The deputy director of Income Tax (Exemption), where the RTI petition was transferred, declined to give information on the grounds that the sole cricketing body concerned assessed to tax with his office, GCA, has raised objection to divulge information
The Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA) has declined to divulge the information on the tax exemption it gets from the state authorities under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. Surprisingly, other cricket boards have furnished the information. The same RTI application revealed that the Board for Control of Cricket (BCCI), the world’s richest cricket board, is yet to pay its outstanding tax-dues of Rs373 crore for the assessment year of 2009-10, to the Income-Tax (I-T) department.
Delhi-based RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal, in September 2011, had filed an RTI application with Union sports ministry, seeking information on various types of tax-exemptions such as Income Tax, Entertainment Tax, Excise Duty and Customs Duty given by Union and state governments to national and state-level cricket bodies including BCCI, GCA and Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), among others, in the last five years. The application was further transfer to concern departments for the reply.
The deputy director of Income Tax (Exemption), where the RTI petition was transferred, declined to give information on the grounds that the sole cricketing body concerned assessed to tax with his office, GCA, has raised objection to divulge information.
Anurag Sharma, deputy director of Income Tax (Exemption), Ahemdabad, in his reply said, “With regard to your query and the details sought therein, it is to inform you that the sole cricketing body assessed to tax with this office is the GCA. The said association vide a letter dated 6 February 2011 had raised its objection to any information being divulged under any Act, including the RTI Act, from its records.”
Mr Agrawal says that, “Any objection from GCA is totally irrelevant in view of section 8(2) of RTI Act which clearly stipulates that a public authority may allow access to information if public interest in disclosure outweighs the harm to the protected interests. Rather the CPIO should not have even sought comments of GCA on the RTI petition. Great public interest is involved where even the Union sports ministry has in its affidavit filed before Hon’ able Central Information Commission has taken even Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) as a public authority. The Kerala High Court has held officials of state cricket bodies as public-servants.”
Other boards have given the information out. In the reply, Assistant Commissioner of Income-Tax (Mumbai), revealed that for assessment year 2009-10, on BCCI’s income of Rs964 crore, the total tax of Rs413 crore, was demanded. Of this, only Rs40 crore has been paid and Rs373 is still pending. The RTI reply also said that assessment for 2010-11 and 2011-12 is still pending.
BCCI under Section 11 of the I-T Act, 1961, claimed for exemption as given to a charitable organization. However, the I-T department, in the same RTI reply said that, “The Department has withdrawn registration u/s 12 of IT Act and rejected assessee’s (BCCI) claim for exemption…”
Mr Agrawal says that, “Strict-most action should be taken against concerned ones at BCCI who did not pay adequate advance tax for the assessment-year 2009-10.”
The information also indicates that BCCI’s income has been doubling since 2007-08, where it stood at Rs274 crore. It jumped to Rs608 crore and Rs964 for 2008-09 and 2009-10, respectively.
The Constitution of India says in sum and substance that all of us in this country are entitled to be protected against crime in whatever form it hits us. But what about the starving children, women and children of this country? One cannot hide under the tabled excuse of the distribution system is at fault or that there is ‘leakage’. Fix it, damn it! It is your problem
This is not about a muck encrusted creature from the swamp which has suddenly discovered the power of self expression but about a widely accepted principle of law.
The principle stated in laymanese is that even if you were not present say when a falling brick in a construction site hits a god-knows-why-he-was-there passerby on the head when you were at the site, you (the owner/operator/caretaker of the construction site) are legally liable for the said brick and the said brick—noggin clash. I hope that you are greatly impressed with how I slipped in the legalese and into the laymanese with the clever use of the word ‘said’ not just once. But twice!
(I am sure that lawyers, advocates, solicitors and barristers will all have a point of view on this, shaking their wigged or otherwise wise heads at this flagrant ignorance of the finer legal points. Unfortunately I don’t know the difference between a lawyer, advocate, solicitor and a barrister, so I stand where I am, proud in my lawful naiveté.)
