June 15: US Supreme Court has accepted a case of real estate tax against India despite the opposition from the governments of both the countries.
Showing a green flag, the United States Supreme Court ruled by a vote of 7-2 that the real estate tax claims made by New York City against India and Mongolia can proceed to trial in the district court. City administration claims that both countries owe it over $18 million in property taxes on buildings housing the staff of their United Nations missions.
After confirming the jurisdiction of US courts in the case, the highest judicial seat in the country ruled that now the decision over the taxes will be taken by district courts. District court has the authority to decide if they want to take the case forward or not.
News agencies here in India quoted Michael Cardoza, New York City's corporate counsel who argued the case in Washington, DC, on April 24, saying, "This is a critical decision for the rule of law. Without this ruling, the city had no other legal avenue under which it could obtain recourse.”
"This is a proactive, groundbreaking stand in upholding the city's argument. Now every country including India and Mongolia know the city means business by demanding the appropriate taxes that are owed."
Before Supreme Court’s ruling, the US government had opposed the city's position, and the US solicitor general had filed a brief in support of India and Mongolia's argument that the courts lacked jurisdiction over the city's claims. Sri Srinivasan of the US Solicitor General's Office represented the government at the oral argument, and John J.P Howley, of the law firm of Kaye Scholer, LLP, argued on behalf of India and Mongolia.