India’s change in position to the OECD Commentary cannot be a fact that influences the interpretation of the words defining royalty as they stand today. The only manner in which such change in position can be relevant is if such change is incorporated into the agreement itself and not otherwise. A change in executive position cannot bring about a unilateral legislative amendment into treaty concluded between two sovereign states. It is fallacious to assume that any change made to domestic law to rectify a situation of mistaken interpretation can spontaneously further their case in an international treaty.
The issue as to whether the amendment which has been brought about by the legislature is intended to be clarificatory or to remove an ambiguity in the law must depend upon the context. The Court would have due regard to (i) the general scope and purview of the statute; (ii) the remedy sought to be applied; (iii) the former state of the law; and (iv) what power that the legislature contemplated
The Proviso to Section 50C inserted by the Finance Act 2016, with effect from 1st April 2017, on the recommendation of the Income Tax Simplification Committee (Easwar Committee) recognizes the genuine and intended hardship in the cases in which the date of agreement to sell is prior to the date of sale and introduces welcome amendments to the statue to take the remedial measures. However, this brings no relief to the assessee as the amendment is introduced only with prospective effect from 1st April 2017. There cannot be any dispute that this amendment in the scheme of Section 50C has been made to remove an incongruity, resulting in undue hardship to the assessee, as is evident from the observation in Easwar Committee report to the effect that “The (then prevailing) provisions of section 50C do not provide any relief where the seller has entered into an agreement to sell the asset much before the actual date of transfer of the immovable property and the sale consideration has been fixed in such agreement” recognizing the incongruity that the date agreement of sell has been ignored in the statute even though it was crucial as it was at this point of time that the sale consideration is finalized. The incongruity in the statute was glaring and undue hardship not in dispute
The insertion of the amendment in the Explanation to section 73 of the Act by the Finance (No. 2) Act, 2014, in our view, is curative and classificatory in nature. If the amendment is applied prospectively from A.Y. 2015-16, a piquant situation would arise that an assessee who has earned profit from purchase and sale of shares in A.Y. 2015-16 would be treated as normal business profit and not speculation business profit in view of the exception carried out by the amendment in Explanation to section 73 of the Act. In these circumstances, speculation business loss incurred by trading in shares in earlier years will not be allowed to be set off against such profit from purchase and sale of shares to such companies in A.Y. 2015-16. For this reason also, the amendment inserted to Explanation to section 73 of the Act by Finance (No. 2) Act, 2014 is to be applied retrospectively from the date of the insertion to Explanation to section 73 of the Act
An accrued right to plead a time barred which is acquired after the lapse of the statutory period is in every sense a right even though it arises under an Act which is procedural. It is a right which is not to be taken away by conferring on the statute a retrospective operation unless such a construction is unavoidable. while amending section 201 by Finance Act, 2014, it has been specifically mentioned that the same shall be applicable w.e.f. 1/10/2014 and even considering the fact that proceedings for F.Y. 2007-08 and 2008-09 had become time barred and/or for the aforesaid financial years, limitation under section 201(3)(i) of the Act had already expired on 31/3/2011 and 31/3/2012, respectively, much prior to the amendment in section 201 as amended by Finance Act, 2014 and therefore, as such a right has been accrued in favour of the assessee
The amendment to section 263 of the Act by insertion of Explanation 2 to Section 263 of the Act is declaratory & clarificatory in nature and is inserted to provide clarity on the issue as to which orders passed by the AO shall constitute erroneous and prejudicial to the interest of Revenue, it is, inter-alia, provided that if the order is passed without making inquiries or verifications by AO which, should have been made or the order is passed allowing any relief without inquiring into the claim; the order shall be deemed to be erroneous and prejudicial to the interest of Revenue. The Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Malabar Industrial Company Limited v. CIT (2000) 109 Taxman 66 (SC) held that if the AO has accepted the entry in the statement of account filed by the taxpayer without making enquiry, the said order of the AO shall be deemed to be erroneous in so far as it is prejudicial to the interest of the Revenue. In our considered opinion, the facts of the case of the assessee company are similar to the facts in the case of Malabar Industrial Co. Limited(supra) whereby no enquiry/verification is made by the AO whatsoever with respect to claim of deduction of Rs. 17.72 crores with respect to the provisions for warranty, excise duty , sales tax and liquidated damages. Moreover, now Explanation 2 to Section 263 of the Act is inserted in the statute which is declaratory and claraficatory in nature to declare the law and provide clarity on the issue whereby if the A.O. failed to make any enquiry or necessary verification which should have been made, the order becomes erroneous in so far as it is prejudicial to the interest of revenue
The Court holds instruction No. 9 of the CBDT dated 7th November, 2006 cannot possibly override the statutory powers to be exercised by an AO in terms of Section 147 of the Act. In other words the said instruction has to be read consistent with proviso (a) to Section 119 (1) of the Act and cannot, as was erroneously understood by the Respondent, compel the AO to issue the notice u/s 148. If the CBDT Instruction No. 9/2006 is read to the contrary, it would fall foul of Section 119 of the Act.
It is true that legislature is entitled to depart from this meaning and can define it the way it chooses to do so. While doing so, it has to resort to the process known to and approved by law. The explanation introduced by Finance Act (No.2) of 2009 is a departure from the settled interpretative meaning given by Courts to the expression ‘Undertaking”. Any departure, therefore, has to be through the process of validation which has to be notwithstanding any law or decision
In exercising legislative power, the legislature by mere declaration, without anything more, cannot directly overrule, revise or override a judicial decision. It can render judicial decision ineffective by enacting valid law on the topic within its legislative field fundamentally altering or changing its character retrospectively