Anyway I heard this term for the first time when I was watching a TV serial about lawyers. I rushed to the fount of all wisdom, Google, and there found the meaning.
So it got me thinking as these things do. I am like an old car on a winter morning, and my brain like a reluctant engine needs to be kick started. The rest of the time I am happy to be in the garage of no use to myself or anyone else.
If res ipsa loquitir (I love saying this, Latin like Sanskrit having a majesty and imperiousness of purport which the English cannot summon) is to apply, then let us consider the constitution of India (C of I) and move forward from there.
The C of I says in sum and substance that all of us in this country are entitled to be protected against crime in whatever form it hits us. The police are there for that purpose presumably as are the courts. And the government, state or central is there for exactly the same reason. They are not rulers but managers and safe keepers of our liberty and security and well-being in general. Think of them as ward nurses in a well-run hospital. In fact if you visualize all the ministers, chief or otherwise, in those lovely white starched uniforms that the dedicated sisters of succour (who for some genetic and socio-economic reason mostly hail from Kerala), you would be well served in your diligent search for mitigated respect for them. Hey you may even chortle to yourself as I do now while writing this!
So when people are hurt in a riot started by person or persons unknown, and I hold no specific opinion on this, even if the government isn’t there, it's their construction site and their brick!
They are liable for damages. Res ipsa loquitir. There I said it again.
So why are governments which are supposed to uphold the law not following it? Good question. And like many good questions like say where do babies come from, it has no good answer. The answer may be found in the latest court verdict censuring the offending government for not fulfilling this constitutional obligation. Which is really strange that the lawmakers and the law keepers are being censured by the law. It's a little similar to what happens to me the day after when I curse myself for having had too good a time the night before. Well not really, but you get the general drift of my argument.
Well, forget the whole compensation bit for a second and the letter of the law. The spirit of the law is a whole another matter, even if you are a teetotaller as many in the not-so-obliquely referred to state profess to be.
At the very least one should practice the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have done unto you. Incidentally this is a golden rule in very single major religion in the world.
In the Mahabharata: Do not to others what ye do not wish done to yourself; this is the whole Dharma. Heed it well.
Or exactly the same from the Jewish Talmud which says, “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbours. That is the entire Torah. The rest is commentary. Go learn it.”
Or in Islam, the Hadith quotes: “No one of you is a believer until you desire for another that which you desire for yourself”.
And in Buddhism. In Zoroastrianism. In Confucianism. In any ism.
And even if you, God forbid, didn’t believe in God or such forces beyond your ken, take heed from one of the greatest Western philosophers of all time, Immanuel Kant who said that there is a supreme categorical imperative for man and for the society he creates and lives in. Which simply says, Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time, will that it should become a universal law.
Simply put, without prejudice to none and with benefit to everyone.
This is the simple universal law.
What in polite company we would call natural justice.
But even this is under serious pressure like a potato in a cooker. Everyday you hear of the Supreme Court taking the government to task for some sin of omission or commission. You would think that by now this public chiding would make the administrators of our country a trifle red faced. (I remember how ashamed I was when my mother scolded me in public. But that’s another long story and I don’t want to relive it, anyway!) But it seems that shame has gone the way of the purple-faced langur; rare and absent from public gaze.
And in addition, now we are being told that there are monsters, oops ministers who are raising the proverbial finger to the Election Commission and the whole legal framework of the election process which is also pretty darned unconstitutional and has required the president of India having to write formally to the prime minister to keep his minions in check.
Tch, Tch. And I would wag a remonstrative finger at them if I could only see them to do so.
But in all of this, what about the starving children, women and children of this country? They were guaranteed protection were they not when they were reincarnated in this country presumably because of extremely bad Karma? The government is responsible, accountable and bloody-well-ought-to-be-floggable for this. One cannot hide under the tabled excuse of the distribution system is at fault or that there is ‘leakage’ (a fabulously devious word for corruption). Fix it, damn it! It is your problem. These are not acts of God, raining thunderbolts on the hapless poor below. This is your linen—wash it.
