Controversy on deduction of Employees’ contributions to Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF), superannuation fund and other welfare funds u/s 36(1)(va) and u/s 43B after amendment by the Finance Act 2021

As per section 2(24)(x) any sum received by the assessee from his employees as contribution to any provident fund or superannuation fund or any fund set up under the provisions of ESI Act or any other fund for the welfare of such employees shall be treated as an ‘Income’. Section 36 of the Act deals with the deductions in computing the income referred to in section 28 and as per section 36(1)(va) such sum received by the assessee from any of his employees to which provisions of sub-clause (x) of clause (24) of section 2 apply, the assessee shall be entitled to deduction of such amount in computing the income referred to in section 28 if such sum is credited by the assessee to the employee’s account in the relevant fund or funds on or before the “due date” i.e. date by which the assessee is required as an employer to credit the employee’s contribution to the employee’s account in the relevant fund, in the present case, the provident fund and ESI Fund under the Provident Fund Act and ESI Act. The relevant provisions are as under:

Section 36. Other deductions. 

(1)(va) any sum received by the assessee from any of his employees to which the provisions of sub-clause (x) of clause (24) of section 2 apply, if such sum is credited by the assessee to the employee’s account in the relevant fund or funds on or before the due date.

Explanation 1.-For the purposes of this clause, “due date” means the date by which the assessee is required as an employer to credit an employee’s contribution to the employee’s account in the relevant fund under any Act, rule, order or notification issued thereunder or under any standing order, award, contract of service or otherwise.

Controversy on deduction of Employees’ contributions to EPF etc.

Also Read:Disallowance of Employee Contribution to PF- Analysis of Case Laws

Section 43B: Certain deductions to be only on actual payment.

43B. Notwithstanding anything contained in any other provision of this Act, a deduction otherwise allowable under this Act in respect of-

(b) any sum payable by the assessee as an employer by way of contribution to any provident fund or superannuation fund or gratuity fund or any other fund for the welfare of employees,

shall be allowed (irrespective of the previous year in which the liability to pay such sum was incurred by the assessee according to the method of accounting regularly employed by him) only in computing the income referred to in section 28 of that previous year in which such sum is actually paid by him.

Provided that nothing contained in this section shall apply in relation to any sum which is actually paid by the assessee on or before the due date applicable in his case for furnishing the return of income under sub-section (1) of section 139 in respect of the previous year in which the liability to pay such sum was incurred as aforesaid and the evidence of such payment is furnished by the assessee along with such return.

However, there was a controversy on the interpretation of the phrase “Due Date” used in Explanation -1 to section 36(1)(va). Whether it meant the due date as per the PF/EPF Acts, which is 15th day of the next month, or the due date as per section 43B, which is the date prescribed u/s 139(1).

Supreme Court -Alom Extrusion- November 25, 2009

A short question which arose for determination in this batch of civil appeals was: Whether deletion of the second proviso to Section 43-B of the Income Tax Act, 1961, by the Finance Act, 2003, operated with effect from 1st April, 2004, or whether it operated retrospectively with effect from 1st April, 1988?

Prior to the amendment of Section 43-B of the Act, vide Finance Act, 2003, the two provisos to Section 43-B of the Act read as under:

1. Provided that nothing contained in this section shall apply in relation to any sum referred to in clause (a) or clause (c) or clause (d) or clause (e) or clause (f), which is actually paid by the assessee on or before the due date applicable in his case for furnishing the return of income under sub-section (1) of section 139 in respect of the previous year in which the liability to pay such sum was incurred as aforesaid and the evidence of such payment is furnished by the assessee along with such return.(Clause (b) was excluded in put in second proviso)

2. Provided further that no deduction shall, in respect of any sum referred to in clause (b), be allowed unless such sum has actually been paid in cash or by issue of a cheque or draft or by any other mode on or before the due date as defined in the Explanation below clause (va) of sub-section (1) of section 36, and where such payment has been made otherwise than in cash, the sum has been realized within fifteen days from the due date.”

