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Archive for the ‘Supreme Court’ Category

CIT vs. Vector Shipping Services (P) Ltd (Supreme Court)


July 6th, 2014


Dept’s SLP against High Court’s verdict that s. 40(a)(ia) disallowance applies only to amounts “payable” as of 31st March and not to amounts already “paid” during the year dismissed

In CIT vs. Vector Shipping Services (P) Ltd 357 ITR 642, the Allahabad High Court held that disallowance u/s 40(a)(ia) applies only to amounts “payable” as of 31st March and not to amounts already “paid” during the year. The majority judgement in Merilyn Shipping 136 ITD 23 (SB) was approved. The department filed a Special Leave Petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court. The said SLP has been dismissed by the Supreme Court in limine


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Sanjeev Lal vs. CIT (Supreme Court)


July 6th, 2014


S. 2(47)/ 54: If an agreement to sell is entered into within the prescribed period, there is a transfer of some rights in favour of the vendee. Fact that sale deed could not be executed within the time limit owing to supervening problem is not a bar for s. 54 exemption

Consequences of execution of the agreement to sell are very clear and they are to the effect that the appellants could not have sold the property to someone else. In practical life, there are events when a person, even after executing an agreement to sell an immoveable property in favour of one person, tries to sell the property to another. In our opinion, such an act would not be in accordance with law because once an agreement to sell is executed in favour of one person, the said person gets a right to get the property transferred in his favour by filing a suit for specific performance and therefore, without hesitation we can say that some right, in respect of the said property, belonging to the appellants had been extinguished and some right had been created in favour of the vendee/transferee, when the agreement to sell had been executed. A right in respect of the capital asset, viz. the property in question had been transferred by the appellants in favour of the vendee/transferee on 27.12.2002. The sale deed could not be executed for the reason that the appellants had been prevented from dealing with the residential house by an order of a competent court, which they could not have violated. As held in Oxford University Press vs. CIT [(2001) 3 SCC 359] a purposive interpretation of the provisions of the Act should be given while considering a claim for exemption from tax and one can very well interpret the provisions of Section 54 read with Section 2(47) of the Act, i.e. definition of “transfer”, which would enable the appellants to get the benefit under Section 54 of the Act


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CWT vs. Estate of Late HMM Vikramsinghji of Gondal (Supreme Court)


May 16th, 2014


Important principles of law on taxation of discretionary & specific trust explained

A discretionary trust is one which gives a beneficiary no right to any part of the income of the trust property, but vests in the trustees a discretionary power to pay him, or apply for his benefit, such part of the income as they think fit. The trustees must exercise their discretion as and when the income becomes available, but if they fail to distribute in due time, the power is not extinguished so that they can distribute later. They have no power to bind themselves for the future. The beneficiary thus has no more than a hope that the discretion will be exercised in his favour. Having regard to the above legal position about the discretionary trust which is also applied by by this Court in the earlier judgment and the fact that the income has been retained and not disbursed to the beneficiaries, the view taken by the High Court cannot be said to be legally flawed. Merely because the Settlor and after his death, his son did not exercise their power to appoint the discretion exercisers, the character of the subject trusts does not get altered. The two U.K. trusts continued to be ‘discretionary trust’ for the subject assessment years. The High Court has taken a correct view that the value of the assets cannot be assessed on the estate of the deceased Settlor (Snell’s Principles of Equity, 28th Edition, Page 138 followed)


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Kushalbhai Ratanbhai Rohit vs. State of Gujarat (Supreme Court)


May 14th, 2014


Despite pronouncement of verdict in open court & signing of draft judgement, Judge entitled to alter verdict until judgement is signed & sealed

