Bombay High Court directs CBDT to clarify Central government's stand
Chamber of Tax Consultants challenges the constitutional validity of 'Faceless Appeal Scheme'
The Bombay High Court has directed the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to clarify the Government of India's stand on the Faceless Appeal Scheme (FAS). The division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice M S Karnik's move follows the public interest litigation (PIL) that challenged the scheme's constitutional validity.
The primary contention raised by the consultants' chamber in its PIL was that FAS would affect the independence of the judicial power of the Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeals).
The other issue raised by the chamber was that if at the first appellate stage, an opportunity for a personal hearing was not granted, the assessee would miss out on two chances of the oral hearing in stages.
Anil Singh, Additional Solicitor-General informed the court that the total pending cases were 4.74 lakh and out of the total appeals, about 56,104 had been disposed of under the new scheme, without any request for a personal hearing.
"So far, in 581 cases, assessees have asked for personal hearing and those cases have been kept aside," he added.
Arvind Datar, appearing for the petitioner, the Chamber of Tax Consultants, informed the court that the top court had clarified that it was not taking up any matter, as the government intended bringing changes in the laws.