Clause (b) of section 43B was as under:

(b) any sum payable by the assessee as an Employer by way of contribution to any provident fund or superannuation fund or gratuity fund or any other fund for the welfare of employees

By Finance Act, 2003, the second proviso to Section 43-B of the Act not only got deleted but the said Finance Act, 2003, also amended the first proviso so as to include clause(b) also within its fold with effect from Assessment Year 2004-2005 and after the said amendment the first proviso stood as under:-

“Provided that nothing contained in this section shall apply in relation to any sum which is actually paid by the assessee on or before the due date applicable in his case for furnishing the return of income under sub-section (1) of section 139 in respect of the previous year in which the liability to pay such sum was incurred as aforesaid and the evidence of such payment is furnished by the assessee along with such return.”

Thus, by the above amendments the allowance for the sum payable by the assessee as an Employer by way of contribution to any provident fund or superannuation fund or gratuity fund or any other fund for the welfare of employees was also allowed if the same stood paid by the due date applicable for furnishing the return of income under sub-section (1) of section 139

The Supreme Court held that even though the first proviso came to be inserted with effect from 1st April, 1988, the assessee was entitled to the benefit of that proviso because it operated retrospectively from 1st April, 1984, when Section 43-B stood inserted.

It further held that when a proviso is inserted to remedy unintended consequences and to make the section workable, a proviso which supplies an obvious omission in the section and which proviso is required to be read into the section to give the section a reasonable interpretation, it could be read retrospective in operation, particularly to give effect to the section as a whole.

It also held that Finance Act, 2003, to the extent indicated above (Sec. 43B), is curative in nature, hence, it is retrospective and it would operate with effect from 1st April, 1988 [when the first proviso came to be inserted].

However, controversies erupted due to different interpretations of section 43(b) adopted by some High Courts. One group of High Courts is of the view that it would cover the payment of contribution of both the employee and employers also such that if the contribution of employee paid after the prescribed Due Date will also be eligible for deduction u/s 43B(b) if the contribution is paid before the due date for filing of return of income for that previous year.

The Second  group of High Courts is of the view that the decision of the SC will apply only to the contribution of the employer paid u/s 43(b) and not to the contribution of the employee wherein the due date shall be as per the provision of section 36(1)(va) and therefore to be disallowed if  not paid upto 15th day of next month.

Based on a wrong ratio decidendi of the case Alom Extrusion(SC) , different State High Courts started giving different interpretation to the said judgement, many of which were in favour of the assessee i.e. payment of employees’ contribution to PF/EFI Fund is allowable even if paid after the due date u/s 36(1)(va) provided the same is paid before the date of filing of return of income u/s 139(1) u/s 43B. The position is as under:

1 Gujarat High Court Not Allowed
2 Karnataka High Court Allowed
3 Calcutta High Court Allowed
4 Bombay High Court Generally allowed but 1 dissenting decision
5 Madras High court Allowed & Disallowed both
6 Delhi High Court Allowed
7 Rajasthan High Court Allowed
8 Kerala high Court Not Allowed
9 Punjab & Har High Court Allowed
10 Madhya Pradesh High Court No Clarity
11 Patna High Court Allowed
12 Allahabad High Court Allowed
13 Gauhati High Court Allowed

In the case of Rajasthan there was a chance to settle this controversy when the Revenue filed appeal before the Supreme Court but as the luck would have it, the Revenue had to withdraw this appeal due to revised higher monetary limit of tax effect for filing appeal before the Supreme Court. Thus the case was “Case disposed of, Dismissed as withdrawn- 9th January 2020” Reported on 27th April 2020.

It is interesting to note that the question of disallowance of employees’ contribution u/s 36(1)(va) was not there before the Supreme Court for its judgement and no decision was given by the SC on this issue. This judgement exclusively dealt with the provision of section 43B(b) only and its applicability whether Prospectively or Retrospectively.

In order to resolve this controversy the Parliament amended section 36(1)(va) and section 43B by Finance Act 2021 as under:-

Amendment of section 36. Notes on Clauses: Finance Bill 2021

Clause 8 of the Bill seeks to amend section 36 of the Income-tax Act, relating to other deductions.

Sub-section (1) of the said section provides for allowing of deductions provided for in the clauses thereof for computing the income referred to in section 28 of the said Act. Clause (va) of the said sub-section provides for allowance of deduction for any sum received by the assessee from any of his employees to which the provisions of sub-clause (x) of clause (24) of section 2 apply, if such sum is credited by the assessee to the employee’s account in the relevant fund or funds on or before the due date.

Explanation to the said clause provides that for the purposes of this clause, “due date” means the date by which the assessee is required as an employer to credit an employee’s contribution to the employee’s account in the relevant fund under any Act, rule, order or notification issued thereunder or under any standing order, award, contract of service or otherwise.

