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Inheritance Tax: A real shocker
I was shocked to read in HT dated 11.06.2012, page 15, column 6 that our economists are planning to introduce Tax on inheritance. A move, which is capricious, illogical, specious and sadistically arbitrary. It seems if our economists are given their way then they will not refrain from taxing the even the sunlight, moon light, air, water and even taking birth or marrying into an affluent homes etc, etc.

This also smells of a malefic intent and seems selfishly conspirative against the affluents as in many cases the assets have appreciated many times in value over the years from their original purchase value and the inheritors in most cases cannot afford such a tax liability. Their inability would end up in the government auctioning of their properties to loot tax and rendering such inheritors homeless on the road.

This may be a form of malicious land grab scheme by the land mafia. It can also be that both the economic advisor and the introducer of such a tax are a jealous lot though this reason may be a little far fetched to think about but as this is India, everything is a possibility here keeping in mind the dismal functioning of our government ever since Independence.

We were eagerly waiting to see Zero Tax regime with the introduction of Baba Ramdev’s formula based on Banking Transaction Tax and this actually comes as a shocker no wonder it was an election gimmick. The government already has wealth tax earning for it and introduction of Inheritance Tax would be a foolish move.

This move is against people of India and especially those who cannot pay such a tax like widows, dependents, underage citizens, old people, unemployed and others with no known source of incomes. The hardest hit would be the women and the Dalits if such a ridiculous tax were ever introduced.

Property ownership would be a bane and the speculative property market would be severely hit as people will prefer rentals rather than buy property subjugating their inheritors to such a huge liability of an inheritance tax.

Inheritance like birth, marriage, right to live is a fundamental right and cannot be taxed. Right to property was originally a fundamental right, but under 44th Amendment Act, right to property ceased to be a Fundamental right. Instead the right to property is mentioned under 300A of Indian Constitution, stating that no person can be deprived of his property save by law hence inheritance is protected by our constitution.

‘Inheritance tax’ would be like the ‘Salt tax’ under the British Raj. Fundamental rights for Indians have also been aimed at overturning the inequalities of pre-independence social practices such as sky-scraping tax discrimination, confiscation of property due to lack of male heir, salt tax, marriage tax, birth tax etc. Specifically, fundamental rights have been established to abolish untouchability and thus prohibit discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth making Dalits to freely inherit and own their ancestral properties.

The rural and village communities would be hit the hardest especially the Dalits as their basic farming rights would be endangered because of it. Whole village communities would be rendered landless, homeless and jobless if such a tax was introduced as Indian villages mostly inherit land instead of buying it.

Upper caste would once again have a tool to grab their land putting the whole Dalit farming communities to undying hardship and exploitation. You cannot have different laws for the rural and urban communities or laws based on status and gender inequalities. Curtailing right to inheritance in any way goes against our fundamental rights

The introduction of Inheritance tax would be against our Fundamental Right to Equality as government cannot discriminate people because of their earnings, assets and place in society hence they cannot introduce Inheritance taxation under law because it goes against our basic right to equality. We are all equal before law and the government cannot prohibit or curtail ones inheritance rights because of taxation.

This move goes against our right to freedom as it curtails ones right to create wealth for one’s family and country. A person who earns does so for the sake of his family, to live freely, respectfully, to maintain his or her status in society and in dignity and for his basic survival. No person would like that after his or her death their children, spouses, dependents, aged are deprived of their basic right to inherit liquid wealth, immovable assets etc they had worked so hard to create over their lifetimes by their inability to pay due to lack of resources or reasons beyond them like inflation, natural appreciation etc.

This move also harbingers on Right against exploitation as the government would be exploiting the precarious situation of an inheritors inability to pay tax on an immovable asset because of his lack of cash resources by confiscating, auctioning his or her property which would go against the basic laws of Humanity. The involvement of cash component as part of immovable properties true market prices in such cases would be a dead loss to the inheritor.

This move also goes against our Right to freedom of religion as our inheritance laws are based on our religious laws and texts like the Hindu law, The Sharia etc, which either prohibit such taxation or do not mention them.

This move also goes against Cultural and Educational rights, which preserves the right of any section of citizens to conserve their culture, language or script, and right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice. As inheritors of such landed institutions, bodies, trusts etc, who cannot pay inheritance tax due to lack of resources or any other reason, would lose their age-old control over such institutions, trusts and bodies to either the government or third parties belonging completely to other sects or religion.

In my view introduction of ‘Inheritance Tax’ would go against the interests of Indian citizens.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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