Citizens' Issues
Japanese PM’s presence at Republic Day highlights absence of US and Canadian leaders

Japan needs India's moral support while dealing with China, who has been bullying almost all the countries in the Far East

On 26th January, couple of weeks from now, India will be celebrating the 65th Republic Day parade, with the Japan prime minister Shinzo Abe as chief guest. It is a well known that Shinzo Abe is a staunch supporter of India.


Since India became a Republic, it has become a tradition to invite the head of a friendly foreign country to be the chief guest, as the State Guest of Honour for the Republic Day. President Sukarno of Indonesia was the first guest in 1950. Generally, the guest country is chosen after a great deal of deliberation, taking into account the strategic importance, economic and political ties, and the cultural connections.


Leaders of some countries have been invited several times, like King Jigme Wanghuk of Bhutan, and the list of such heads of nations is long and covers a lot of countries. It includes friends and foes; both Pakistan (Governor General Malik Ghulam Muhammad in 1955) and Marshal Ye Jianying of China (in 1958) had shared this honour. In fact, a minister from Pakistan was accorded this honour in 1965 when the Indo-Pak war broke out.


Other prominent leaders include Kliment Voroshilov of USSR, Queen Elizabeth II of UK, Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia, Jacques Chiraq of France, Nelson Mandela of South Africa, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud of Saudi Arabia, Malcolm Fraser of Australia, Portillo of Mexico, Dr Cardoso of Brazil, to name a few well known names. Closer to home, we have had the Presidents of Sri Lanka, Maldives who joined us to celebrate as chief guests on the occasion.


But leaders from the US and Canada, for instance, are conspicuous by their absence! India is the world's largest democracy, while US is the most powerful democracy in the world. And yet, the President of United States has not been our honoured guest to join us and celebrate our Republic Day. We have had friendly American Presidents (like John Kennedy, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, for instance) but the fact remains they had not come to be the chief guest.


It is possible that invitations may have been given to some of them but their security detail may have warned against such a move because of the risk factors or the inability to protect with confidence in a foreign country like India. Whatever may be the case, even for unspecified reasons, the absence of President of US, in our national celebrations, is an unpardonable lapse on the Indian Government. Similar is the case with Canada. Don't we have millions of Indians living in these countries? Don't we have close trade, industrial and other relations? Their absence is a diplomatic failure.


Perhaps, after the new government is sworn in 2014, it is our sincere hope that this great lapse is rectified and we have the president of the US to join the Indian leaders in the Red Fort to celebrate the 66th Republic Day function, and thereafter the Canadian prime minister.


Reverting back to Shinzo Abe, it may be recalled, soon after he became the prime minister (thanks to the support received from New Komeito Party by Liberal Democratic Party of Shinzo Abe), the currency swap arrangement was trebled from $15 billion to $50 billion, to mutually benefit both the countries. During his current term as prime minister, India may expect to have great cooperation and continuous Japanese investments in India. Expansion of trade and friendly relations are certain.


Also Japan needs India's moral support when dealing with China, who has been bullying almost all the countries in the Far East. China threatened action in relation to Senkaku Islands (which China calls as Daioyu) over flying aircrafts but Japanese defence forces called their bluff by taking their air force to the sky; and in support, USA rallied behind Japan to bring back some sense of relief. It was through the able support given by prime minister Shinzo Abe, recently, the Emperor of Japan travelled to India after several decades.


No doubt, Shinzo Abe will be accompanied by a large delegation from Japan and India can look forward to greater cooperation and trade with that country.