Explanation 2 was inserted by Finance Act 2021 to clause (va) of sub-section (1) of the this section so as to clarify that the provisions of section 43B shall not apply and shall be deemed never to have been applied for the purposes of determining the “due date” under the said clause.

This amendment will take effect from 1st April, 2021 and will, accordingly, apply in relation to the assessment year 2021-2022 and subsequent assessment years.

Amendment of section 43B : Notes on Clauses: Finance Bill 2021: 

Clause 9 of the Bill seeks to amend section 43B of the Income-tax Act relating to certain deductions to be only on actual payments.

Clause (b) of the said section provides that any sum payable by the assessee as an employer by way of contribution to any provident fund or superannuation fund or gratuity fund or any other fund for the welfare of employees shall be allowed (irrespective of the previous year in which the liability to pay such sum was incurred by the assessee according to the method of accounting regularly employed by him) only in computing the income referred to in section 28 of that previous year, in which such sum is actually paid by him.

Proviso to the said section provides that nothing contained in this section shall apply in relation to any sum which is actually paid by the assessee on or before the due date applicable in his case for furnishing the return of income under sub-section (1) of section 139 in respect of the previous year in which the liability to pay such sum was incurred as aforesaid and the evidence of such payment is furnished by the assessee along with such return.

Explanation 5 was inserted to the said section so as to clarify that the provisions of that section shall not apply and shall be deemed never to have been applied to a sum received by the assessee from any of his employees to which the provisions of sub-clause (x) of clause (24) of section 2 applies.

This amendment will take effect from 1st April, 2021 and will, accordingly, apply in relation to the assessment year 2021-2022 and subsequent assessment years.

The controversy that has come up after the above amendment is, whether the above amendments are Prospective or Retrospective in nature?

Rules of interpretation of Retrospectivity and Perspectivity

Powers of Parliament to amend the Act, Prospectively or Retrospectively.

The legislature has plenary power of legislation within the fields assigned to them, it may legislate prospectively as well as retrospectively. It is a settled principle of statutory construction that every statute is prima facie prospective unless it is expressly or by necessary implications made to have retrospective operations. Legal Maxim “nova constitutio futuris formam imponere debet non praeteritis”, i.e. ‘a new law ought to regulate what is to follow, not the past’, contain a principle of presumption of prospectively of a statute.

Fiscal legislation imposing liability is generally governed by the normal presumption that it is not retrospective and it is a cardinal principle of the tax law that the law to be applied is that in force in the assessment year unless otherwise provided expressly or by necessary implication. The above rule applies to the charging section and other substantive provisions such as a provision imposing penalty and does not apply to machinery or procedural provisions of a taxing Act which are generally retrospective and apply even to pending proceedings.

But a procedural provision, as far as possible, will not be so construed as to affect finality of tax assessment or to open up liability which had become barred. Assessment creates a vested right and an assessee cannot be subjected to reassessment unless a provision to that effect inserted by amendment is either expressly or by necessary implication retrospective. In the absence of a clear implication such a legislation will not be given a greater retrospectivity than is expressly mentioned; nor will it be construed to authorize the Income-tax Authorities to commence proceedings which, before the new Act came into force, had by the expiry of the period then provided become barred. But unambiguous language must be given effect to, even if it results in reopening of assessments which had become final after expiry of the period earlier provided for reopening them.

The Supreme Court (1976) laid down as under

It is a well settled rule of interpretation hallowed by time and sanctified by judicial decisions that, unless the terms of a statute expressly so provide or necessarily require it, retrospective operation should not be given to a statute so as to take away or impair an existing right or create a new obligation or impose a new liability otherwise than as regards matters of procedure .

Halsbury in the Laws of England

All statutes other than those which are merely declaratory or which relate only to matters of procedure or of evidence are prima facie prospective and retrospective operation should not be given to a statute so as to affect, alter or destroy an existing right or create a new liability or obligation unless that effect cannot be avoided without doing violence to the language of the enactment. If the enactment is expressed in language which is fairly capable of either interpretation, it ought to be construed as prospective only.

