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SC takes 1% ‘commission’ from Vodafone tax case court deposit, will use the Rs 25 crore to fund itself

The Supreme Court has demanded a one per cent commission on the Government’s withdrawal of the Rs 2,500 crore deposited earlier in the court by Vodafone as a prerequisite to hearing the appeals against the Bombay High Court’s verdict, reported the Times of India.

The apex court relied upon entry 26, part III of the third schedule of the Supreme Court Rules 1966 when it asked the Director General of Income Tax for commission to handle the appeal against the Bombay High Court’s validation of a $2bn capital gain tax claim on Vodafone in its acquisition of Hutchison Essar.

“On November 15, an SC Bench comprising Chief Justice S H Kapadia and Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar had agreed to hear Vodafone's appeal with a direction to the the British telecom giant to deposit Rs 2,500 crore within three weeks. It had also asked Vodafone to secure the rest of the demand, that is Rs 8,500 crore, by providing bank guarantee of a nationalised bank within eight weeks,“ the TOI reported.

While observing that the government would have to refund the entire deposit along with interest in case of Vodafone’s victory over the IT department in the SC, the court didn’t clarify if the commission was refundable too.

According to TOI the costs and court fees collected by the SC can contribute to the consolidated fund of India, out of which budgetary allocations are made for the apex court’s expenditures.

Correction: Mint reported on 17 December that the original Times of India reported was incorrect and that the court clarified that the fee would not be utilised to improve judicial infrastructure.

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