MOCK TRIBUNAL TURNING INTO A LIVE TRIBUNAL
Courtesy : Vasai Branch of the Western India Regional Council of the Institute of the Chartered Accountants of India
The Vasai Branch of the Western India Regional Council of the Institute of the Chartered Accountants of India conducted a seminar on ITAT Proceedings & Mock Tribunal on 21 November 2010. The idea to hold such a seminar was the brainchild of the members of managing committee of the branch headed by its Chairman CA Lalit Bajaj. The managing committee authorised the Secretary of the Branch CA Sweta Jain to explore the possibilities of conducting such a seminar where the procedural aspects, rules & regulations of ITAT could be explained to the audience by eminent experts in the field. Accordingly CA Sweta Jain , in consultation with the Vice Chairman CA Unmesh Narvekar , Treasurer CA Ramanand Gupta and past chairman CA Pramod Dhamankar further developed the idea so as to give it a live colour. The basic object behind the idea was to remove the fear psychosis of the members of the branch of attending appellate proceedings before Income Tax Tribunal (ITAT). CA Sweta Jain contacted ld. Speakers CA Punita Bansal and CA Bhupendra Shah to lend their experience to the seminar. On the advise of these members CA Sweta Jain took a step further and thought the idea of inviting the officiating members of the ITAT so as to make the seminar as a mock tribunal. Following true protocol CA Sweta Jain, contacted Hon’ble President and Hon’ble vice President of the ITAT Mumbai Bench and narrated the object of the seminar and requested them depute two Hon’ble officiating members of the Bench to constitute a mock bench of the ITAT and conduct the proceedings of the same. Accordingly Shri S.V. Mehrotra and Shri R. K. Panda , both Hon’ble members of the ITAT were authorised to constitute and conduct a mock bench of the ITAT and conduct the proceedings. What was thought to be a mock exercise turned into a live performance when the Hon’ble members insisted to conduct the proceedings so as to replicate the actual proceedings before the ITAT. The idea was taken up seriously and CA Punita Bansal selected 12 cases which almost actually covered all the disputes arising before the ITAT. The cases selected by CA Punita Bansal covered the matters such as 1) Adjournment proceedings 2) Stay application 3) Rectification of mistake 4) Recall of the Order 5) Admission of additional evidence and 6) Regular appeals involving the question of fact and question of law. CA Bhupendra Shah agreed to be Departmental Representative in all the cases while a team of 3 members of the branch led by guest invitee CA Punita Bansal represented the appellant side. An audience of more than 100 Chartered Accountants were there to learn the basics of ITAT proceedings. When the proceedings started, what was thought to be a mock tribunal actually turned into a live Tribunal. The Hon’ble members were keen and very enthusiastic and pointed out each and every irregularity in the proceedings such as 1) Absence of Power of Attorney 2) Dress Code 3) Unavailability of material documentary evidences 4) Arguing the case on the merit and never to deviate from the appellant issue and many more like that. While CA Bhupendra Shah was very articulate and seized of all the information to defend the revenue, the AR side was equally responsive. Guest invitee CA Punita Bansal, Branch Treasurer ,CA Ramanand Gupta , Branch Vice Chairman CA Unmesh Narvekar successfully argued and defended their side. The Hon’ble Members were totally seized of the proceedings and from their conduct it never appeared and none could find even an iota of thought that they were presiding mock trial. This event instilled much wanted confidence in the audience and removed their fear psychosis of appearing before ITAT.
In the end, what was thought to be a mock ITAT trial actually turned into a live trial with each member of the branch telling the other that he is now ready to take up all appellate matters including that of the ITAT.
Kudos to CA Sweta Jain and also to the Chairman CA Lalit Bajaj, Vice Chairman CA Unmesh Narvekar, Treasurer CA Ramanand Gupta , the ever dynamic past chairman CA Pramod Dhamankar and last but not the least to the guest invitees CA Punita Bansal and CA Bhupendra Shah for arranging such a wonderful Live Tribunal. The members of the committee expressed their heartfelt thanks to the Hon’ble visiting members of the ITAT for lending full support to the seminar and conveyed their humble thanks to the Hon’ble President and Hon’ble Vice President for their generosity to extend their helping hand to make the seminar a very successful event.
News covered and contributed by
CA Lalit Munoyat
Member , Vasai Branch.
Note: The above matter was compiled by CA Lalit Munoyat in his personal capacity and does not necessarily convey the official opinion of the Managing Committee of the Branch.