The High Courts dismissed the writ petitions preferred by the assessee challenging the issuance of notice under Section 148 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 and the reasons which were recorded by the Assessing Officer for reopening the assessment. The writ petitions were dismissed by the High Courts as not maintainable. The aforesaid view taken is contrary to the law laid down by this Court in Calcutta Discount Limited Company vs. Incom Tax Officer, Companies District I, Calcutta & Anr. [(1961) 41 ITR 191 (SC)]
Mere non filing of return of income does not give jurisdiction to the Assessing Officer to re-open the assessment unless the person concerned has total income which is assessable under the Act exceeding maximum amount which is not chargeable to Income Tax. This is provided in Explanation 2 to Section 147 of the Act. This is for the reason that in terms of Section 139(1) of the Act the obligation to file a return of income is only when the total income of a person exceeds the maximum amount not chargeable to tax. So also the obligation to obtain PAN only arises on the income being in excess of the maximum amount not chargeable to tax. Therefore, non filing of return of income and/or not obtaining of PAN does not ipso facto give jurisdiction to reopen an assessment under Section 147/148 of the Act
It was argued on behalf of the Revenue, that in view of the judgment in Vijaya Bank Ltd.’s case  187 ITR 541 (SC), even if the securities were treated as part of the trading assets, the income therefrom had to be assessed under section 18 of the Act and not under section 28 of the Act as income from securities can only come within section 18 and not under section 28. We do not find any merit in this argument. Firstly, as stated above, Vijaya Bank Ltd.’s case  187 ITR 541 (SC) has no application to the facts of this case. Secondly, in the present case, the Tribunal has found that the securities were held as trading assets. Thirdly, it has been held by the Supreme Court in the subsequent decision reported in the case of CIT v. Cocanada Radhaswami Bank Ltd.  57 ITR 306, that income from securities can also come under section 28 as income from business. This judgment is very important. It analyses the judgment of the Supreme Court in United Commercial Bank Ltd.’s case  32 ITR 688, which has been followed by the Supreme Court in Vijaya Bank Ltd.’s case  187 ITR 541. It is true that once an income falls under section 18, it cannot come under section 28. However, as laid down by the Supreme Court in Cocanada Radhaswami Bank Ltd.’s case  57 ITR 306, income from securities treated as trading assets can come under section 28. In the present case, the Department has treated income from securities under section 28.
The contention of the Revenue that the impugned order is seeking to tax the amount on receipt basis by not having brought it to tax in the subject assessment year, is not correct. This for the reason, that the amounts to be received as deferred consideration under the agreement could not be subjected to tax in the assessment year 2006-07 as the same has not accrued during the year. As pointed out above, accrual would be a right to receive the amount and the assessee alongwith its co-owners have not under the agreement dated 25th January, 2006 obtained a right to receive Rs.20 crores or any specified part thereof in the subject assessment year. In the above view there could be no occasion to bring the maximum amount of Rs. 20 crores, which could be received as deferred consideration to tax in the subject assessment year as it had not accrued to the assessee.
We find this conduct on the part of the Assessing Officer to accept a stay application and not immediately give acknowledgement of its receipt is unacceptable. The least that is expected of a civil servant is to be fair and civil. In the absence of the above, his conduct is not one becoming of an Officer belonging to the prestigious Indian Revenue Service. The least that is expected of an Officer is that when a person files an application / letter, which is accepted by him, an acknowledgement should be forthwith given to the party filing the application or letter. In case he refuses to accept the letter he should endorse on the letter / application the reason why it is not being accepted with a line or two for the refusal to accept. In case he does accept it and give an acknowledgment he can deal with the applications/ letters as is appropriate in accordance with law. We believe that what has happened in this case is an aberration. However, the Chief Commissioner of Income Tax would ensure that his Officers do not behave in such an high handed and unfair manner, not expected of civil servants
