Direct Tax Regime Is Need of the Hour
In his article, ‘Government must go in for direct tax’ (NT, June 27), Ajit Ranade has rightly said, ‘In India, the ratio of indirect to direct taxes collected in the aggregate is 65 to 35. The ratio should be reversed.’ Indeed, one of the reasons for India’s nasty performance in human development is our indirect tax regime. Poorest of the poor persons are made to cough up substantial and same amount of indirect tax as their creamy counterparts when they are to buy anything from salt to slippers and from food to medicine. While direct taxes depend on the taxpayer’s ability to pay, indirect taxes being blind to the economic status of the taxpayers, hit poor people the hardest. Given huge income disparity among Indians, India should rely more on direct taxes which is just for all. Our indirect tax regime is also one of the factors of rising inequality among Indians. According to the New World Wealth report, our country is ranked seventh in the list of top wealthiest countries in the world but on a per capita basis, the average Indian is quite poor. This is a clear case of lopsided growth of our national body that can turn out to be malignant if not immediately taken care of. While the richest ten per cent of our population has 76.3 per cent of the nation’s wealth, the poorest half is reeling with a meagre 4.1 per cent. Goods and Services Tax (GST) can streamline our indirect taxes. However, what India needs now is not a GST regime, which is just another avatar of indirect tax, but a direct tax regime that has helped many countries get a developed economy.
SUJIT DE, Kolkata
On Scottish Episcopal Church Approving Same-sex Marriages
Gay Christians from any Anglican Church can now hope to get married in a Scottish Episcopal church after the approval by the church of same-sex marriages by a majority vote of bishops, priests and the laity. Canon law has also been conveniently amended by deleting the clause, which defines marriage as a union between man and woman to prevent the marginalistion of gays in the community. Surely this was not intended by God when he created man and woman as husband and wife and commanded them to increase and multiply. In Leviticus 20: 13, God also spoke to Mosses saying, “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both have committed an abomination, and they shall be put to death. They themselves shall account for their blood.” Most Anglican Churches including the Church of England are horrified at the new sexual immorality being preached by the Scottish Episcopal Church and have threatened to split, as same-sex union was never the will of God. Even Jesus Christ never had such abominations in mind when He founded his Church with his 12 Apostles. The “smoke of Satan” it seems, has now entered the church.
A F NAZARETH, Alto Porvorim
On Karnan’s Petition to Governor Seeking Parole
All those who thought the sordid saga of Justice C S Karnan would end after a seven-judge Constitution Bench sentenced him to six-month imprisonment for contempt of court on May 9 were proved partially wrong. Karnan turned fugitive for a good one-and-a-half months before being arrested from Coimbatore on June 20. Thereby, by design or by default, the judiciary was spared of the ignominy of a sitting judge being put behind the bars because Justice Karnan had retired on June 12. Though Karnan termed the contempt law as a “cathartic jurisprudence belonging to the dark ages,” the seven-judge bench of the Supreme Court was in no mood to relent. Chief Justice of India J S Khehar had attached great importance to the matter by constituting a seven-member bench instead of the usual five-member bench. Usually, a larger bench is formed only when there is a previous order on a similar matter from a smaller bench. The former Calcutta High Court judge has now petitioned the West Bengal Governor for parole in the interest of “justice and equity.” One wonders what equity is Justice Karnan talking about because he was given ample opportunities to mend his ways. Reckless behaviour in court rooms, open disrespect towards colleagues and senior judges and unsubstantiated allegations against them are not what a common man can expect of a High Court judge. Coming from a guardian of the judiciary like a HC judge, such deplorable behaviour on the part of Karnan was totally unwarranted. The apex court, under the circumstances, did the best it could because recommending Karnan for impeachment procedures would have been more ignominious for the judge. The apex court has sent a firm message that nobody, irrespective of his/her stature, is above the law. If a person who has to set example by his/her impeccable conduct turns aggressor, then the apex court inevitably has to crack the whip which it has done. The only point of interest now is since the apex court is yet to give a reasoned order on the case, and since one member of the seven-judge bench Justice P C Ghose has retired after the May 9 interim order, whether the issue will be heard afresh and provide Karnan a breathing space.
GANAPATHI BHAT, AKOLA