THE PUNJAB and Haryana High Court has issued notices to the Centre and state governments of Punjab and Haryana on a public interest litigation challenging the tax exemption provided under the Income Tax Act to rich and affluent farmers. A division bench of Justices Ajay Kumar Mittal and Amit Rawal Tuesday sought response from the authorities on the petition filed by advocate Hari Chand Arora who has said the Section 10 (1) of the Income Tax Act – which provides for excluding the agriculture income from the total income of a person – was highly arbitrary and discriminatory as even rich farmers had been given benefit under the provision.
“Big industrialists, transporters and liquor barons are taking benefit of this provision and causing huge loss to revenue by diverting income from other business to show it to be agricultural income for avoiding liability to pay income tax,” Arora said in the petition.
Arora has cited the affidavits filed by various political leaders during the Assembly election earlier this year to plead his case. He has referred to submissions made by leaders such as Prakash Singh Badal, Sukhbir Singh Badal, Manpreet Singh Badal, Rana Gurjit Singh, Kuljit Singh Nagra and Bhupinder Singh Hooda to substantiate his contention that “rich political leaders, running other business empires are also availing benefit of such exemption.”