Supreme Court appoints New Bench for Tax and Criminal cases

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The Supreme Court of India has formed a new special bench to hear taxation cases from March 9, 2015 onwards. The move has been taken in a bid to deal with a massive backlog of around 10,843 cases.

The apex court’s initiative has already drawn favorable response from various concerned circles including investors who had been worried about the slow progress of tax cases in the country. It is worth mentioning here that tax cases alone amounts to nearly one-fifth of all cases in the Supreme Court.

It is a welcome move, it is a good move. More than reducing pendency, it will result in expeditious and quick disposal of tax cases. In fact, as time passes, you will need more than one bench to deal with the quantum of cases,” said Vikas Srivastava, tax partner at Luthra and Luthra, a law firm, as reported by the LiveMint.

Meanwhile, senior advocate Arvind Datar, a tax specialist stated that it is a “step in the right direction”.

“The Supreme Court has taken a crucial decision to expedite criminal appeals when a person is in custody. The norm in the Supreme Court is that a person must surrender in a Criminal SLP (special leave petition) before it can be heard, and only in rare cases is a person given exemption from surrender. Since by and large, the rule in the Supreme Court is that bail is not granted at the first stage—at the stage of admission—a dedicated bench being created for hearing appeals of persons in custody would further the cause of justice both for the accused and the victim.”

Meanwhile, B T Kaul, chairperson of Delhi Judicial Academy, also welcomed the move by saying: “I hope that the bench is constituted and cases are put on fast track. It provides hope for those people languishing in jail. Criminal justice moves at a slow pace. It is important to uphold the civil liberties of people. There are a variety of reasons why bail is denied, some people cannot afford to pay the amount.”

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