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DATE: October 15, 2019 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: October 21, 2019 (Date of publication)
AY: 2019-20
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Black Money Act: It is not correct to say that while exercising powers under Sections 85 and 86 of the Black Money Act, the Central Government has made the said Act retrospectively applicable from 01.07.2015. The penal provisions u/s 50 and 51 of the Black Money Act would come into play only when an assessee has failed to take benefit of S. 59 and neither disclosed assets covered by the Black Money Act nor paid the tax and penalty thereon

Sub­-section (3) of Section 1 of the Black Money Act, itself provides that save as otherwise provided in this Act, it shall come into force on 1 st day of July, 2015. A conjoint reading of the various provisions would reveal, that the Assessing Officer can charge the taxes only from the assessment year commencing on or after 01.04.2016. However, the value of the said asset has to be as per its valuation in the previous year. As such, even if there was no change of date in sub­section (3) of Section 1 of the Black Money Act, the value of the asset was to be determined as per its valuation in the previous year. The date has been changed only for the purpose of enabling the assessee(s) to take benefit of Section 59 of the Black Money Act. The power has been exercised only in order to remove difficulties. The penal provisions under Sections 50 and 51 of the Black Money Act would come into play only when an assessee has failed to take benefit of Section 59 and neither disclosed assets covered by the Black Money Act nor paid the tax and penalty thereon. As such, we find that the High Court was not right in holding that, by the notification/order impugned before it, the penal provisions were made retrospectively applicable

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DATE: September 19, 2018 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: October 9, 2019 (Date of publication)
AY: -
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Service Tax/ GST: The collection of non-refundable deposits by the assessee from prospective flat buyers, for maintaining the building, does not result in the assessee providing management, maintenance or repair service as defined in Section 65(105)(zzg) of Finance Act 1994

The service of maintenance, management or repair, rendered by any person to any other person is a taxable service but in the context and backdrop in which the issue arises before us, we do not think that a taxable service is rendered. The Revenue does not wish to take into consideration the background in which buildings are maintained and till they are conveyed with complete title to even the land beneath. Thus, the provisions of Sections 5 and 6 and eventually the further provisions right upto Section 13 of the MOFA would make it clear that builder and developer maintains and repairs the property till it is conveyed or the title in the same is conveyed to the Flat purchasers or the legal entity which would ultimately be formed by him

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DATE: September 26, 2019 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: October 2, 2019 (Date of publication)
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A concession given by Counsel, if it is a concession in law and contrary to the statutory rules, is not binding on the litigant for the reason that there cannot be any estoppel against law (see also Himalayan Cooperative Group Housing Society Vs. Balwan Singh (2015) 7 SCC 373 Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd vs. Mahendra Prasad Jakhmola & V. Ramesh vs. ACIT (Madras High Court)

The concession given by the learned State Counsel before the Tribunal was a concession in law and contrary to the statutory rules. Such concession is not binding on the State for the reason that there cannot be any estoppel against law. The rules provide for a specific Grade of Pay, therefore, the concession given by the learned State Counsel before the Tribunal is not binding on the appellant

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DATE: February 20, 2019 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: September 7, 2019 (Date of publication)
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Liability of professionals acting as Non-executive directors: Practicing professionals are prohibited from acting as full time directors. They can only act as non-executive directors not performing administrative duties. Such persons cannot be prosecuted for offenses committed by the company. it will be a travesty of justice to prosecute all Directors if the offense is committed without their knowledge. The accounts are signed by such directors in a routine manner and they are not subject to vicarious liability (Homi Phiroz Ranina & Ors. vs. State of Maharashtra 2003 (3) Mh.L.J. 34 followed)

In Homi Phiroz Ranina & Ors. vs. State of Maharashtra & Ors., the complaint was filed for delay in remitting the tax deducted. The applicant has taken stand that he was non- executive Director of the company and they are also practising advocates and, therefore, they are prohibited under the law to act as full time directors. They could only act as non-executive directors not exercising administrative powers or peforming administrative duties. It is held that unless the complaint discloses a prima facie case against the applicant/accused of their liability and obligation as principal officers in the day to day affairs of the company as Directors of the company, the applicants cannot be prosecuted for the offences committed by the company and held that it will be a travesty of justice to prosecute all the Directors if the offence is committed without their knowledge

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DATE: July 16, 2019 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: August 31, 2019 (Date of publication)
AY: -
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Doctrine of promissory estoppel: Once a promise has been solemnly given by the State with an intention that it would be acted upon and which has been indeed acted upon and liabilities suffered by the promisee, the State cannot be permitted to backtrack on the promise and change its position so as to cause loss to the promisee. The eligibility for sales-tax exemption cannot be withdrawn under GST

Two propositions of law emerge from the above observations. Firstly, once the promise is solemnly given by the State with an intention that when acted upon, it would create a legal relation and acting on it the promisee has changed his/her position and incurred liability, the State must be held as bound by the promise, except when owing to change of circumstances or subsequent developments larger public interests demand that the promise be not enforced against the State lest newly established balance of equities would tilt against the Government or larger public interest. Secondly, the doctrine is equitable in nature, and therefore, it must yield when the equity so requires.

