ITAT’s note on department’s General Grievances in the matter of representation and adjudication of cases fixed before each bench of ITAT Delhi

NOTE, dated 21-1-2013

The CIT-DR (Admn.), vide letter dated 27th December, 2012, (Annexure) has expressed their grievance with regard to cases fixed before each Bench, which usually exceed 20. She has stated that due to paucity of manpower with the Department and the large number of fixation, it becomes very difficult for the Departmental Representatives to handle those cases.

2. The policy of fixing the new appeals on the 60th day of filing of appeal was framed when the total pendency of Delhi Benches was reduced to around 5,000 appeals. However, now the pendency of Delhi Benches as on 1st January, 2013 has increased to 11,899. From the last several months, the institution of appeals is much more than the disposal. Out of the nine Benches sanctioned for Delhi, only six Benches are functional. In the above circumstances, the fixation of new appeals on the 60th day of the filing of appeal has become impracticable. Moreover, the variation in the number of appeals fixed for hearing each day is mainly because of fixation of new appeals on the 60 day. In the above circumstances, in my opinion, the policy of fixing the new appeals on the 60th day of the filing of appeal should be dispensed with for the time being. These new cases are to be fixed in regular course.

3. Accordingly, the following directions are issued:-

 (i) The new appeals should not be fixed on the 60th day of filing of appeal but should be kept pending and be fixed in due course.

(ii) It is to be ensured that the cases fixed before each Bench every day should not exceed 20 except covered or group matters. If on any day the regular cases fixed are much more than 20, then, after taking the order from the Vice President, the excess cases should be adjourned to the next available date.

4. The above letter of the Department is to be circulated to the learned Members of Delhi Benches so that they can keep in mind the grievance expressed by the Department.

ANNEXURE

General grievances of the department in the matter of representation and adjudication in the ITAT

Letter [F. No. CIT(DR)(Admn.)/A- Bench/ITAT/2012-13/780], dated 27-12-2012

It is to bring to your kind notice that we have been running a general crisis in the deployment of man power to argue the cases before the Hon’ble benches. This is an addition to the general problems arising out of transfer etc.

Therefore, cases are assigned to DRs depending on the availability of man power, which often is disproportionate to the number that can be handled by them. So we are forced to apply for adjournment in some cases in each Bench. It has been kindly instructed in a circular by your good self that the number of cases in a day per Bench should not be exceed 20, apart from the covered matter and new cases where department is expected to get adjournment liberally.

But it is often noticed that not only the cases fixed per bench are more in number but cases are found added at the last minute at the end of the CIT, giving very less time for the DRs to prepare the cases.

It is further noticed that the arguments of the DRs are often not properly recorded to give justice to the stand of revenue and in any case short and not touching upon any aspect of the argument at all. This makes the revenue lose salient points which can be profitably taken up before the higher court.

This apart, in some of the orders, adverse judgment have been rendered against revenue on the ground of non-representation, even while making adverse comments on the functioning of the department (in its representation before the ITAT). You may kindly appreciate that each bench is manned by a CIT DR and a Sr. DR and they are not supposed to argue cases in other benches without instruction from higher authorities.

Therefore, a particular DR may be absent on a particular day which may lead to adjournment application for these cases listed before that bench, irrespective of the number of CITs and the Sr. DRs. on that day.

Therefore, such adverse comment reflecting upon the functioning of the department is best avoidable considering the ground realities. Worse it is noticed that in some of the judgments the adverse comments have been given despite proper filing of adjournment petition by the DRs.

It is therefore requested that the above grievances of the DRs, deeply felt at their level may be taken up for redressal in the right earnest and the Hon’ble members apprised of the issues. It is also requested that adjournment should be done on merit even in an absence of a party which will be in line with judgments of the Hon’ble jurisdictional High Court. Thanking you,

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