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Amin Merchant vs. Chairman CBEC (Supreme Court)
September, 21st 2016

The fact that the Finance Minster announced a concession in Parliament does not entitle the assessee to relief if the same is not set out in the Finance Act

(i) The whole thrust of the appellant is that the proposals of the Finance Minister were duly approved by the Parliament. No doubt, the appellant has placed before this Court the proposals of the Finance Minister which discloses the intention of the Government but there is no material placed before us to demonstrate that the budget proposals are duly accepted by the Parliament. It is an admitted fact that pursuant to the proposals, the Finance Act was passed by the Parliament wherein for the goods specified under Tariff Sub-Heading 2208.10, particular tariff was specified. We are unable to agree with the argument advanced by the appellant for the reason that he is unable to make note of the difference between a proposal moved before the Parliament and a statutory provision enacted by the Parliament, because the process of Taxation involves various considerations and criteria.

(ii) Every legislation is done with the object of public good as said by Jeremy Bentham. Taxation is an unilateral decision of the Parliament and it is the exercise of the sovereign power. The financial proposals put forth by the Finance Minister reflects the governmental view for raising revenue to meet the expenditure for the financial year and it is the financial policy of the Central Government. The Finance Minster’s speech only highlights the more important proposals of the budget. Those are not the enactments by the Parliament. The law as enacted is what is contained in the Finance Act. After it is legislated upon by the Parliament and a rate of duty that is prescribed in relation to a particular Tariff Head that constitutes the authoritative expression of the legislative will of Parliament. Now in the present facts of the case, as per the finance bill, the legislative will of the Parliament is that for the commodities falling under Tariff Head 2208.10, the tariff is Rs.300/- per litre or 400% whichever is higher. Even assuming that the amount of tax is excessive, in the matters of taxation laws, the Court permits greater latitude to the discretion of the legislature and it is not amenable to judicial review. In view of the foregoing discussion, we are unable to concur with the submission of the appellant that the budget proposals are duly passed and approved by the Parliament and moreover, if the appellant is aggrieved by the particular tariff prescribed under the Finance Act and the same is contrary to the approved budget proposals, he ought to have questioned the same if permissible


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