In an attempt to provide some respite to the investors and
ensure a taxpayer-friendly approach in revenue collection, the
Finance Minister of India has recently assured that the Income-Tax
Authorities ("ITA") will not recklessly
implement the retrospective tax rules. The Government of India
("GoI") has introduced retrospective
amendments in the Income Tax Act, 1961 which empowers the ITA to
tax the indirect transfer of shares when the underlying assets are
located in India.
The GoI has now referred the issue of retrospective tax rules to
the committee headed by Mr. Parthasarathi Shome, (the
"Shome Committee"). Earlier, the Shome
Committee had recommended that the General Anti Avoidance Rules
("GAAR") be deferred for three years.
GAAR, giving ITA powers to scrutinize any transaction that they
feel was structured to evade taxes, was introduced in the Finance
Act, 2012 to come into effect from April 1, 2013.
Finance Minister has further stated that the implementation of
GAAR provisions and the retrospective tax rules would be subject to
the final report of the Shome Committee, which is expected by the
end of September, 2012.
GAAR provisions and the retrospective tax rules have drawn sharp
criticism from all spheres, since its introduction. The recent
statements by the Finance Minister appear to be GoI's effort to
perk up the investors who have been apprehensive about the
repercussions of implementation of the GAAR provisions and
retrospective tax rules.
Law for Safer Workplace
The Lok Sabha (Lower House) ("LS") on September 3,
2012, finally gave its nod to the Sexual Harassment of Women at
Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Bill, 2010
("Bill"), to deal with the menace of sexual harassment at
work place. The Bill which was pending before the LS since 2010
underwent a radical facelift, owing to pressures from various women
organizations and critical reviews by the parliamentary standing
committee, before being approved.
The Bill, which still has to get the Rajya Sabha's (Upper
House) sanction, defines 'sexual harassment' to include
"any unwelcome act or behavior directly or by implication of
physical contact and advances, or a demand or request for sexual
favors, or making sexually colored remarks or showing pornography
or any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of a
The most noteworthy aspect of the Bill is that it brings under
its ambit "domestic workers", whether employed full-time,
part-time or temporarily for household work in any house for
remuneration whether in cash or kind, either directly or through
Some of the key features of the Bill are:
Provides for safeguards against wrong or fallacious charges of
Makes it mandatory for every employer to constitute an internal
complaints committee at each office or branch with ten or more
employees, to deal with cases and complaints of sexual
Enlists offences that will qualify as sexual harassment viz.
making sexual remarks, demand for sexual favor, act of physical
advance or an unwelcome touch, etc.;
Applicability of the Bill is wide enough to include not only
employees but also clients, customers, apprentice, or daily wage
workers who enter the workplace; and
Provides for penalties for employer for non compliance.
While women organizations and activists have welcomed the
passing of the Bill, various other social interest groups have
raised their concerns on certain aspects that have not been
included or addressed in the Bill such as the Bill not protecting
male workers against sexual harassment by co-workers.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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