Up to the moment the judgment is delivered Judges have the right to change their mind. There is a sort of ‘locus paenitentiae’ and indeed last minute alterations often do occur. Therefore, however much a draft judgment may have been signed beforehand, it is nothing but a draft till formally delivered as the judgment of the Court. Only then does it crystallise into a full fledged judgment and become operative. It follows that the Judge who “delivers” the judgment, or causes it to be delivered by a brother Judge, must be in existence as a member of the Court at the moment of delivery so that he can, if necessary, stop delivery and say that he has changed his mind. There is no need for him to be physically present in court but he must be in existence as a member of the Court and be in a position to stop delivery and effect an alteration should there be any last minute change of mind on his part. If he hands in a draft and signs it and indicates that he intends that to be the final expository of his views it can be assumed that those are still his views at the moment of delivery if he is alive and in a position to change his mind but takes no steps to arrest delivery. But one cannot assume that he would not have changed his mind if he is no longer in a position to do so. A Judge’s responsibility is heavy and when a man’s life and liberty hang upon his decision nothing can be left to chance or doubt or conjecture; also, a question of public policy is involved. As we have indicated, it is frequently the practice to send a draft, sometimes a signed draft, to a brother Judge who also heard the case. This may be merely for his information, or for consideration and criticism. The mere signing of the draft does not necessarily indicate a closed mind. We feel it would be against public policy to leave the door open for an investigation whether a draft sent by a Judge was intended to embody his final and unalterable opinion or was only intended to be a tentative draft sent with an unwritten understanding that he is free to change his mind should fresh light drawn upon him before the delivery of judgment.


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Kone Elevator India Pvt. Ltd vs. State of T. N (Supreme Court – 5 Judge Bench)


May 14th, 2014


Important principles on distinction between “contract for sale of goods” and “works contract” explained

(ii) Four concepts have clearly emerged from the numerous judgements of the Supreme Court on the point. They are (a) the works contract is an indivisible contract but, by legal fiction, is divided into two parts, one for sale of goods, and the other for supply of labour and services; (b) the concept of “dominant nature test” or, for that matter, the “degree of intention test” or “overwhelming component test” for treating a contract as a works contract is not applicable; (c) the term “works contract” as used in Clause (29A) of Article 366 of the Constitution takes in its sweep all genre of works contract and is not to be narrowly construed to cover one species of contract to provide for labour and service alone; and (d) once the characteristics of works contract are met with in a contract entered into between the parties, any additional obligation incorporated in the contract would not change the nature of the contract;


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CIT vs. Punjab Stainless Steel Industries (Supreme Court)


May 10th, 2014


Meaning of the word “turnover” in s. 80HHC explained. Sale proceeds of scrap is not “turnover” for s. 80HHC. Revenue should encourage assessees to bring in foreign exchange

(i) The word “turnover” means only the amount of sale proceeds received in respect of the goods in which an assessee is dealing in. So far as the scrap is concerned, the sale proceeds from the scrap may either be shown separately in the Profit and Loss Account or may be deducted from the amount spent by the manufacturing unit on the raw material. When such scrap is sold the sale proceeds of the scrap cannot be included in the term ‘turnover’ for the reason that the unit is engaged primarily in the manufacturing and selling of steel utensils and not scrap of steel. Therefore, the proceeds of such scrap would not be included in ‘sales’ in the Profit and Loss Account of the assessee (The situation would be different in the case of a person who is primarily dealing in scrap)


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CIT vs. Calcutta Knitwears (Supreme Court)


April 1st, 2014


S. 158BC/ 158BD: Law on how & when “satisfaction” has to be recorded by AO to attain jurisdiction over non-searched person explained

(ii) The result is that for the purpose of s. 158BD a satisfaction note is sine qua non and must be prepared by the AO before he transmits the records to the other AO who has jurisdiction over such other person. The satisfaction note could be prepared at either of the following stages: (a) at the time of or along with the initiation of proceedings against the searched person u/s 158BC of the Act; (b) along with the assessment proceedings u/s 158BC of the Act; and (c) immediately after the assessment proceedings are completed u/s 158BC of the Act of the searched person


