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DATE: December 16, 2019 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: January 11, 2020 (Date of publication)
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CITATION:
S. 276-B Criminal Prosecution for TDS default: A Director, who is not in charge of and not responsible for day to day business of the Company, is not liable for criminal prosecution, unless specifically it is described in the complaint how he is involved in day to day conduct of the business of the Company (Shyam Sunder AIR 1984 SC 53 & Homi Phiroz Ranina 2003 Bom.C.R. (Cri.) 793 followed)

Unless the complaint disclosed a prima facie case against the applicants/accused of their liability and obligation as principal officers in the day today affairs of the company as directors of the company under section 278(b) the applicants cannot be prosecuted for the offences committed by the company. In the absence of any material in the complaint itself prima facie disclosing responsibility of the accused for the running of the day to day affairs of the company process could not have been issued against them. The applicants cannot be made to undergo the ordial of a trial unless it could be prima facie showed that they are legally liable for the failure of the company in paying the amount deducted to the credit of the company. Otherwise, it would be a travesty without their knowledge

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DATE: December 17, 2019 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: December 23, 2019 (Date of publication)
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CITATION:
Condonation of delay of 916 days: While a liberal approach is to be taken in the matter of condonation of delay & the consideration does not depend on the status of the party, even so the condonation of long delay should not be automatic since the accrued right or adverse consequence to the opposite party is also to be kept in perspective. While considering condonation of delay, routine explanation is not enough but it should be in the nature of indicating “sufficient cause” to justify the delay which will depend on the backdrop of each case and will have to be weighed carefully by the Courts based on the fact situation (Mst Katiji 1987(2) SCC 107 distinguished)

In the case of Katiji (Supra) the entire conspectus relating to condonation of delay has been kept in focus. However, what cannot also be lost sight is that the consideration therein was in the background of dismissal of the application seeking condonation of delay in a case where there was delay of four days pitted against the consideration that was required to be made on merits regarding the upward revision of compensation amounting to 800 per cent.

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DATE: December 18, 2019 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: December 23, 2019 (Date of publication)
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CITATION:
Effect of dismissal of SLP: It is well-settled that the dismissal of an SLP by the Supreme Court against an order or judgment of a lower forum is not an affirmation of the same. If such an order is non-speaking, it does not constitute a declaration of law under Article 141 of the Constitution, or attract the doctrine of merger

It is evident that all the above orders were non-speaking orders, inasmuch as they were confined to a mere refusal to grant special leave to appeal to the petitioners therein. At this juncture, it is useful to recall that it is well-settled that the dismissal of an SLP against an order or judgment of a lower forum is not an affirmation of the same. If such an order of this Court is non-speaking, it does not constitute a declaration of law under Article 141 of the Constitution, or attract the doctrine of merger

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DATE: November 7, 2019 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: November 16, 2019 (Date of publication)
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CITATION:
Condonation of delay of 1754 days: If the stand of the Applicant in the Affidavit that he had no knowledge about the passing of the order is not expressly refuted by the Respondent, the question of disbelieving the stand of the Applicant cannot arise. For this reason, indulgence should be shown to the Applicant by condoning the delay

Unless that fact was to be refuted, the question of disbelieving the stand taken by the appellant(s) on affidavit, cannot arise and for which reason, the High Court should have shown indulgence to the appellant(s) by condoning the delay in filing the concerned appeal(s). This aspect has been glossed over by the High Court

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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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CITATION:
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)
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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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CITATION:
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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CITATION:
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)
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CITATION:
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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CITATION:
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