If I starve, the minister for agriculture, the minister for consumer affairs (please note that has nothing to do with morality in or out the bedroom), and the minister for health should all at the very least be sent to bed for a week without food or water.
Just to show thumping of the table, Res ipsa loquitir, once again.
I am all for the law. Provided it is practiced. Provided it is implemented. And provided it is respected.
Even if there are those who think the law is an ass, justice is not.
(V Shantakumar is the former chairman & CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi in India. He is now the managing partner at Doing Think, a consulting company. Mr Shantakumar has over four decades of wide ranging experience as a marketing strategist and communication specialist and has played a key role in the creation and growth of some significant brands in India.)
The litmus test of the newly-acquired market presence for Fire will come in the next two quarters as Amazon faces off against the arrival of Windows 8 tablets and the much anticipated iPad3
Apple might be beginning to feel the heat from Amazon, with the first signs of real competition emerging from the brisk sales of Amazon Fire in the final quarter of 2011. Amazon seems to be leveraging its well-oiled logistics machine and competitive pricing to finally mount a credible threat to the crushing dominance of Apple in the tablet market. The Seattle-based e-commerce giant shipped 3.9 million units during the fourth quarter of 2011 to garner an impressive 14.3% market share as per a recent study by IHS iSuppli. The stellar debut of Fire helped Amazon leapfrog a host of competitors who have collectively struggled to compete with Apple’s iPad since its launch in April 2010. If the trend holds, we could see the emergence of a first real threat to Apple’s incredible dominance of the tablet market.
Another impressive development has been the emergence of Barnes & Noble’s Nook which managed to ship 3.25 million units in the year, for a 5% market share. The relative success of Fire and Nook point to the consolidation of value priced tablets as a credible form of competition to the dominant ways of Apple.
Clearly, aggressive pricing has enabled Amazon and Barnes & Noble to play a disruptive hand and upset the calculations of the market. First, they forced competitors such as Samsung, RIM (Research In Motion) and Motorola to slash prices—even forcing some to resort to fire sales to dispose inventory. Second, they leveraged a growing ecosystem of free to use apps to lure the price sensitive customer by offering them an alternative that was priced well.
On the evidence available thus far, one may suggest that Fire and Nook have caused more damage in the Android space more than the iOS market. A true picture will only emerge by the third quarter of 2012—during this time, the intensely competitive tablet market is set to experience the arrival of iPad3, Windows 8-based tablets and an increase in tablets on the ARM architecture.
While many analysts believe Windows 8 could help vendors mount a fresh challenge to Apple, the evolution of ARM into the tablet product will enable disruptive pricing strategies. “Although several processor architectures could be used to power tablet SoCs, the rich software ecosystem of the ARM architecture built around smartphones is proving to be a key differentiating factor," said Jim McGregor, Chief Technology Strategist for In-Stat.
In an earlier report this January, iSuppli swam against the tide to express optimism that Nokia is set to revive itself and catalyse the rise of Windows phones. They suggested that driven by instruments such as the Lumia 900, Windows phones would succeed in displacing the iPhone from its position by 2015. If a similar trend were to take play in the tablet space as well, 2012 could be a watershed year for the lucrative tablet market.
With a slew of launches planned for the rest of the year, these are interesting times for the market. All eyes will remain fixed on the space to see if the disruptive influence of Fire and Nook can continue to hold centre-stage and build on the momentum of their debut. The litmus test of the newly-acquired market presence for Fire will come in the next two quarters as Amazon faces off against the arrival of Windows 8 tablets and the much anticipated iPad3.
It is game on in the tablet market and 2012 could turn out to be year when the market finally starts mounting a credible challenge to the monumental dominance of Apple.