Open to out-of-court settlement in Vodafone case: Sinha

New Delhi: Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha said on Friday that the government is open to out-of-court settlement in cases where arbitration has been initiated including the vexed Vodafone tax case.

“As far as out of court settlement for Vodafone is concerned, we have always said that we are prepared to discuss with friends and colleagues in Vodafone in good faith as to whether it might be possible to get to negotiated settlement… we are always open to those discussions,” Sinha said here.

Both British majors – Vodafone and Cairn Energy – have initiated arbitration proceedings against the government over disputes arising out of India’s retrospective application of the tax law.

Sinha also said that the best way to reduce litigation is by elimination of exemptions and reducing corporate tax rates.

“The other thing that we have underway is simplification of the tax code.. so whether it is through cleaning up or streamlining exemptions, whether it is simplifying the tax code, we are absolutely trying to reduce the amount of litigation that is in the system right now,” he said.

Sinha also said that the priorities for the government in the forthcoming winter session of parliament were the law on goods and services tax (GST) and the bankruptcy code.

“Obviously our first priority is GST, but immediately after the GST we want to work on the bankruptcy code. We will see how parliament addresses that,” he said.

“Expectations are that the standing committee will take a look at it. If we can expedite it, we will try and pass it as soon as possible,” he added.