Mumbai-based Trade Association of Information Technology (TAIT), recently conducted its Knowledge Series workshop at Mumbai to address issues related to disputes arising out of dishonor of cheques, and Income Tax issues faced by their members.
The workshop was addressed by Vijay Agarwal, Founder of Bounced Cheque Victims Forum and Vimal Punmiya, CA and Vice Chairman of All India Business Council. Both speakers talked about the need for members to put up a united front against the prevailing sloth in the judicial system, especially in cheque dishonor cases and disputes related to the Income Tax Act and Direct Taxes.
According to the ‘Society for Fast Justice’, in Mumbai alone there are more than 3 lakh cheque bounce cases pending with the courts, with the litigation running for anywhere between one year to ten years. While the law related to incidents of cheque dishonour says that cases should be disposed of within six months, the courts themselves don’t aide by this guideline. As a result, common citizens and small business owners face a lot of harassment at the hands of petty officials.
Secondly, Maharashtra is the only state in India that charges 2 percent court fee from the petitioner to file a cheque dishonor case in a court of law. Therefore, it has been estimated that an amount of more than Rs. 25,000 crore is involved in cheque dishonor disputes in Maharashtra alone. As a result, the court fee collected is estimated to be of the order of Rs. 500 crore.
Insisting on the need to protest and fight collectively against delays and imposition of unnecessary penalties by the judiciary in cheque dishonour cases, Vijay Agarwal, Founder of Bounced Cheque Victims Forum said, “The business community is being made to suffer in terms of wasted man days, and opportunity loss, due to inefficient functioning of the judicial system. In fact, the Government of Maharashtra is penalizing any petitioner who wishes to seek justice through the courts by imposing a 2 percent court fee on the amount of the cheque returned unpaid. No other state in India charges such a fee from the petitioner.”
Agarwal also added that despite having collected hundreds of crores of rupees by way of court fee, the judiciary in Maharashtra has not been able to build necessary quality infrastructure or fill vacancies in courts. He appealed to the business community to join ‘Society for Fast Justice’ which has decided to file an appeal with the courts for justice to be meted out to cheque dishonor petitioners.
Vimal Punmiya, CA and Vice Chairman of All India Business Council addressed the members on the issue of recent reforms made in the Income Tax Act and various benefits available to the business community. He enlightened members on the voluntary disclosure of undisclosed Income Tax scheme and the Direct Taxes disputes resolution scheme.
Punmiya said, “The recent amendments made to the Income Tax Act relate to withdrawal of appeals category in scrutiny proceedings, various reliefs, rebates and exemptions given to the assessee in recent editions of the Union Budget, changes in compliance procedures and the presumptive taxation scheme.”
He also discussed the benefits available to business organisations and the rights and duties of the assessee during income tax proceedings.
Rajendra J. Thacker, President, Society For Fast Justice said, “Delay in justice is the root cause of all illegal activities. Lack of deterrent punishment to culprits is another cause for all undesired activities taking place in the society. This laxity on the part of the government and the courts has encouraged the unscrupulous and the wrongdoers to carry on their illegal activities with impunity.”
The ‘Society For Fast Justice’ was formed with an objective to provide speedy, affordable justice to citizens through the courts. It takes up local common issues affecting citizens, non-response from public agencies and direct or indirect issues affecting citizens. The forum has filed three PILs (public interest litigations) in the Bombay High Court and provides free legal advice to citizens on various issues.
Several TAIT members appreciated the sessions.