We at Tax Research Foundation (TRF) as you would appreciate are committed to the cause of each and every tax practitioner and more particularly Chartered Accountants (CA’s). In view of the mounting pressure on the CA’s on account of Finance Ministry’s Press Release dated 09.09.2015, stating that the due date of returns falling due on or before 30.09.2015 would not be extended, an effort was taken to invoke the jurisdiction of the Hon’ble High Court of Judicature at New Delhi, moreso, when all round petitions and representations by various forums, NGO’s and Institutes, including the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), were rejected by way of a non speaking and unreasoned Press Release.
A copy of the said WRIT petition was circulated to all professionals across India, not only to have their professional inputs, but also to have their suggestions in this regard on ‘Everybody’s Writ’. All along the course of preparation of the Writ, or its representations, or arguments, we have received unconditional and unilateral blessings and support from the members at large of the fraternity for which we are thankful from the core of our heart and with folded hands. It was but, not for this strength, by way of blessings, suggestions and the support, that we would not have been able to put forward our arguments before the Learned Single Judge during the course of hearing on 21.09.2015.
Let us assure you that there was not even a single argument or contention in ‘Everbody’s Writ’ which remained unmentioned during the course of arguments lasting for about one and half hours in a packed court room, which was witnessed by some of the Doyens of the Legal Practice. In fact we find ourself humbled by satisfactory appreciations upon the completion of the arguments of such legal luminaries. This strength would not have been there but for your involvement and silent prayers for the success of “Everybody’s Writ”.
Professional Colleagues, this is a HISTORICAL MOMENT in the tax administration when for the first time since inception of the Income Tax Act, that any Court would have directed the CBDT to timely notify the return forms and other IT forms or lest record the reasons in writing for not doing the same.
The relevant para of the order is reproduced herewith as under, verbatim,
“22. Notwithstanding having held so, I am of the view that there is however some merit, if not legal then otherwise, in the grievance of the petitioner. The counsel for the respondents appearing on advance notice is unable to give the reasons for the forms etc. being not available at the beginning of the assessment year on 1st April of every year and the same thereby causing inconvenience to the practitioners of the subject. There is sufficient time available to the Government, after the Finance Act of the financial year, to finalise the forms and if no change is intended therein, to notify of the same immediately. There appears to be no justification for delay beyond the assessment year in prescribing the said forms.Accordingly, though not granting any relief to the petitioner for the current assessment year, the respondents are directed to, with effect from the next assessment year, at least ensure that the forms etc. which are to be prescribed for the Audit Report and for filing the ITR are available as on 1st April of the assessment year unless there is a valid reason therefor and which should be recorded in writing by the respondents themselves, without waiting for any representations to be made. The respondents, while doing so, to also take a decision whether owing thereto any extension of the due date is required to be prescribed and accordingly notify the public.”
Let us assure each one of you that our journey has not culminated with the passing of the above order. Indeed it’s a beginning for a new future, which would be extention free. Where each of us would be able to not only know the law but also the forms well in advance. Where we would not be required to burn the midnight oil for our clients, but surely where we would have more quality time to be spend with family, friends and on ourselves.
Be that as it may, it is assured that no stone would be left unturned so as to take the above issue to a logical and pragmatic end, where the courts should not only look at the inconvenience caused to the assessee and CA’s but also to them on account of manifold litigations. All along, the efforts of our professional brethren who are contesting similar issues before other Courts are also commendable and their views and suggestions are making each of us ‘one and one eleven’.
We are contemplating to challenge the above order dated 21.09.2015 before the Hon’ble Division Bench of Delhi High Court and the legal process in this regard has already been initiated from the midnight of 23rd September 2015. After all we CA’s are the one ‘who remain awaken even amongst those slept’. The further appeal is likely to be filed by today afternoon followed by an appropriate mentioning before the Hon’ble Court, moreso, when the time is of the utmost essence under these pressing circumstances.
May we therefore request each of you, as earlier, to support the cause of profession by coming forward with your suggestions, views and advices, on the order dated 21.09.2015 which shall act as path finder to us. These suggestions, views and advices, may kindly be shared on highest priority at the following mail ID: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A copy of the order dated 21.09.2015 passed by Learned Single Judge of Hon’ble Delhi high Court is available here
Waiting in anticipation.
Yours Team TRF,