Saturday, 27 March 2010
Source: PTI Mar 27 2010 , New Delhi
Telecom major Reliance Communications (RCom) will offer free local and STD calling on its
network on March 28 as it celebrates the 100-million subscriber base.
As part of the offer, RCom customers would be able to avail 24 hours of free local and STD calling across the Reliance network on March 28, RCom said in a statement today.
The one-day offer will be available to all new and existing Reliance customers across CDMA, GSM and Hello (fixed wireless) services, it added.
"We are truly humbled by the trust conferred on us by our customers. This is a small gesture to appreciate and express our gratitude to our 100 million customers -- the biggest such offering ever made available anywhere in the world," RCom President Mahesh Prasad said.
Earlier this month, RCom became India's second operator and the fourth operator globally to serve over 100 million customers in a single country.
The company has set a target to achieve the next 100 million customers on its wireless network in 1,000 days.
Monday, 22 March 2010
Source:BS Reporter / Mumbai March 18, 2010, 0:57 IST
Reliance Communications announced today that it
was partnering with Polycom, a global leader in
tele-presence and video conferencing services.
This partnership would introduce high-resolution
wireless video-conferencing services, to be marketed
by Reliance Webstore, the retail arm of theAnil Dhirubhai Ambani Group.
The service would be commercially rolled out in over 40 cities
immediately and reach 60 cities in four months.
Reliance Webstore plans to expand it to 100 cities
by the end of the year.
Reliance Webstore already sells wired video conferencing
services to over 1,500 companies. It does so through
a network of 200 video conferencing suites.
Polycom’s technology, coupled with its broadband
services, reduces the cost of their wireless service.
Reliance plans to extend this service to small and
medium-sized enterprises, as well as individual consumers.
The new offering comes with Polycom’s QDX6000 video
conferencing system, with dedicated virtual private network
connectivity through the Reliance Netconnect Broadband,
with a wireless broadband data card.
The entire equipment comes for Rs 2 lakh and has a connectivity
plan of Rs 1,500 per month for a usage of 10 GB.
On a pay-per-use basis, a managed video conferencing service
costs Rs 1,500 for every half-hour.
“This service will serve small and medium-sized enterprises.
We have brought it down to retail for walk-in customers who need
it for social gatherings and education purposes,” said
Sarup Chowdhary, director and CEO, Reliance Webstore.
Reliance services 200-300 video conferences a day and 20,000 video
conferencing hours a month. It hopes this market would expand with
their new service and expects a revenue upside of Rs 400 crore over five years for Reliance Webstore.
Polycom’s system has been altered to meet the requirements of this low-cost
offering to India. Their system enables CD-quality audio along with high-resolution
video, even at a bandwidth of 256 kbps.
“India ranks among the top eight markets for video conferencing,” says
Hansjoerg Wagner, MD, Polycom Asia Pacific.
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Monday, 15 March 2010
Mar 14, 2010
The new Companies Bill to be adopted by Parliament
would simplify the law and equate company secretary
(CS) with the chief executive (CEO) and chief financial
officer (CFO) of a company, said Vinayak S Khanvalkar,
president, Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI),
here on Saturday. At least two out of the 10 secretarial standardsspecified by ICSI would find place in the new legislation, he added.
Against the backdrop of the Satyam Computer Services
episode, Khanvalkar said ICSI had constituted a core
group to examine the aspect of corporate governance
and made 25 recommendations to the Ministry of Corporate
Affairs. According to him, the institute investigated the role
of the CS in the Satyam fraud case and found that “there was
nothing against him”. He said the same CS, G Jayaraman, was
continuing with the new management of Satyam.
ICSI would introduce two more Post Membership
Qualification (PMQ) courses in competition law and,
corporate insolvency and restructuring as a part of its
efforts for capacity building of company secretaries in new
and emerging areas, said Khanvalkar.
The courses, already approved by the institute’s council,
would be launched within a year, he added. ICSI has
already a PMQ course on corporate governance.
Apart from these two courses, he said, ICSI would
organise short-term courses and collaborative programme
to provide exposure to its members in diversified areas.
