Twin blows in three months

Govt must move on, accept retro tax arbitration awards

Business Standard Editorial Comment New Delhi
cairn, oil and gas

In exactly three months, the government has lost two international arbitration cases, this time against energy company Cairn over a retrospective tax claim. India has been told to pay Cairn Rs 8,000 crore. The sum is limited to the revenue lost by Cairn when its assets were impounded and sold by the tax authorities, and its dividends confiscated, alongside interest. This comes after the government lost another arbitration against Vodafone over retrospective taxation in September this year. In the Cairn case, the arbitration Bench — including the arbitrator nominated by the Indian government — unanimously decided that the tax demand violated the bilateral investment treaty between India and the UK.
The question is where the government will go from here. There is, of course, one wise course: To accept that the attempt to claw back taxation retrospectively, even if justified, has been a legal and public-relations failure since the beginning. Arun Jaitley

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First Published: Dec 23 2020 | 10:34 PM IST

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