About The Tribunal
The Hon’ble Chief Justice of India, Hon’ble Judges of the Supreme Court as well as the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India and Hon’ble Minister of Law had expressed their anguish on many occasions about the delay in deciding cases pending in Courts. We are glad to say that the experience and trend in the West Bengal Taxation Tribunal is otherwise. On the occasion of the launch of Website of Tribunal, some features of the dispensation of Justice in the Tribunal are highlighted. With a view to easing the congestion of pending cases in Calcutta High Courts. West Bengal legislature had enacted the West Bengal Taxation Tribunals Act,1987.
The West Bengal Taxation Tribunal has been established with a view to expedite the disposal of disputes arising in respect of assessment of taxes, imposition of penalties and allied matter under any specified State Act. It extends to the whole of West Bengal. This was done in pursuance of the amendment of Constitution of India by Articles 323B. In the statement of objects and reasons on the introduction of the W.B. Taxation Tribunal Act,1987, it was mentioned that the setting up of such Tribunals exclusively would go a long way in reducing the burden on the High court and reduce pendency and would also provide to the persons concerned a speedy and relatively cheap and effective remedy. This Tribunal exercises such jurisdiction and power as are available to the High Court under Article-226 of the constitution in respect of matters under the Acts specified in the Taxation Tribunal Act. In view of the judgement of the Supreme Court in L.Chandrakumar Vs Union of India as reported in AIR 1997 S.C. pg.1125 (1997(3) S.C.C page.261) an aggrieved party can move the Division Bench of the High Court against any judgement and order of this Tribunal. It is equivalent to single judge of the High Court with regard to matters falling within its jurisdiction. It can determine any question on the constitutionality of any provisions of the Acts and Rules coming within its jurisdiction. Under section 12 of the West Bengal Taxation Tribunal Act,1987 the Tribunal has been conferred the power to exercise the same jurisdiction and authority in respect of contempt of itself as a High Court.
The Chairman of this Tribunal is a person who is a retired Judge of a High Court or a person who has held for a period of not less than one year, the office as a judicial member of this Tribunal. Besides the Chairman the authorized strength consists of two Judicial Member & three Technical Members. A Judicial Member is a person qualified to be a Judge of a High Court. A Technical Member is a person who has been an officer of the State Govt. or Central Govt. not below the rank of a Special Secretary to that Govt., in the Secretariat or elsewhere, and has dealt with revenue or taxation matters during his service in the Govt. in the capacity of a Deputy Secretary and above to the state Govt, or the Central Govt. for a period of not less than 3 years in the aggregate. The conditions of service of Chairman and Members are governed by the provisions of the West Bengal Taxation Tribunal (Salaries Allowances and Conditions of Service of Chairman, and other Members), Rule, 1985, as amended from time to time. As per Rule 15 notwithstanding anything contained in Rule 4 to 14B of the said Rules, the conditions of service and other perquisites available to the Chairman of the W.B.Taxation Tribunal shall be same as admissible to a serving Judge of a High Court as contained in the High Court Judge(Conditions of Service) Act,1954.
After the constitution of the Tribunal in 1989, in the beginning, under Section 15 the West Bengal Taxation Tribunals Act,1987, the Tribunal received on transfer from the High Courts 540 cases which were pending there.
The Tribunal follows the principles of natural justice in deciding cases and the technical procedure, prescribed by Evidence Act and CPC does not strictly apply. The West Bengal Taxation Tribunal is doing its best to expedite the disposal of cases.
The W.B.Taxation Tribunal is empowered to prescribed its own rules of practice for discharging its functions as per sec.4 of the W.B.T.T. Act 1987. For this purpose the West Bengal Taxation Tribunal Regulations 1989 has been framed.
The employees of W.B.Taxation Tribunal are required to discharge their duties under the general superintendence of the Chairman. Salaries and allowances and conditions of service of the officers and other employees of the Tribunal are specified by the State Government. There are posts for assisting the Tribunal in discharging its functions. The W.B.Taxation Tribunal is a Growing institution with increasing responsibilities and load of work.