Delhi Lawyers On Strike in Sales Tax Dispute

The government of Delhi, India, is trying to extend its sales tax to cover the services lawyers provide to their clients. The lawyers are fighting back.

Lawyers in district courts of the capital observed strike Thursday to oppose the imposition of service tax on law firms.

Around 20,000 lawyers in Delhi abstained from work, paralyzing the lower courts.

No advocate appeared in the cases in Patiala House, Tis Hazari, Karkardooma, Rohini and Dwarka courts.

The cases listed for the day were adjourned, a Delhi Bar Association office bearer said.

“The lawyers of India will not tolerate any attempt by the government to impose service tax on the legal fraternity and shall adopt all peaceful means to oppose such uncalled and unwarranted taxes,” the coordination committee of All Bar Associations of Delhi said in a statement.

A little Googling shows me that the lawyers in Delhi tend to strike at the drop of a hat. They struck to protest a temporary suspension of two lawyers, struck again to protest a change in court procedure regarding adjournments, struck in when miffed at the treatment of two lawyers at the hands of a bailiff, and struck once more in to protest poor security at court. That covers page one of the Google results.

So there may be less to this dramatic-seeming action than meets the eye.

In other news, British mogul Guy Hands has become a taxpatriate.

The financier is now conducting all official business in his capacity as chairman of EMI, the music group, and Terra Firma from his Guernsey offices, where he moved earlier , flying senior executives over to the Channel Islands for key meetings.

He is understood to have sold his London house as part of his commitment not to return to the UK for some time over his unhappiness with rules that make UK citizens living abroad pay tax if they spend more than 90 days in the country.

“He has just taken a conservative view over the 90-day tax rule and decided to stay away, whether that’s for one year, two or three,” said one person close to Mr Hands. “Where he is in the world doesn’t make a great deal of difference.”

Mr Hands’ move to Guernsey was made in frustration at the Government’s decision to increase the top rate of income tax payments to 50pc from next year.