Found in translation: the correct interpretation of 'Secret Formula or Process' in India's tax treaties

Dhruv Sanghavi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This article discusses the critically reviews of the Delhi High Court in Director of Income Tax v New Skies Satellite BV to interpreting the phrase "secret formula or process" in the India-Netherlands Tax Treaty 1989. It argues that the court's sole reliance on the English version of the text of the tax treaty (which was also concluded in Dutch and Hindi, lead it along the incorrect interpretative process. Whilst the court does arrive at the correct outcome, the author argues, it does so for the wrong reasons; and the process would have been simplified had the Dutch version of the tax treaty or French text of the OECD Model Tax Convention been referred to.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-415
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Tax Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Interpretation
  • tax treaties
  • legal methodology
  • royalties
  • secret formula or process
  • languages
  • multilingual
  • international tax

Cite this