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UOI vs. Tata Chemicals Ltd (Supreme Court)


March 20th, 2014


S. 244A: Deductor entitled to interest on refund of excess TDS from date of payment

(ii) Providing for payment of interest in case of refund of amounts paid as tax or deemed tax or advance tax is a method now statutorily adopted by fiscal legislation to ensure that the aforesaid amount of tax which has been duly paid in prescribed time and provisions in that behalf form part of the recovery machinery provided in a taxing Statute. Refund due and payable to the assessee is debt-owed and payable by the Revenue. The Government, there being no express statutory provision for payment of interest on the refund of excess amount/tax collected by the Revenue, cannot shrug off its apparent obligation to reimburse the deductors’ lawful monies with the accrued interest for the period of undue retention of such monies. The State having received the money without right, and having retained and used it, is bound to make the party good, just as an individual would be under like circumstances. The obligation to refund money received and retained without right implies and carries with it the right to interest. Whenever money has been received by a party which ex ae quo et bono ought to be refunded, the right to interest follows, as a matter of course;


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CIT vs. M/s Dawoodi Bohara Jamat (Supreme Court)


March 19th, 2014


A charitable and religious trust which does not benefit any specific religious community is not hit by s. 13(1)(b) & is eligible to claim exemption u/s 11

On facts, the objects of the assessee are not indicative of a wholly religious purpose but are collectively indicative of both charitable and religious purposes. The fact that the said objects trace their source to the Holy Quran and resolve to abide by the path of godliness shown by Allah would not be sufficient to conclude that the entire purpose and activities of the trust would be purely religious in color. The objects reflect the intent of the trust as observance of the tenets of Islam, but do not restrict the activities of the trust to religious obligations only and for the benefit of the members of the community. In judging whether a certain purpose is of public benefit or not, the Courts must in general apply the standards of customary law and common opinion amongst the community to which the parties interested belong to. Customary law does not restrict the charitable disposition of the intended activities in the objects. Neither the religious tenets nor the objects as expressed limit the service of food on religious occasions only to the members of the specific community. The activity of Nyaz performed by the assessee does not delineate a separate class but extends the benefit of free service of food to public at large irrespective of their religion, caste or sect and thereby qualifies as a charitable purpose which would entail general public utility. Even the establishment of Madarsa or institutions to impart religious education to the masses would qualify as a charitable purpose qualifying under the head of education u/s 2(15). The institutions established to spread religious awareness by means of education though established to promote and further religious thought could not be restricted to religious purposes. The assessee is consequently a public charitable and religious trust eligible for claiming exemption u/s 11


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Sasi Enterprises vs. ACIT (Supreme Court)


January 31st, 2014


Prosecution for offence u/s 276CC for failure to file ROI can be initiated during the pendency of assessment proceedings. The statement in the individual returns of the partners that the firm has not filed a ROI as its’ accounts are not finalized does not absolve the firm of prosecution for non-filing of ROI

The offence u/s 276CC is attracted on failure to comply with the provisions of s. 139(1) or failure to respond to the notice issued u/s 142 or s. 148 within the time limit specified therein. The contention that pendency of the appellate proceedings is a relevant factor for not initiating prosecution proceedings u/s 276CC is not acceptable. S. 276CC contemplates that an offence is committed on the non-filing of the return and it is totally unrelated to the pendency of assessment proceedings except for second part of the offence for determination of the sentence of the offence, the department may resort to best judgment assessment or otherwise to past years to determine the extent of the breach. The language of s. 276CC is clear so also the legislative intention. If it was the intention of the legislature to hold up the prosecution proceedings till the assessment proceedings are completed by way of appeal or otherwise the same would have been provided in s. 276CC itself. Therefore, the contention that no prosecution could be initiated till the culmination of assessment proceedings, especially in a case where the appellant had not filed the return as per s. 139(1) of the Act or following the notices issued u/s 142 or s. 148 does not arise


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