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National Politics

Lok Sabha Passes Law To Nullify Retrospective Tax

We don’t believe in a retrospective collection of tax, promise made by former FM Arun Jaitley fulfilled, says Sitharaman

Lok Sabha on Friday passed the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021, without any discussion, which will likely help settle disputes with Cairn Energy, Vodafone Group and 15 other companies over retrospective tax demands raised by the Union government.

After finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman made a brief statement about the need for the amendment, the Bill was cleared in the lower house, amid uproar by opposition parties.

Sitharaman said the idea was to fulfil commitments given by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the former finance minister late Arun Jaitley. The minister also explained that during the period when these cases were sub-judice at various platforms, the government could not make legislative changes and had to wait for their logical conclusion in courts.

Amid the protest and noise, the Finance Minister, while moving the legislation for consideration and passage said, “The Bill is being brought to keep up the word given by former Union finance minister Arun Jaitley under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, keeping up the commitment of the BJP that we don’t believe in a retrospective collection of tax. We are keeping that word.”

“We are amending the law to fulfil that commitment,” Sitharaman added.

Also read: Mallikarjun Kharge Reminds RS Chairman of Late Arun Jaitley’s Words On Parliament Disruptions

Sitharaman said that after coming into power in 2014, Jaitley “clearly made a commitment here in the House that we do not believe in applying the law in retrospect and we would certainly form a high-level committee which will look into all such cases”. She said that between 2014 and today, the high-level committee dealt with this matter and “we have not had one claim based on the amendment made in 2012”.

The Finance Minister also said, for the cases prior to 2012, for which it was retrospectively applied, there were 17 such cases. “Of these, two went to the court, which were stayed, and the claims could not be pursued further.

“As promised by Arun Jaitley, in principle we do not believe in this. However, we couldn’t act on this in 2014 because there were two cases going on,” she said.

As a result of the case dispute with Vodafone last September and Cairn Energy in December, the arbitration was decided.

 

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