ICSI also conducted four training programmes for the
independent directors of Life Insurance Corporation
of India (LIC), Punjab National Bank (PNB) and Bank of India
(BoI). The institute would conduct more such programmes to
make independent directors aware of their liabilities and responsibilities, he said.
Khanvalkar said a core group of experts was
working on ICSI’s Vision 2020 plan. The institute’s
future plan includes strengthening of regional councils,
going in for foreign collaborations and attracting more
students into the CS professional fold.
ICSI past president Datla Hanumantha Raju said the
institute was setting up an education research centre in
Hyderabad over an area 1.26 acres. The project was
estimated to cost about Rs 5 crore. ICSI
also constituted a student welfare fund for which the institute’s
annual contribution was Rs 25 lakh.
Power of the commissioner to revise under section 263 when the Assessing Officer took a possible view, while passing an order of assessment
Mar 14, 2010
CIT revised the order u/s 263 to include the sum of Rs.1,75,32,600/-
in the total income of the assessee under Sec.41(1) of the Income Tax Act on the ground that there had been a complete cessation of liability in regard to this amount in the previous year relevant to the assessment year 1982-83 – ITAT confirmed the order – held that – when the Assessing Officer took a possible view, while passing an order of assessment, the Commissioner exceeded his jurisdiction in seeking recourse to his power under Section 263. At the least, it must be held that the question as to whether the liability of the assessee had ceased in the previous year relevant to the Assessment Year 1982-83, was an issue on which a possible view was that there was no final or irrevocable remission or cessation of liability, within the meaning of Section 41(1) of the Act, during Assessment Year 1982-83 – order of CIT and ITAT reversed.
CASE LAW DETAILS
Decided by:, HIGH COURT OF BOMBAY,
In The case of: Grasim Industries Ltd. v. CIT,
Appeal No.:, ITR No. 113 of 1990,
Decided on: February 1, 2010,
11. Section 263 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 empowers the Commissioner to call for and examine the record of any proceedings under the Act and, if he considers that any order passed therein, by the Assessing Officer is erroneous in so far as it is prejudicial to the interests of the Revenue, to pass an order upon hearing the assessee and after an enquiry as is necessary, enhancing or modifying theassessment or cancelling the assessment and directing a fresh assessment.
The key words that are used by Section 263 are that the order must be considered by the Commissioner to be “erroneous in so far as it is prejudicial to the interests of the Revenue “.
This provision has been interpreted by the Supreme Court in several judgments to which it is now necessary to turn. In Malabar Industrial Co. Ltd. vs. CIT, 1 the Supreme Court held that the provision “cannot be invoked to correct each and every type of mistake or error committed by the Assessing Officer ” and “it is only when an order is erroneous that the Section will be attracted” The Supreme Court held that an incorrect assumption of fact or an incorrect application of law, will satisfy the requirement of the order being erroneous. An order passed in violation of the principles of natural justice or without application of mind, would be an order falling in that category. The expression “prejudicial to the interests
of the Revenue “, the Supreme Court held, it is of wide import and is not confined to a loss of tax. What is prejudicial to the interest of the Revenue is explained in the judgment of theSupreme Court:
“The phrase “prejudicial to the interests of the Revenue ” has to be read in conjunction with an erroneous order passed by the Assessing Officer. Every loss of revenue as a consequence of an order of the Assessing Officer cannot be treated as prejudicial to the interests of the Revenue. For example, when an Income tax Officer adopted one of the courses permissible and the Income tax Officer has taken one view with which the Commissioner does not agree, it cannot be treated as an erroneous order prejudicial to the interests of the Revenue, unless the view taken by the Income taxOfficer is unsustainable in law.”
The principle which has been laid down in Malabar Industrial Co. Ltd. (supra) has been followed and explained in a subsequent judgment of theSupreme Court in Commissioner of Income Tax vs Max India Ltd . 2 While interpreting the provisions of Section 80HHC(3), the Supreme Court noted that the statutory provision had been amended eleven times and different views existed on the
day when the Commissioner passed his order under Section 263.
