the second part of Question 3(f), we add:
"Considering that two of the three qualifications referred to earlier are also qualifications which make a person eligible to be considered for appointment as a High Court Judge, in what way do you consider it possible to raise the status of the members consistent with the status to be prescribed for the President and/ or Vice President."
3. After Question No. 6, insert the following:
"6A. Do you agree that whichever authority for selection is constituted, it should be in charge of selection of all members - both Judicial and technical members - of the Tribunal?
6B. Should such Selection Board be also constituted as Promotion Committee to decide, from time to time, on the promotion of members of the Tribunal as Vice-President/President, if eligible under the rules?
6C. Would you suggest any other powers to the Selection Board in matters of administration of the Tribunal?"
5. After Question 8, we insert the following question:
"8A. Another suggestion is that a partial abrogation of the reference procedure - by eliminating the need to apply to the Tribunal for reference to the High Court in the first instance and, on failure, to apply to the High Court for a mandamus - and substituting it by a simple procedure of seeking a direction from the High Court for a reference only on substantial questions of law arising out of the Tribunal's order would
(i) eliminate a step in the present law which only causes delay and is perhaps unnecessary; and
(ii) make the system almost as good and effective as a direct appeal to the High Court from the Tribunal's order. What are your views on these suggestions."
6. After Question 10(i), insert the following:
"(ia) Will not the provision of such a court or tribunal be really the repetition of a provision for tax assesses of a third tier of appeal while litigants in other branches of law have, in general, only two tiers of appeal available to them?"
7. In Question 10, add after (ii)
"(iii) How far do you think such regional Benches will be able (a) to cope up with the workload involved which at present is distributed among several High Courts and (b) to fulfil the objective of carrying justice nearer to the doorstep of the assessees?"
7. In Question 10(iii) add:
"Could there be any objection to this course if the Tribunal proposed either consists - only of Judicial members or, if it is provided that only Benches of the Tribunal consisting of such members will deal with such questions?"
8. After Question 15 we add:
"(a) Do you agree that the Constitution of a single National Tax Court or National Tribunal (in place of the existing tribunals) will effectively solve the vexed problem of a conflict of judicial opinion and promote certainty in the law or would you suggest that the existence of conflicts is necessary and healthy to promote a full discussion of all points of view open on any question?"