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Govt launches ambitious national electronic I-T judicial database

Govt launches ambitious national electronic I-T judicial database
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The much-talked about repository called the National Judicial Reference System (NJRS) was envisaged about three years ago for the I-T Department which is one of the largest litigant among government departments.

According to data, tax demand of over Rs 3.5 lakh crore is under litigation before several courts and appellate authorities under the direct taxes category.

“The CBDT has launched the limited edition (beta version) of NJRS recently after it was conceptualised few years back to revolutionise and ease litigation in the I-T Department for the benefit of both the government and taxpayers. The full and public operationalisation of the portal is expected to be done by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley soon,” said a senior finance ministry official.

The official added, “The database has records of over 2.5 lakh appeals and over 1.45 lakh orders
and judgements. Now, a tax officer can check any reference on judicial orders relating to direct taxes and status of appeals across the country of the department with a click.”

The NJRS will also have an interface for taxpayers so that they can see the status of their I-T cases on the portal by using a unique code which could either be the Permanent Account Number (PAN) or the case number of the assessee, the official said.

A central processing centre for the NJRS has been established at Nashik by the tax department and it will act as a repository of all judgements and pending appeals related to Direct Tax cases at Income Tax Appellate Tribunals (ITATs), Authority for Advance Ruling (AAR), High Courts and the Supreme Court.

“The NJRS will function with the help of smart search facilities and flowcharts for tax officers engaged in litigation with the assessee or entity at various stages. The portal will enable them monitor appeal dates, check cause lists and undertake research and analysis for strengthening their cases by taking reference from previous orders made by the courts in I-T cases,” the official said.

The I-T Department's Legal and Research (L and R) wing has sourced over 1.45 lakh judgements and orders of the ITAT, including close to 50,000 cases, with their summaries for use by department officials.

Also, data of about 2.25 lakh appeals of ITAT, 4,000 appeals in the Andhra Pradesh High Court and over 10,000 appeals in the apex court, updated till January 2015, have been fed into the NJRS till now.

“The department officers have been provided a secure gateway to access facilities to carry out research and prepare case notes, facility to mark appeals for priority attention, guidelines to online process Special Leave Petitions, interface to exchange communication between various I-T offices on cases of similar nature and interest, among others.

"The system is the first of its kind in the country for comprehensive litigation management in any government department," the official said.
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