The Court observed that “the mechanics of the section have become so complicated over the years that two views were inherently possible.” Consequently, the subsequent amendment to the statutory provision, even though it was retrospective, would not attract the provisions of Section 263 particularly when the provision of law, as it stood, on the date when the Commissioner passedthe order under Section 263, would have to be taken into account.
12. In Commissioner of Income Tax vs. Gabriel India Ltd.,3 a Division Bench of this Court observed that Section 263 does not confer an arbitrary or uncharted power on the Commissioner. In considering as to whether an order is erroneous in so far as it is prejudicial to the interests of the Revenue, the Commissioner must be guided by the material on the record.
The power of suo motu revision under Section 263(1), is in the nature of supervisory jurisdiction. Two circumstances must exist in order to enable the Commissioner to exercise the power, namely, (i)the order must be erroneous; and (ii) by virtue of the order being erroneous, prejudice must have been caused to the interests of the Revenue.
Section 263 does not empower the Commissioner to substitute his judgment for that of the Assessing Officer, unless the decision is held to be erroneous. Both the conditions for the exercise of the power must be fulfilled. The order, in other words, sought to be revised, must be erroneous and must be prejudicial to the interests of the Revenue.
13 .The question as to whether the Commissioner has acted within the fold of his jurisdiction under Section 263 or outside it, in the present case, must be decided with reference to the principles which have been laid down by theSupreme Court and by this Court. Section 41(1) provides that where an allowance or deduction has been made in the assessment for any year in respect of a loss, expenditure or trading liability incurred by the assessee and subsequently during any previous year, the assessee obtained whether in cash or in any other manner, any amount in respect of such loss or expenditure or some benefit in respect of such tradingliability by way of remission or cessation thereof, the amount obtains or the value of the benefit accruing shall be deemed to be profits and gains of business or profession and would accordingly be chargeable to income as the income of that previous year.
The State Legislature enacted the Kerala Forest Produce (Fixation of Selling Price) Act, 1978. Section 3(1) empowers the Government to fix the selling price of forest produce for the following financial year. Section 5 stipulated that after the publication of the notification under Section 3, no forest produce shall be sold by the Government at a price which is less than the notified selling price.
On 9th March 1979, the Government of Kerala issued notifications in exercise of its power underthe Act of 1978 for the period ending 31st March 1981 and also for the period commencing from 1st April 1981, being the previous year relevant to Assessment Year 1982 83. The assessee had been allowed a deduction of an amount of Rs.1.75 crores during the Assessment Years 1980 81, 1981 82 and 1982 83.
The notifications that were issued by the State Government were challenged by the assessee before the KeralaHigh Court. By its judgment dated 15th April 1981, the High Court struck down the notifications in so far as they related to eucalyptus, on the ground that in fixing the prices for eucalyptus, the State Government had not followed the procedure prescribed bythe Act.
The Kerala High Court held that matters which were required to be considered had not been placed before the Committee which was statutorily to be constituted under the provisions ofthe Act and the Committee had failed to consider relevant material before making its recommendations, in regard to the price of eucalyptus.
The judgment of the Kerala High Court, therefore, set aside the notifications on the ground that the mandate of the Act in fixing the price of forest produce had not been followed and that relevant consideration had not been borne in mind by the Committee. The liability of the assessee to pay arose by virtue of the provisions of Section 5 of the Act , under which, no forest produce could be sold by the Government at a price, which was less than the selling price; the selling price being de1` 1fined to mean that the price of forest produce fixed by the Government under Section 3.
The judgment of the KeralaHigh Court did not prohibit the government from issuing a fresh notification. After the decision of the Kerala High Court , the Expert Committee constituted under the provisions of Section 4, convened for the purposes of deciding afresh, the selling price of eucalyptus upto 31st March 1982.
The Committee held its meeting on 25th March 1982, which was six days before the end of therelevant period here, and recommended the fixation of the selling price of eucalyptus between Rs.328/ to Rs.384/ per metric ton between 1978 and 1981. The Special Secretary to the State Government in the Forest and Minor Irrigation Department recorded in a note dated 27th March 1982 that the Kerala Forest Produce (Fixation of Selling Price) Rules, 1978 had been amended on 28th May 1981.
