Somesh Arora: The body and the law


This one is about a reported story from Allahabad, where a body was allowed to rot for more than two days close to the rail line and in proximity of the station because the G.R.P and other police authorities were not sure who has to draw the panchnama. Seen purely from the legal prospective the problem was indeed complex. For the law provided that for crimes committed within one K.M. of the office of the Station Superintendent were to be investigated by the G.R.P. and beyond that by the local police, therefore on the spot verification of the Jurisdiction was necessary as the unfortunate body was lying  close to the end  region of one K.M. Again, one K.M had to be measured with a standard or approved measuring tape which should have had the approval of the Weight and Measurement authorities and should have been inspected by the Inspector of Legal Metrology. Further, such Measure should have been stamped and renewed every two years; otherwise some stupid lawyer like me may raise the questions. The matters do not come to an end here, it is required to be decided as to whether such distance of one K.M. is required to be measured from the centre of the office of the Station superintendent or from the left or right side of his door or from the middle of the door and whether such distance has to be crow flight or depth of the platform to rail line level is also required to be measured. For a ` Barra sahib’ to answer all these questions on note sheets can surely take a lot of time. So, next time it is better to tell a body to be or a person on suicide mission to steer clearly clear of this one K.M distance so that its soul can rest in peace in heaven and body ( mortal remains) can reach Triveni at the earliest.

Flourishing Indian Road Bazar

Perhaps one of the great tourist attractions of the incredible India is the Lal Batti( Red Light-not to be confused with any flesh trade)  Road Bazar, which has not only flourished in Metros but also to smaller towns, thanks to the tacit support of the traffic cops. The children, ladies, oldies, newly promoted beggars behaving half like beggars and half like Salespersons, all add to the colour. The vendors appear the moment there is a red light and disappear with the green, yellow is normally reserved for giving the change. The wares change with whatever the Customs allow or closes its eyes to come from China. While in the past these were  indigenous tissue paper boxes to aggarbattis which escaped Central Excise duties, with changing times the Custom duty evasion is more visible with Chinese  Mobile battery chargers, auto parts like steering wheel covers, Chinese balloons with chinky eyed Hanuman and Superman and Mickey mouse vying for the  honors and attention from the prospective shoppers. Latest are waving pots with the waiving flowers. Sending a timely reminder that earlier in Delhi we had pots in the gardens and then gardens in the pots and now with water table drying we have both the garden and the pot on the dashboard of the car. The negotiation is so quick and sound that it can put to shame even experts in the Commercial team of Reliance. Deals are struck on the run by negotiating prices which can come down from a Hundred to a Ten, even before the Seconds clock on the red light can come down by 15 seconds. Such a bazaar does not even exist in China as the Cops there are not so accommodating to small children and ladies so as to permit them to run the risk of their life to allow the cops to earn some extra bucks.

Service tax- welcome the respite: I had promised readers of RTT to do a write up this time on how complex are the Point of Taxation Rules,2011 under service tax, but now I am refraining to do so, because while enacting the Finance Act, 2011, the same have been amended and made practical and implementable. The authorities, therefore, deserve to be applauded for the prompt action taken and in quickly redressing the grievances and apprehensions expressed in public. It is a fact of life, that there is  no one person or group which does not commit mistakes while doing legislative drafting, but accepting the same and correcting it in time is a great quality, which greatly reduces prospective litigation. While we are not aware of the personalities involved, it sure raises hopes that the team at work which has exhibited open mindedness will also continue with the same zeal and make service tax legislation go back to its past glory of being simple and tax payer friendly legislation.

EPFO -36 months limit to stop interest:  Now, this is another case of two legislations being at loggerheads with each other and making the life of the public difficult in the process. Employees Provident Fund Organization, through a recent dictate has brought out that those members whose accounts remain inoperative for consecutive three years will not receive any payment of interest after third year. Therefore, the obvious option is to withdraw the money within three years rather than to keep the account, when you go out of employment or are unable to continue to contribute. Sounds simple. But now look at the Income-tax provisions which provide that in case you claimed deduction u/s 80-C and with draw the money within three years of the contribution in provident Fund, then you are liable to pay tax as you might have been required to pay in the year in which you actually made contribution, as if you never made it. Therefore, the choice is yours to either not lose interest in the hands of E.P.F.O. by closing account within three years or to save tax by not withdrawing money from EPFO within three years and thereby to loose interest. It appears there is an urgent need for the Government Policy makers to understand laws of other departments before embarking on the path of policy making within their own.