Indian Tax Department embraces Technology: e Appellate Tribunals

M.George Korah,FCA & V.Ravindran,ACA

The Income Tax Appellate Tribunal( ITAT) will launch e-courts in four cities from December 10,2012 to facilitate hearing of cases via video-conferencing.

The ITAT, a quasi-judicial body, has set up webcast facilities at Delhi, Mumbai, Nagpur and Ahmedabad, a first in the history of tax judiciary in India.

In a note,the ITAT said the e-courts will follow the procedures that are laid out for the Bench for hearing appeals in an open Court. There will be no difference in procedures except that the Bench and Bar are at different places connected electronically.
ITAT President HL Karwa said the e-courts will help in clearing the backlog of cases. According to him there are, at present , 68,000 appeals¬† pending before the ITAT, which can be decided within one year.

Mr. Karwa said if the e-court experiment is successful, ITAT would extend the facility to other centres.
This move is a game changer & if adopted across the legal system, will lead to faster decisions & lower legal costs