Book Reviews
Book Review: The Law & Practice of Income-tax

The 10th edition of this masterpiece has just been launched


The first edition of Kanga & Palkhivala’s The Law & Practice of Income-tax was released in 1950 when Nani Palkhivala was just 30 years old and had practised for five years at the bar. I do not know any other book that became locus classicus which was written by a person at the age of 30.

We call this the 10th edition,...

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Book Review: Kanga & Palkhivala’s ‘The Law & Practice of Income-Tax’ 10th Edition

Launching the 10th edition of Kanga & Palkhivala’s ‘The Law & Practice of Income-Tax’ at Moneylife Foundation event, noted income tax jurist Soli Dastur reviewed the book orally

The classics Kanga & Palkhivala’s ‘The Law & Practice of income-tax’ has been updated by prolific writer and Supreme Court advocate and expert in tax and constitutional law Arvind Datar.

 

Renowned tax jurist Sohrab Erach Dastur, popularly known as Soli Dastur, while speaking at a Moneylife Foundation event to launch 10th edition of Kanga & Palkhivala’s ‘The Law & Practice of income-tax’, talked about the book and Nani Palkhivala. In his oral review, Mr Dastur mentioned some important cases and facts from the book and new features of the book, which is updated by Mr Datar.

 

The 10th Edition has several new and innovative features. Mr Dastur recommends reading the preface by Mr Datar and said, “He (Mr Datar) broaches out all the issues which are very relevant today, and will continue to be relevant in the future as well.  In the 10th edition, what was previously relegated to additional cases is now being incorporated in the main book itself. This gives the reader all the cases and the subjects in one place, so that there is no need to refer to another part of the two volume book.”

 

While telling about the features of the book, Mr Dastur said, “One of the important features of this massive book is to give you food for thought. It is not to be just a compendium of cases, one has to be forthright in his view, express them regardless of whether they are right or wrong. Mr Datar’s views are mainly right but nevertheless one has to express. Mr Datar never hesitated to comment adversely on decided cases or on certain provisions in the Income Tax Act.

 

Mr Datar has condemned the views taken by the Supreme Court in connection with the scope of Section 147 of the Income Tax Act. He has also, in very bold and strong language, condemned the decision of the Full Bench of the Kerala High Court in select cases. Arvind Datar has not hesitated to dish out on how the Supreme Court was wrong in its interpretation of income derived from an undertaking. Also, there are select decisions that Arvind Datar has dealt with, and has condemned certain notions and interpretations which have been taken by the Supreme Court over the years, said Soli Dastur.

 

Mr Datar has condemned the decision of the Supreme Court, which has been quoted so often today in Azadi Bachav and in Turk war, where the Supreme Court gave a revolutionary meaning to the world, “Maybe Taxed,” appearing in the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement, said Mr Dastur.

 

Mr Dastur brings attention on what the Supreme Court says, that if a power to tax is given to an outside country to tax income, it means the residence country has given up his power to tax that. Mr Datar disagrees with this view in the book. “However, we need to remember that this gives us the real meaning to avoidance of double tax as contrasted with relief from double taxation,” Mr Dastur said.

 

In the book, Mr Datar refers to the Direct Tax Code or DTC and wishes that it will never become the law. Echoing the same, Mr Dastur said, “There are various provisions in the Code, which has been interpreted word-by-word and given meaning by the various courts. Therefore, when one tries to express the same intent in the court, the language is changed. So, this gives rise to the possibility of litigation simply because of the wording.”

 

While ending his speech and review, Mr Dastur said, if one wants to know about the modern position of the tax law and practice, this book is an essential part of anyone’s bookshelf, especially budding lawyers, tax practitioners, chartered accountants and even the lay public who has an interest in income tax.

 

The first edition of Kanga & Palkhivala’s ‘The Law & Practice of Income-Tax’ was released in 1950, when Mr Palkhivala was just 30 years old and five years into practice at the bar. Mr Dastur said, “Very few other books go on to become a classic, written by a person at a tender young age.”

 

Mr Dastur, while talking on popularity of book, said, “There were two supplements in between, the supplements of the 6th and 7th edition and there were also reprints of the book on two occasions, reprints in the same year. This shows the popularity of book and there is likely to be a reprint of 10th edition of book well before 2015. It would be good if Mr Datar comes out with an updated edition of the book on 16 January 2020, the birth centenary of Nani Palkhivala.”

 

Author: Arvind Datar

Publisher: LexisNexis

Price: MRP Rs4,995 (Vol. I & II combined)

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COMMENTS

nagesh kini

4 years ago

As an addendum to the book review I'd like to suggest a must read. Mr. Palkhivala's Foreward to the very first edition is a classic piece of English literature. He explains the distinction between 'tax planning' and 'tax evasion'.

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