A Contribution and Not an Exaction

O. Chinnappa Reddy

in The Court and the Constitution of India

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780198066286
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081462 | DOI:
A Contribution and Not an Exaction

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Evasion of tax, avoidance of tax, tax planning, or call it what you will was considered quite the fashionable and right thing to do in the days when taxes were no more than exactions of money from the subject by the state, when most of the countries all over the world were not welfare states as they are now. Even judges appeared to approve of it, as demonstrated in Revenue Commissioners v. Duke of Westminster. In Bank of Chettinad, the Privy Council of India purported to follow the observations in the Duke of Westminster. So did some judgments of the Indian Supreme Court. In McDowell & Co. v. Commercial Tax Officers, the Court explained how the Westminster principle had become obsolete in the very land of its birth and that the tax evasion or tax avoidance was to be viewed with disfavour by judges. However, in UOI v. Azadi Bachao Andolan, a division bench disapproved McDowell in strong words, describing the judgment in the case as a hiccup.

Keywords: India; Supreme Court; taxes; Privy Council; tax evasion; tax avoidance

Chapter.  1139 words. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law

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