Thus, any action to recover taxes adopting coercive means is not permissible till the petitioner’s application for stay under Section 220(6) of the Act is disposed of. Therefore, the action of the Assessing Officer in attaching the petitioners’ bank accounts under Section 226(3) of the Act as well as subsequent withdrawal of the attached amounts from the bank accounts is without jurisdiction and bad in law. The petitioners have a statutory right to its stay application being heard and disposed of before the Revenue can adopt any coercive proceedings on the basis of the Notice of demand under Section 156 of the Act issued to the assessee. This action on the part of the Assessing Officer, if permitted, would lead Section 220(6) of the Act becoming redundant. In the above view, the Notice under Section 226(3) of the Act issued by the Assessing Officer to the petitioners’ bankers are quashed and set aside. Further, the Assessing Officer is directed to deposit the amount of Rs.7,59,185 in HDFC Bank, Fort, Mumbai and Rs.34,265/in State Bank of India, Byculla, Mumbai within a period of one week from today
The accounting standards laid down by the institute however provide for recognition of the profit or loss arising out of investment in the profit and loss account. Reference in this regard may be made to Clauses 21 and 25 of Accounting Standard 13. The disclosure made in the financial statements is in pursuance of the requirement of Clause- 25 quoted above and is also in pursuance of Clause 2(b) of Part II of Schedule VI to the Companies Act, 1956 which is not to be construed as any qualification indicating any inaccuracy in the accounts. There was, thus no mistake on the part of the assessee in debiting the loss to the profit and loss account. Once it is realized that the assessee had correctly debited the profit and loss account for the loss arising out of the transfer of investment division, there remains no difficulty in realizing that the CIT proceeded on a wrong premise which was responsible for exercise of jurisdiction under Section 263 which he would not have done if he had realized the correct position
||Bombay High Court
||B. P. Colabawalla J, M. S. Sanklecha J
||14A, Rule 8D
||Disallowance u/s 14A & Rule 8D, strictures
||J.D. Mistri, Madhur Agrawal
||February 25, 2016 (Date of pronouncement)
||March 3, 2016 (Date of publication)
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S. 14A/ Rule 8D: Severe strictures passed against the ITAT for taking the view that the presumption laid down in HDFC Bank 366 ITR 505 (Bom) and Reliance Utilities 313 ITR 340 (Bom) that investments in tax-free securities must be deemed to have come out of own funds and (ii) Law laid down in India Advantage (Bom) that s. 14A and Rule 8D does not apply to securities held as stock-in-trade cannot be applied as both propositions are contrary to Godrej & Boyce 328 ITR 81 (Bom). ITAT's order reversed on the ground that it is "Judicial Indiscipline" leading to complete chaos and anarchy in the administration of law
The impugned order of the Tribunal seems to question the decision of this Court in HDFC Bank Ltd. (supra) to the extent it relied upon the decision of this Court in Reliance Utilities and Power Ltd. (supra). This is by observing that the decision in Reliance Utilities and Power Ltd.(supra) it must be appreciated was rendered in the context of Section 36(1)(iii) of the Act and its parameters are different from that of Section 14A of the Act. This Court in its order in HDFC Bank Ltd.(supra) consciously applied the principle of presumption as laid down in Reliance Utilities and Power Ltd. (supra) and in fact quoted the relevant paragraph to emphasize that the same principle / test of presumption would apply to decide whether or not interest expenditure could be disallowed under Section 14A of the Act in respect of the income arising out of tax free securities. It is not the office of Tribunal to disregard a binding decision of this court. This is particularly so when the decision in Reliance Utilities and Power Ltd. (supra) has been consciously applied by this Court while rendering a decision in the context of Section 14A of the Act
To our mind, the Division Bench judgment in Commissioner of Income-tax vs. Orient (Goa) Pvt. Ltd 325 ITR 554 seen in this light does not, with greatest respect, take into account the scheme and setting as understood above. There need not be apprehension because there is no escape from the levy and recovery of tax. The tax has to be levied and collected. The ship cannot leave the port or if allowed to leave any port in India, it must either pay or make arrangement to pay the tax. Hence, the apprehension of avoidance or evasion both are taken care of by the legislature. That is how advisedly the legislature cast the obligation to deduct tax at source on the person responsible to make payment to a non-resident in shipping business
The Legislative intent is clear inasmuch as prior to the insertion of Sec.153D, there was no provision for taking approval in cases of assessment and reassessment in cases where search has been conducted. Thus, the legislature wanted the assessments/reassessments of search and seizure cases should be made with the prior approval of superior authorities which also means that the superior authorities should apply their minds on the materials on the basis of which the officer is making the assessment and after due application of mind and on the basis of seized materials, the superior authorities have to approve the assessment order. The Addl Commissioner/Joint Commissioner is required to apply his mind to the proposals put up to him for approval in the light of the material relied upon by the AO. The said power cannot be exercised casually and in a routine manner.