At a time when the government is struggling to meet its 3.5% fiscal deficit target for 2016-17, Delhi High Court has more than 1,000 pending income tax appeals, amounting to more than Rs 4,400 crore — due to lacunae in the documents.
The appeals could not be listed and heard because the income tax department did not cure the “defects” — the deficiency in the appeal petition — that were pointed out by the court registry. Some of the defective appeals date as far back as 2001.
Typically, defects have to be plugged within a month from the date of filing, after which the appeal is numbered and placed before the court for hearing. The court has already dismissed appeals that were filed before 2012 and were still “defective” in 2016.
“The tax department has been grossly negligent leading to a loss to the exchequer,” an official said.
Some of the defective appeals date back to 2001.
The spokesperson of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said: “Those 1,000 and odd cases are cases where objections were pointed out to the filing standing counsels of the department. High Court has directed to remove the defects within the time allowed. The task of removing defects and re-filing is under progress.”
The court has rapped tax officials for laxity. “The court is of the view that a delay of more than three years in refiling of the appeal cannot, by any stretch of imagination, be accepted,” a division bench said last month in an order.