During one of the TV programmes during the budget, one prominent speaker said something that resonated with the back of my brain. The gist was, “we don't expect anything at all from this government, so as long as they don't do anything “evil”, I won't be disappointed.”
Unfortunately... this hope was belied. There were several “evil” provisions in Budget 2013.
None so one more so than the egregious act of changing the Income Tax Act to allow the government to tax transactions such as the Vodafone Hutch deal.
The right of the government to introduce a new tax is not the problem. Nor is the advisability of the tax under question. Even if ill-advised it would be only one more example of stupidity, not evil.
The problem is the retrospective application of the law – for for no less than 50 years in the past!
Now, that is evil !!
If the government can overrule court judgements (effectively its own laws) with retrospective effect, no one will ever trust the Indian government again. Who knows – the next time you **** off a bureaucrat, they might decide to change the law so that you can be prosecuted under a law that you never broke!
This is absurd to say the least... and if there's one reason why investors are disgusted with Shri Pranab Mukherjee's latest budget, it is this. Pure evil!
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