I-T Plans To Withdraw Appeals Below Rs 1 Lakh From Tribunal

New Delhi, May 30: | Updated: May 31 2002, 05:30am hrs
Faced with a huge backlog, the income-tax department plans to withdraw unwanted litigation pending before various appellate bodies. The target is to cut down appeals in the range of rupees one to five lakh.

The department is keen on withdrawing appeals involving less than Rs one lakh from the appellate tribunal. Similarly, it is also contemplating to withdraw pending appeals before high courts involving revenue below Rs 2 lakh. Appeals involving less than Rs 5 lakh before the Supreme Court are also on the I-T withdrawal list.

According to revenue department sources, the step is in line with the efforts of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to reduce unwanted and frivolous litigation. They added that finance ministry will soon take a final decision on this issue.

Thousands of appeals have accumulated before various appellate bodies due to various reasons. This has resulted in staggering demand due to non-disposal of arrears to the extent of Rs 50,000 crore, said an official.

He added that withdrawal of cases from the appellate bodies involving revenue below the limits fixed by CBDT for filing of appeals before them, will substantially cut unwanted cases all over the country.

The CBDT had revised the monetary limits for filing departmental appeals before various appellate bodies in March 2000. In case of appellate tribunal, the limit was hiked from Rs 25,000 to Rs one lakh. The limit was raised from Rs 50,000 to Rs 2 lakh for filing appeals before high courts, and it was increased to Rs 5 lakh from Rs 1.5 lakh for filing an appeal before the Supreme Court.

Withdrawal of cases involving revenue below these limits will result in saving of time and energy which can be utilised for indulging in a focussed and result-oriented approach in tackling cases where the quantum of revenue involved is substantial, said the official.

As on December 31, 2001, total demands of Rs 33,846.69 crore was locked up in dossier cases involving Rs 25 crore and above in each case. An analysis of these cases shows that more than 50 per cent of the demands are locked up in first appeal.

The official said that there is an urgent need for disposal of high demand cases by the Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeals) within a fixed time-frame so that effective steps may be taken for recovery of confirmed demands. The department is planning to dispose of all pending cases with demand of over Rs one crore by December 2002.