Special Correspondent

Bar Association, Chamber of Commerce allege foul play

Thiruvananthapuram: A storm of protest is brewing in the city over the reported move to shift the office of the Appellate Tribunal for Agricultural Income Tax and Commercial Taxes from Thiruvananthapuram to Ernakulam.

The Chamber of Commerce, Thiruvananthapuram has expressed strong protest over the move. A press note quoting chamber secretary S.N. Reghuchandran Nair said the relocation of key offices from the capital city had become a regular phenomenon. The press note pointed out that the Railway Engineer’s office was recently shifted to Ernakulam.

Mr. Nair urged the government to intervene in the matter and check the practice. Alleging that the move to relocate the appellate tribunal was fuelled by vested interests, he called upon the government to retain it in Thiruvananthapuram.

The Thiruvananthapuram Bar Association alleged foul play behind the move to relocate the tribunal from the capital city.

‘Conspiracy’

A communication issued from association president C.K. Sitaram said a section of officials were conspiring to deprive the capital of key institutions.

“The tribunal, comprising a full Bench, had been functioning here for the last 53 years. Additional Benches are functioning at Kottayam, Mattanchery, Ernakulam, Palakkad and Kozhikode. The Finance Minister had informed the last Assembly session that efforts were on to set up two more additional Benches to handle cases before the Commercial Taxes Department.

But one month later, he issued orders winding up the additional Benches functioning at Kottayam, Mattanchery and Palakkad. It required the intervention of the High Court to reverse the government decision,” Mr. Sitaram said.

Mr. Sitaram said the forces opposing the establishment of a High Court Bench in Thiruvananthapuram were behind the move to shift the tribunal. He called for steps to check the move. Mr. Sitaram also urged the government to establish the headquarters of the State Administrative Tribunal in Thiruvananthapuram.

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