Following was laid down by the Supreme Court Constitution Bench 2015

Of the various rules guiding how legislation has to be interpreted, one established rule is that unless a contrary intention appears, a legislation is presumed not to be intended to have a retrospective operation. The idea behind the rule is that a current law should govern current activities. Law passed today cannot apply to the events of the past. If we do something today, we do it keeping in view the law of today and in force and not tomorrow’s backward adjustment of it. Our belief in the nature of the law is founded on the bedrock that every human being is entitled to arrange his affairs by relying on the existing law and should not find that his plans have been retrospectively upset. This principle of law is known as lex prospicit non respicit: law looks forward not backward. A retrospective legislation is contrary to the general principle that legislation by which the conduct of mankind is to be regulated when introduced for the first time to deal with future acts ought not to change the character of past transactions carried on upon the faith of the then existing law.

The obvious basis of the principle against retrospectivity is the Principle of “Fairness”, which must be the basis of every legal rule as was observed in L’Office Cherifien des Phosphates v. Yamashita-Shinnihon Steamship Co. Ltd. Thus, legislations which modified accrued rights or which impose obligations or impose new duties or attach a new disability have to be treated as prospective unless the legislative intent is clearly to give the enactment a retrospective effect; unless the legislation is for purpose of supplying an obvious omission in a former legislation or to explain a former legislation. An explanatory Act is generally passed to supply an obvious omission or to clear up doubts as to the meaning of the previous Act.”

Broad Legal Principles while testing a retrospective statute, (SCC pp. 73738 & 740, paras 2122 & 28)

(i) A law cannot be held to be unreasonable merely because it operates retrospectively;

(ii) The un-reasonability must lie in some other additional factors;

(iii) The retrospective operation of a fiscal statute would have to be found to be unduly oppressive and confiscatory before it can be held to be unreasonable as to violate constitutional norms;

(iv) Where taxing statute is plainly discriminatory or provides no procedural machinery for assessment and levy of tax or that is confiscatory, courts will be justified in striking down the impugned statute as unconstitutional;

(v) The other factors being period of retrospectivity and degree of unforeseen or unforeseeable financial burden imposed for the past period;

(vi) Length of time is not by itself decisive to affect retrospectivity.”

The Supreme Court in the case (1994 AIR SCW 3699 : AIR 1994 SC 2623 ) laid down the ambit and scope of an amending Act and its retrospective operation as follows :

“(i) A statute which affects substantive rights is presumed to be prospective in operation unless made retrospective, either expressly or by necessary intendment, whereas a statute which merely affects procedure, unless such a construction is textually impossible, is presumed to be retrospective in its application, should not be given an extended meaning and should be strictly confined to its clearly defined limits.

(ii) Law relating to forum and limitation is procedural in nature, whereas law relating to right of action and right of appeal even though remedial is substantive in nature.

(iii) Every litigant has a vested right in substantive law but no such right exists in procedural law.

(iv) A procedural statute should not generally speaking be applied retrospectively where the result would be to create new disabilities or obligations or to impose new duties in respect of transactions already accomplished:

(v) A statute which not only changes the procedure but also creates new rights and liabilities shall be construed to be prospective in Operation unless otherwise provided, either expressly or by necessary implication.”

The Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in the Vatika case, has taken into consideration the notes of clause appended to the Finance Bill to decipher the nature of the legislative scheme. In paragraph 42.1, Constitution Bench stated as follows:

“Notes on Clauses” appended to the Finance Bill, 2021 while proposing the above amendment categorically states that “this amendment will take effect from 1-4-2021”. These become epigraphic words, when seen in contradistinction to other amendments specifically stating those to be clarificatory or retrospective depicting clear intention of the legislature. It can be seen from the same Notes that a few other amendments in the Income Tax Act were made by the same Finance Act specifically making those amendments retrospective.

The Notes on Clauses show that the legislature is fully aware of three concepts:

(i)  Prospective amendment with effect from a fixed date;

(ii)  Retrospective amendment with effect from a fixed anterior date; and

(iii) Clarificatory amendments which are retrospective in nature.”

It is, however, well settled that the mere date of enforcement of statutory provisions does not conclude that the statute is prospective in nature. The nature and content of statute have to be looked into to find out the legislative scheme and the nature, effect and consequence of the statute. (Supreme Court 31st January 2018)

It is the duty of the court while interpreting the Machinery provisions of a taxing statute to give effect to its manifest purpose. Wherever the intention to impose liability is clear, the courts ought not be hesitant in espousing a commonsense interpretation to the machinery provisions so that the charge does not fail. The machinery provisions must, no doubt, be so construed as would effectuate the object and purpose of the statute and not defeat the same.

