Gujarat High Court has issued notices to the Union Ministry of Finance and the Income Tax department in response to petitions by two companies of Adani Group, challenging the imposition of Minimum Alternative Tax (MAT) through an amendment in the Finance Act, 2011. The notices were issued yesterday by the division bench of Chief Justice S J Mukhopadhaya and Justice J B Pardiwala while hearing the petitions by Mundra Port Special Economic Zone Ltd (MPSEZL) and Adani Power Ltd (APL). Next hearing is scheduled for July 8.
The petitioners, represented by lawyers Vikram Nankani and Hardik Modh, have urged the court to strike down the amendment in the Finance Act, contending that it is in the conflict with the SEZ Act.
MPSEZ and APL have questioned validity of sections 18, 20 and 76 of the Finance Act, whereby MAT was made applicable to SEZs. Also, developers in the SEZ — like APL — have been made liable for Dividend Distribution Tax (DDT) by the amendment.
SEZs and developers had been exempted from such taxes for the first ten years, but the amendment nullifies this concession, they say.