(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce. He was also associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)


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Tax administration needs to follow greater compliance, says Soli Dastur

Launching the 10th edition of Kanga & Palkhivala’s ‘The Law & Practice of income-tax’ in Mumbai noted income tax jury Soli Dastur said there is a need to improve tax administration. The 10th edition of this classic book has been updated by prolific writer and senior advocate Arvind Datar


Renowned tax jurist Sohrab Erach Dastur, popularly known as Soli Dastur, said today that income tax (I-T) will be respectable if greater compliance is encouraged for all, especially those who administer it. He was speaking at a Moneylife Foundation event to launch 10th edition of Kanga & Palkhivala’s ‘The Law & Practice of income-tax’ updated by prolific writer and senior advocate Arvind Datar, in Mumbai. The packed audience of Moneylife Foundation was also addressed by the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Sam Bharucha. Also present in the dias was Behram A Palkhivala, the brother of Nani Palkhivala.


Lauding the efforts taken by Mr Datar in updating the book, Mr Dastur said, “This is not just a compendium of I-T related cases, but Mr Datar has not hesitated to comment on certain judgements and provisions of the I-T Act. Mr Datar even criticised a few decisions given by Courts like the reopening of assessment.”


Expressing unhappiness over courts deliberating over cases where some other court has already given judgements after word to word scrutiny of the I-T law, Mr Dastur said, “(The Courts) should not start fresh look again and again. Courts really need to be updated about such cases by advocates.”


Talking about modern tax laws, Mr Dastur said, “There is a need to improve tax administration. If you don’t give tax credit where it is due, then taxpayers would not respect you.”  


Mr Dastur also expressed that Mr Datar should come out with updated edition of the book on 16 January 2020, the birth centenary of Nani Palkhivala. Replying to this, Mr Datar said he would try and bring not 11th but 12th edition of this classic book. He also informed the audience about the overwhelming response received for the 10th edition and how the publishers, LexisNexis are compelled to reprint the edition in such a short time due to huge demand.


The first edition of Kanga & Palkhivala’s ‘The Law & Practice of income-tax’ was released in 1950 when Palkhivala was just 30. The success of the book triggered off a copyright-infringement suit by Sampath Iyengar, the author of “Law of Income-tax” and an accomplished lawyer. Mr Iyengar argued that Palkhivala had copied from his book.


How Mr Iyengar built his case and how Mr Palkhivala defended himself successfully is a fascinating and compelling story in itself. Interestingly, the judgement of Madras High Court in this case has not been reported in most of the law journals even though it was the first in India on copyright violations related with a commentary on a statute. Legal luminaries Soli Sorabjee and Arvind Datar have put together the fascinating battle between Mr Iyengar and Mr Palkhivala, two of the finest legal minds, in a book called, "Nani Palkhivala: The Courtroom Genius".


Coming back to the ‘The Law & Practice of income-tax’, after the demise of Palkhivala, the publisher brought in Supreme Court lawyer Dinesh Vyas to update the book. Mr Vyas ensured that the core of the book remains untouched and only necessary updates were added in the book.


For the latest and 10th edition, the publishers handed over the baton to lawyer cum author Arvind Datar. The book contains a pure statement of the law, based on case law and the statute, as amended from time to time. In contrast with other books, the focus is not on computations and administrative matters but an exposition of the principles governing income-tax law. The commentary by Mr Datar also takes into account all the amendments right up to the present date.


The two volume book also comes with a CD that contains entire text of Income Tax Act (1922 and 1961), the Income Tax Rules, the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement as well as important circulars and all allied Acts and Rules.




Ameet Patel

3 years ago

Three cheers for Moneylife team for holding this event. Kanga and Palkhivala's treatise on tax is a bible for tax practitioners. I am sure that the quality of the book would remain top class with the involvement of Mr Data.

Avinash Murkute

3 years ago

Those who have filed IT returns after the due date have received the refund and those who respected Deadline are still waiting. May be next week, in couple of weeks, very soon.

nagesh kini

3 years ago

The foreword to the first book by Mr. Palkhivala is a piece of classic English literature that brings out his first love for the English language - he'd have been Prof. NAP had he not been rejected "for want of teaching experience". I strongly suggest it as a must read for all, even to those not knowing tax laws.
He also brings out effectively the fine distinction between "tax planning" as being patently legal and "tax evasion" that is blatantly illegal. This was later confirmed by what now goes by as the famous "McDowell Judgement."

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