There cannot be any dispute to the preposition that machinery provision of taxing statute has to give effect to its manifest purposes. But the applicability of the machinery provision whether it is prospective or retrospective depends on the content and nature of the Statutory Scheme.

The Supreme Court (1961) held that as the liability to pay tax is computed according to the law in force at the beginning of the assessment year i.e. the first day of April, any change in law affecting tax liability after that date though made during the currency of the assessment year, unless specifically made retrospective, does not apply to the assessment for that year.

Moreover, where a benefit is conferred by a legislation, the rule against a retrospective construction is different. If a legislation confers a benefit on some persons but without inflicting a corresponding detriment on some other person or on the public generally, and where to confer such benefit appears to have been the legislators object, then the presumption would be that such a legislation, giving it a purposive construction, would warrant it to be given a retrospective effect. This exactly is the justification to treat procedural provisions as retrospective.

Further, under certain circumstances, a particular amendment can be treated as clarificatory or declaratory in nature. Such statutory provisions are labeled as “declaratory statutes”. The circumstances under which a provision can be termed as “declaratory statutes” is explained by Justice G.P. Singh Principles of Statutory Interpretation, 13th Edition 2012 in the following manner:

Declaratory Statutes

The presumption against retrospective operation is not applicable to declaratory statutes. As per the Supreme Court: “For modern purposes a declaratory Act may be defined as an Act to remove doubts existing as to the common law, or the meaning or effect of any statute. Such Acts are usually held to be retrospective. The usual reason for passing a declaratory Act is to set aside what Parliament deems to have been a judicial error, whether in the statement of the common law or in the interpretation of statutes. Usually, if not invariably, such an Act contains a preamble, and also the word ‘declared’ as well as the word ‘enacted’. But the use of the words ‘it is declared’ is not conclusive that the Act is declaratory for these words may, at times, be used to introduced new rules of law and the Act in the latter case will only be amending the law and will not necessarily be retrospective. In determining, therefore, the nature of the Act, regard must be had to the substance rather than to the form. If a new Act is ‘to explain’ an earlier Act, it would be without object unless construed retrospective. An explanatory Act is generally passed to supply an obvious omission or to clear up doubts as to the meaning of the previous Act. It is well settled that if a statute is curative or merely declaratory of the previous law retrospective operation is generally intended. The language ‘shall be deemed always to have meant’ is declaratory, and is in plain terms retrospective. In the absence of clear words indicating that the amending Act is declaratory, it would not be so construed when the pre-amended provision was clear and unambiguous. An amending Act may be purely clarificatory to clear a meaning of a provision of the principal Act which was already implicit. A clarificatory amendment of this nature will have retrospective effect.

Now having considered the rules of interpretation of Retrospectivity and Perspectivity, let us analyze the nature of the amendments.

Section 36. Other deductions. 

(1)(va) any sum received by the assessee from any of his employees to which the provisions of sub-clause (x) of clause (24) of section 2 apply, if such sum is credited by the assessee to the employee’s account in the relevant fund or funds on or before the due date.

Explanation 1.-For the purposes of this clause, “due date” means the date by which the assessee is required as an employer to credit an employee’s contribution to the employee’s account in the relevant fund under any Act, rule, order or notification issued thereunder or under any standing order, award, contract of service or otherwise.

The language is plain, clear and unambiguous in the sense that the due date as defined in the explanation is the due date under any Act, rule, order or notification issued thereunder or under any standing order, award, contract of service or otherwise. The Act, rules, orders etc. referred herein are clearly those which are applicable under the Employees’ Provident Fund, Superannuation Fund and other welfare funds and not the Income Tax Act 1961 (Sec 43B). Thus disallowance was required u/s 36(1)(va) if the amount was paid later than due date i.e. by 15th of next month and not the due date as per section 43B.

Now the question arises is, whether Retrospective operation be given to a statute so as to take away or impair an existing right or create a new obligation or impose a new liability otherwise than as regards matters of procedure.

