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PIL wants rich farmers taxed, HC sends notice to Centre, states

Chandigarh : The Punjab and Haryana High Court today put the Union of India and the states of Punjab and Haryana on notice on a PIL against the exclusion of agricultural income from income tax. Filed by advocate Hari Chand Arora, the petition sought that tax be levied on the agricultural income of rich farmers. A Division Bench of Justices Ajay Kumar Mittal and Amit Rawal fixed November 17 as the next date of hearing. Arora contended that Section 10 (1) of the Income Tax Act, exempting agricultural income, was highly arbitrary with even the affluent farmers benefiting from it. He claimed that industrialists, transporters and even liquor barons benefited from the provision by projecting earnings from other businesses as agricultural income. Arora argued that exemption under Section 10 (1) was against the basic principles of the Constitution, which envisaged India as “a socialist republic”. Referring to affidavits filed along with nomination papers for Assembly polls, Arora said rich politicians running big businesses too were taking advantage of this provision. He specifically referred to the Badals, Manpreet Badal, Rana Gurjit Singh, Kuljit Singh Nagra and Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

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