Some doubt was expressed as to whether these Rules could fasten aliability with retrospective effect in the absence of an amendment to the parent legislation. The State Government, in pursuance of the judgment of the KeralaHigh Court proceeded to issue fresh notifications on 31st March 1981, 29th April 1981 and 29th May 1981.
By the notification dated 29th May 1981, the Government refixed the selling price in the year 1981 82 with effect from 1st June 1981. On 31st March 1982, selling prices were notified for the period from 1st April 1982.
These notifications were once again challenged by the assessee in a Writ Petition before the KeralaHigh Court. The Petition was allowed by the Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on 28th May 1994 and the notifications were set aside with a declaration that the prices fixed of bamboo, reed and eucalyptus were not payable by the Petitioner. The judgment of the KeralaHigh Court did not conclude the proceedings.
Special Leave Petitions were filed before the Supreme Court in which, while granting leave, interim orders were passed by the Supreme Court , directing the assessee to pay the price of forest produce at 60% of the rate fixed in the notification issued by the State Government under Section 3(e) ofthe Act , less the price already paid.
The Bank Guarantees furnished by the assessee were allowed to be encashed to the aforesaid extent.
TheSupreme Court expressed the hope that the parties would be able to arrive at a settlement which may be “beneficial to all concerned, having regard to the checkered history of the litigation with its attendant uncertainties, and to avoid further long drawn out litigation.”
Eventually, a settlement was arrived at between the Government of Kerala and the assessee on 27th October 1988. By the settlement, a series of matters set out in the schedule, came to be settled and parties agreed that no payment will be due by either party to the other in respect of any of the matters mentioned in the schedule.
14. The narration of facts would thus show that the liability of the assessee in respect of the payment due for the supply of forest produce, under the Kerala Forest Produce (Fixation of Selling Price) Act, 1978, was not concluded by the judgment of the Kerala High Court dated 15th April 1981.
The notifications fixing the price of eucalyptus were set aside by the Kerala High Court, on the ground that the Committee statutorily constituted under the Act, had not applied its mind to the relevant material.
The liability of the assessee to pay at the price notified, arose under the Act, for the supplies of forest produce effected by the State Government to the assessee .
The liability arose as a result of the supply of forest produce the quantification of liability was liable to be made by the instrument of the notifications issued in accordance with the provisions of the Act. The view that there was no remission or cessation of the liability during the previous year, relevant to Assessment Year 1982- 83, was a possible view having regard to the circumstances, which transpired after the judgment of the Kerala High Court.
These circumstances included the following:
(i) The recommendations made by the Expert Committee on 25th March 1982 for the refixation of prices of forest produce six days before the end of the financial year;
(ii) The issuance of fresh notifications by the State Government; (iii) The challenge by the assessee to the fresh notifications;
(iv) The judgment of the Kerala High Court dated 28th May 1984, setting aside the second set of notifications;
(v) The filing of Special Leave Petitions before the Supreme Court challenging the judgment of the Kerala High Court in the second round; and
(vi) The interim order passed by the Supreme Court requiring the assessee to pay at the rate of 60% of the prices/notification s and allowing encashment of Bank Guarantees for that purpose;
and (vii) The eventual resolution of the dispute by a settlement of 27th October 1988.
15. In these circumstances, when the Assessing Officer took a possible view, while passing an order of assessment, the Commissioner exceeded his jurisdiction in seeking recourse to his power under Section 263. At the least, it must be held that the question as to whether the liability of the assessee had ceased in the previous year relevant to the Assessment Year 1982 83, was an
issue on which a possible view was that there was no final or irrevocable remission or cessation of liability, within the meaning of Section 41(1) of the Act, during Assessment Year 1982 83.
This view could not, by any stretch of logic, be regarded as being insustainable in law. The condition precedent to the exercise of jurisdiction under Section 263, is that the order sought to be revised must be erroneous in so far as it is prejudicial to the interests of the Revenue.
