With only a few days to go for the Union Budget, Chief Justice of India SA Bobde today asked the central government to take steps to reduce the tax burden on citizens and ensure the country's all-round development.
Speaking at an event held to mark the 79th Foundation ceremony of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal in the national capital, Chief Justice Bobde said that "excessive taxation" can be seen as a form of social injustice imposed on the people. "While tax evasion is social injustice to fellow citizens, arbitrary or excessive tax also results in social injustice by the government itself," he added.
The top judge's suggestion comes at a time when the country's economy is going through a worrying growth slowdown amid high inflation and a weakening rupee. Retail inflation rose to about five-and-half year high of 7.35 per cent in December 2019, further increasing the burden on the common people, mainly due to spiralling prices of vegetables such as onions.
The spiralling inflation has helped sharpen the opposition's attacks on the government. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi recently said that unemployment and rising prices of essential commodities have thrown the country into a state of "financial emergency".
Opposition parties also claim that the country's trading community is still suffering because of the "hasty introduction" of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime in 2017.
In his address, Chief Justice Bobde also stressed on the part played by the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal in ensuring that taxation-related disputes are resolved swiftly. "Tax judiciary plays a very important role in resource mobilisation of the country. A just and speedy dispute resolution is perceived as a tax incentive by the taxpayer. To a tax collector, an efficient tax judiciary ensures that demands arising out of legitimate assessments are not strangled by delayed litigation," he said.