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Will natural justice be extended to NRIs too? Due to COVID-19

June 19,2020 

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced an extension of the moratorium on loan for 6 months. Supreme Court ordered extension of limitation period under General or Special Laws, till further order/s are made by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in this regard. The Department of Financial Services has sought public comments on decriminalizing 39 sections in 19 Statutes. The deadlines to file and pay 2019 federal income taxes are postponed to July 15,2020. A few State Governments have cancelled the Public exams for classes 10th and 11th standard in view of high numbers of coronavirus cases There is no second opinion that natural justice is being delivered to all, in view of serious pandemic situations. These are all understandable and agreeable. 


A lot of NRIs have landed India before lockdown announced in India. On March 19, 2020, the DGCA had announced that no international commercial passenger flight operations would take place in India from March 29. From then, the NRIs are stranded in India. As per the Income-tax Act, an individual is deemed to be resident in India If he is in India for a period of 182 days or more during the previous year Therefore the clock is ticked off and the time is running. In view of having stayed in India for more than 182 days, then the person shall lose the status of ‘Non-Resident’. It may lead to serious consequences of tax liability on foreign income and the disturbed status in future years etc. 


It is not the intention of the person to staying in India, the circumstances beyond his/her control force to stay in India. Therefore, the person is entitled to receive natural justice like others affected by COVID-19. Therefore, the Finance Ministry should take note of it and extend the natural justice to NRI community by excluding the days of travel suspension in civil aviation in India from the total number of days stay in India while deciding the status of a person under Income Tax Act. This has to be urgently looked into and remove the panic situation among NRI people.


- Dinamalar Reader R.Venkatachalam

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