Indian Tribunal turns 75
It’s a matter of pride for local bars to witness India’s oldest tribunal ITAT commemorating its platinum jubilee with line up of a galaxy of speakers including President Mukherjee as the guest of honour, FM Jaitley delivering the closing session, ITAT President Justice Sud and Justice Mishra from SC and leading Jurist Harish Salve. A rare opportunity for the fraternity to meet and greet all VP’s, Members and tax professionals coming to gather to further the cause of this great institution, which has not just upheld the constitutional right of rule of law, but it’s judgements are often quoted by international courts.
Past decade has seen transformational change in the function of the body which has effectively dealt with pendency of cases, rendering landmark judgements, enhancing interaction between the bench and bar members. As an international tax and transfer pricing Practitioner, I can merely say that it has rendered a yeomen service to the tax payers and the tax administration with several hundred landmark judgements on complex transfer pricing and tax treaty matters. A significant majority of the Judgements rendered by the tribunals are not just accepted by High Courts, but they find there was in international courts, international tax research and are often referred to by bodies such as international fiscal association and International bar associations in its annual congresses. Besides, no debate on international tax policy at the OECD, G20 and the UN is complete without reference to judgements rendered by the ITAT.
In terms of looking forward to the next decade or perhaps, the diamond jubilee, I anticipate that ITAT will play an even more important role in dealing with complex cross border tax disputes as we enter the OECD lead Base erosion and profit sharing (BEPS) era, which will deal with country by country reporting for transfer pricing, hard to value intangibles, treaty override provision and complex problems arising from e commerce models, just to name a few. Changes in the domestic law necessitated due to law makers wanting to protect country’s tax tax base by legislating the general anti avoidance rules (GAAR) and place of effective management (PoEM) will throw up its own set of challenges in the initial years of administering the law, thereby challenging the ITAT to deal with such matters.
I congratulate and wish the ITAT on this occasion and affirm my faith and commitment to contribute towards strengthening the institution.