Much has been said about the Vodafone case, especially on the legitimacy of India’s right to taxthe Hutchison gains. This paper steers clear of that debate. Its contribution is rather simple. Itpresents a Realist’s account of the Bombay High Court’s recent decision in Vodafone International Holdings B.V v. Union of India.
Incontrovertibly, the Vodafone case presents the Indian Courts with a choice – to either tax theHutchison gains or to declare the transaction tax free in India. The only statutory provision toassist the court is section 9 of the Indian Income tax Act, 1961 (hereinafter referred to as the‘Act’) that taxes capital gains in India if they arise from the transfer of a capital asset situate inIndia. The Bombay High Court has held that Hutchison gains are chargeable to tax in India.
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(The author is a Chartered Accountant and leads the Direct Tax Practice at M/s
Lakshmi Kumaran & Sridharan.)