The answer is a definite NO. But this is not the case here. What was clearly intended to be the due date by the Parliament was the due date under the Employees’ Provident Fund, Superannuation Fund and other welfare funds and not the Income Tax Act 1961 (Sec 43B). However, due to wrong interpretation, the due date was given the meaning as per section 43B which is clearly wrong and this wrong has been rectified by the Finance Act 2021 by insertion of the Explanation-2 as under:

Explanation 2 was inserted by Finance Act 2021 to clause (va) of sub-section (1) of the this section so as to clarify that the provisions of section 43B shall not apply and shall be deemed never to have been applied for the purposes of determining the “due date” under the said clause.

By inserting this explanation, the parliament attempted to correct and restore what was obvious, but due to the lacuna in language. The Parliament never wanted the due date u/s 36(1)(va) to be the due date as per section 43B but the provision was so expressed that  wrong interpretation was given by the Courts.

An explanation explains an existing law, what the actual law was when it was framed and also attempts to clarify what interpretation should have been given to this provision. The intension is further clarified when it used the words shall be deemed never to have been applied, which by itself means that it is retrospective in application. It proposes to rectify all actions taken in the past years if they were not in accordance with this clarification.  This amendment is not modifying accrued rights or imposing obligations or imposing new duties or attaching a new disability but enforcing an existing liability which could not be imposed due to the misinterpretation of the law. The amendment is for purpose of supplying an obvious omission in a former legislation or to explain a former legislation. This amendment is meant also for providing equity amongst the assessees who were given tax benefit by allowing the allowance u/s 43B and the assessees who were put to a disadvantageous position by denying the allowance u/s 43B and enforcing the provision as in section36(1)(va). An explanatory Act is generally passed to supply an obvious omission or to clear up doubts as to the meaning of the previous Act.

This is also fortified by insertion of Explanation 5 to Sec 43B so as to clarify that the provisions of this section shall not apply and shall be deemed never to have been applied to a sum received by the assessee from any of his employees to which the provisions of sub-clause (x) of clause (24) of section 2 applies. It means that the provisions of section 43B are not applicable to that part of the income as defined in section 2(24)(x) ie. Employees’ contribution to PF/EPF as the due date as defined under section 43B shall not be applicable to the provision of section 36(1)(va) which shall be exclusively governed by the definition provided in section 36(1)(va) itself.

The fact that it is provided that this amendment will take effect from 1st April, 2021 and will, accordingly, apply in relation to the assessment year 2021-2022 and subsequent assessment years does not make it prospective because it is well settled that the mere date of enforcement of statutory provisions does not conclude that the statute is prospective in nature. The nature and content of statute have to be looked into to find out the legislative scheme and the nature, effect and consequence of the statute.

To Conclude: If a new Act is ‘to explain’ an earlier Act, it would be without object unless construed retrospective. An explanatory Act is generally passed to supply an obvious omission or to clear up doubts as to the meaning of the previous Act. It is well settled that if a statute is curative or merely declaratory of the previous law retrospective operation is generally intended. The language ‘shall be deemed always to have meant’ is declaratory, and is in plain terms retrospective. Therefore, in my view these amendments are retrospective in nature and application w.e.f. 01-04-1988 and not from 01-04-2021 as provided by the Finance Act 2021.

However, even after the amendment by the Finance Act 2021 the Tribunals are still following the earlier orders of the Jurisdictional High Court and allowing the payment of contributions u/s 36(1)(va) even if paid late but before the date of filing of return u/s 139(1)

SN Tribunal (Favour of assessee) Date of Order
1 Delhi 13-10-21
2 Delhi 13-10-21
3 JAIPUR 12-10-21
4 JAIPUR 12-10-21
5 JAIPUR 15-09-21
6 ALLAHABAD 12-08-21
7 DELHI 03-08-21
8 KOLKATA 16-07-21
9 DELHI 30-09-21
10 JODHPUR 29-09-21
11 JODHPUR 28-09-21
12 HYDERABAD 21-09-21
13 BANGALORE 11-10-21
14 VISAKHAPATNAM 23-09-21
15 HYDERABAD 21-09-21
16 DELHI 27-08-21
17 AHMEDABAD (Against assessee) 09-07-21

Therefore, once again the controversy is going to be opened and the issue may finally be decided by the Supreme Court only. Till that time keep your fingers crossed.

*****

Disclaimer:  This article has been prepared purely for the academic purposes and it reflects the personal views of the author himself only. Every reader is cautioned to take expert professional advice before acting on this article. The author owes no responsibility of any kind to anyone who is guided by this article in his personal or professional activities, for which the reader himself only shall be liable.

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