As pointed out above, once the assessees had started claiming deduction under Section 80-IC and the initial Assessment Year has commenced within the aforesaid period of 10 years, there cannot be another initial Assessment Year thereby allowing 100% deduction for the next 5 years also when sub-section (3), in no uncertain terms, provides for deduction @ 25% only for the next 5 years. It may be asserted again that the assessees accept the legal position that they cannot claim deduction of more than 10 years in all under Section 80-IC
If the assessee had earlier availed deduction under Section 80-IA and Section 80-IB, that would be of no concern inasmuch as on carrying out substantial expansion, which was carried out and completed in the Assessment Year 2006-07, the assessee became entitled to deduction under Section 80-IC from the initial year. The term ‘initial year’ is referable to the year in which substantial expansion has been completed, which legal position is stated by the High Court itself and even accepted by the Department as it has not challenged that part of the judgment. The inclusion of period for the deduction is availed under Section 80-IA and Section 80-IB, for the purpose of counting ten years, is provided in sub-section (6) of Section 80-IC and it is limited to those industrial undertakings or enterprises which are set-up in the North-Eastern Region. By making specific provision of this kind, the Legislature has shown its intent, namely, where the industry is not located in North- Eastern State, the period for which deduction is availed earlier by an assessee under Section 80-IA and Section 80-IB will not be reckoned for the purpose of availing benefit of deduction under Section 80-IC of the Act.
“substantial expansion” can be on more than one occasion. Meaning of expression “substantial expansion” is defined in clause [8(ix)] of Section 80-IC and with each such endeavour, if the assessee fulfills the criteria then there cannot be any prohibition with regard thereto. For what is important, in our considered view, is not the number of expansions, but the period within which such expansions can be carried out within the window period [7.1.2003 to 1.4.2012], and it is here we find the words “begun” or “begins” and “undertakes substantial expansion” during the said period, as stipulated under clause (b) sub-section 2 of Section 80- IC, to be of significance. The only rider imposed is by virtue of sub-section (6) of Section 80-IA, which caps the deduction with respect to Assessment Years to which a unit is entitled to
If interpretation given by the assessee is to be accepted, the provision would become discriminatory for two classes of undertakings i .e. new units and old units. Because the old units would be entitled to 100% deduct ion on expansion for first five years and 25% thereafter whereas the new units would become entitled to deduction for 100% for first five years and again @ 100% on substantial expansion. Such discriminatory intention cannot be imputed to the Legislature.