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DATE: July 12, 2019 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: August 3, 2019 (Date of publication)
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The Benami Amendment Act, 2016, amending the Benami Act, 1988, comes into force on 01.11.2016 and does not have retrospective effect. Unless a contrary intention is reflected, every legislation is presumed and intended to be prospective. In the normal course of human behavior, one is entitled to arrange his affairs keeping in view the laws for the time being in force and such arrangement of affairs should not be dislodged by retrospective application of law. The High Court can strike down wrong exercise of jurisdiction u/A 226, 227 individual to save individuals from lengthy proceedings and unnecessary harassment

For the reason aforesaid and in the backdrop of the settled legal proposition so also in view of singular factual matrix of the matters herein; this Court has no hesitation to hold that the Benami Amendment Act, 2016, amending the Principal Benami Act, 1988, enacted w.e.f. 1st November, 2016, i.e. the date determined by the Central Government in its wisdom for its enforcement; cannot have retrospective effect

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DATE: February 20, 2019 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: June 22, 2019 (Date of publication)
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Entire law explained on (i) whether a litigant is bound by concessions of fact and law made by his Counsel/ Authorized representative during the hearing, (ii) tests to find out whether contract labourers are direct employees or not, (iii) meaning of "control and supervision", (iv) meaning of "master-servant" relationship & (v) when the findings in a judgement can be said to be "perverse" and such that no reasonable person could possibly arrive at

There can be no doubt that admission of a party is a relevant material. But can the statement made by the learned counsel of a party across the Bar be treated as admission of the party? Having regard to the requirements of Section 18 of the Evidence Act, on the facts of this case, in our view, the aforementioned statement of the counsel for the respondent cannot be accepted as an admission so as to bind the respondent. Equally, where a question is a mixed question of fact and law, a concession made by a lawyer or his authorised representative at the stage of arguments cannot preclude the party for whom such person appears from re-agitating the point in appeal

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DATE: May 9, 2019 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: May 18, 2019 (Date of publication)
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Benami Transactions: While considering whether a particular transaction is benami, the intention of the person who contributed the purchase money is determinative. The intention has to be decided on the basis of surrounding circumstances; relationship of parties; motives governing their action in bringing about the transaction and subsequent conduct. The payment of part sale consideration & stamp duty cannot be the sole criteria to hold the sale/transaction as benami

It is required to be noted that the benami transaction came to be amended in the year 2016. As per Section 3 of the Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Act 1988, there was a presumption that the transaction made in the name of the wife and children is for their benefit. By Benami Amendment Act,2016, Section 3 (2) of the Benami Transaction Act, 1988 the statutory presumption, which was rebuttable, has been omitted.It is the case on behalf of the respondents that therefore in view of omission of Section 3(2) of the Benami Transaction Act, the plea of statutory transaction that the purchase made in the name of wife or children is for their benefit would not be available in the present case. Aforesaid cannot be accepted. As held by this Court in the case of Binapani Paul (Supra) the Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Act would not be applicable retrospectively

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DATE: May 17, 2019 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: May 18, 2019 (Date of publication)
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ITAT Members' Appointment: The action of the Selection Committee of short-listing only 24 candidates for interview out of 649 applications is not violative of Article 14. The criteria of short-listing Advocates in practice for at least 20 years and with income of not less than Rs. 1.40 lakh for post of Judicial Member is rational and reasonable and not arbitrary

Considering the above provisions, guidelines, status of applications and on perusal of list of candidates in decreasing order of their experience, the interim Search-cum-Selection Committee decided to call 24 most experienced applicants who were practicing Advocates for interview. The above-mentioned principle has been upheld by the Supreme Court in catena of judgments wherein it has been held that if the number of applications are enormous in number with reference to the number of posts available to be filled up then the Selection Board has no option but to short-list such applications on some rational and reasonable basis

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DATE: February 11, 2019 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: May 10, 2019 (Date of publication)
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The ICAI has jurisdiction to examine any conduct (including alleged sexual harassment) by a CA that would tend to bring disrepute to the profession or the Institute. The fact that the matter is pending trial before the Criminal Court is not relevant because the standards of proof are different. The ICAI may or may not await the outcome of the trial depending on the circumstances (Gurvinder Singh 259 TM 311 (SC) followed)

This Court is unable to accept the contention that the Board of Discipline does not have the jurisdiction to examine the alleged misconduct on the part of the petitioner. Clause (2) of Part-IV of the First Schedule to the Act is wide, and would include within its scope, any conduct that would tend to bring disrepute to the profession or the Institute. If a Chartered Accountant is found to have been guilty in outraging the modesty of a woman and/or other offences involving moral turpitude, it would not be inapposite for the Board of Discipline to also conclude that the conduct did, in fact, lower the dignity of the profession. In this view, this Court is not able to accept that the proceedings before the Board of Discipline are without jurisdiction