Following the judgments of the Supreme Court in Malabar Industrial Co. and Max India Ltd. (supra), it is now a settled principle that where the Assessing Officer has adopted one of the courses permissible in law or where two views are possible and the Assessing Officer has taken one view with which the Commissioner does not agree, it cannot be treated as an erroneous order prejudicial to the interests of the Revenue unless the view taken by the Assessing Officer is unsustainable in law. In the present case, two views were inherently possible and the assessee therefore, cannot be subjected to the exercise of the jurisdiction under Section 263.
The Tribunal, with respect, has adopted a rather simplistic view of the matter, in coming to the conclusion that the liability had ceased to exist, consequent upon the judgment of the Kerala High Court, dated 15th Apri1981.
This clearly overlooks the checkered history of the litigation. The fact that the litigation had a checkered history was noted in the interim order of the Supreme Court, which also referred to the “attendant uncertainties ” and to the possibility of a “further long drawn out litigation “.
Friday, 12 March 2010
Mar 12, 2010
Applications for issue of passports under the
Tatkal scheme are accepted if a verification
certificate is submitted in the prescribed performa,
duly signed by a designated officer of the Central/State
Governments, or on submission of three prescribed documents.
Two lists containing designated officers and prescribed
documents are enclosed at Annexure A and B.
Generally, Passport Offices have adhered to the time-target of issuing passports under the Tatkal scheme. Under the scheme, fresh passports are issued within the time-target of 1-7 days and re-issued passports within three working days, subject to no adverse information being found in the system during the processing of the applications. The Government has elaborated a public grievances redressal mechanism to attend to all grievances, including those under the Tatkal scheme, at every passport office as well as at Consular, Passport, and Visa Division of the Ministry.
List of 14 documents:
a) Electors Photo Identity Card (EPIC)
b) Service Identity Cards issued by State/Central Government, Public Sector Undertakings, Local bodies or Public Limited Companies
c ) SC/ST/OBC Certificates
d) Freedom Fighter Identity Cards
e) Arms Licenses
f) Property Documents such as Pattas, Registered Deeds etc
g) Ration Cards
h) Pension Documents such as Ex-Servicemen’s Pension book/Pension Payment Order, Ex- Servicemen’s Widow/Dependent Certificates, Old Age Pension Order, Widow Pension Order
i) Railway Identification Cards
j) Income Tax Identity(PAN) cards
k) Bank/Kisan/Post Office Passbooks
l) Student Identity Cards issued by recognized educational institutions
m) Driving Licenses
n) Birth Certificates issued under the Registrar of Births & Deaths (RBD) Act
Note: At least one of the three documents submitted should be a photo identity document and at least one should be, out of those listed at ‘a’ to ‘i’ above.
The List of authorities competent to issue Verification Certificates (VCs)
a) An Under Secretary /Deputy Secretary/Director/Joint Secretary/Special Secretary/Secretary/Cabinet Secretary in the Government of India;
b) A Director/Joint Secretary/Additional Secretary/Special Secretary/Chief Secretary in a State Government
c) A Sub-Divisional Magistrate/First Class Judicial Magistrate/Additional DM/District Magistrate of the District of residence of the applicant
d) A District Superintendent of Police, DIG/IG/DGP of District of residence of the applicant
e) A Major and above in the army, Lt. Commander and above in the Navy and Sq. Leader and above in the Air Force
f) General Manger of a Public Sector Undertaking
g) A member of an All India Service or Central Service, who is equivalent to or above the rank of an Under Secretary to the Government i.e. in the pay scale of Rs. 10,000-15,200 or above
h) Resident Commissioners/Additional Residential Commissioners of all State Governments based in Delhi
i) Concerned Tehsildars or concerned SHO for an applicant staying in the area under his/her jurisdiction.
j) Chairman/Chairperson of Apex Business Organizations such as Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASSOCHAM) in respect of owners,, partners or directors of the companies that are members of the concerned Chamber.
This information was given by Dr. Shashi Tharoor, Minister of State of External Affairs in reply to a question by Shri Gireesh Kumar Sanghi in Rajya Sabha today.