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Commissioner of Customs vs. Dilip Kumar (Supreme Court) (Constitution Bench)

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DATE: July 30, 2018 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: July 31, 2018 (Date of publication)
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CITATION:
Entire law on interpretation of statues relating to 'purposive interpretation', 'strict interpretation', 'literal interpretation', etc explained. Difference in interpretation of statutes vs. exemption notifications explained. Q whether there is doubt or ambiguity in interpretation of a statute or notification benefit of doubt should go to the taxpayer or to the revenue explained. Law on Doctrine of substantial compliance and “intended use” also explained

Literally exemption is freedom from liability, tax or duty. Fiscally, it may assume varying shapes, specially, in a growing economy. For instance tax holiday to new units, concessional rate of tax to goods or persons for limited period or with the specific objective etc. That is why its construction, unlike charging provision, has to be tested on different touchstone. In fact, an exemption provision is like an exception and on normal principle of construction or interpretation of statutes it is construed strictly either because of legislative intention or on economic justification of inequitable burden or progressive approach of fiscal provisions intended to augment State revenue. But once exception or exemption becomes applicable no rule or principles requires it to be construed strictly. Truly speaking liberal and strict construction of an exemption provision are to be invoked at different stages of interpreting it. When the question is whether a subject falls in the notification or in the exemption clause then it being in nature of exception is to be construed strictly and against the subject, but once ambiguity or doubt about applicability is lifted and the subject falls in the notification then full play should be given to it and it calls for a wider and liberal construction

Ian Peter Morris vs. ACIT (Supreme Court)

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DATE: November 29, 2016 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: December 21, 2016 (Date of publication)
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S. 192/ 234B: Where receipt is by way of salary, TDS deductions u/s 192 has to be made. No question of payment of advance tax can arise in cases of receipt by way of 'salary'. Consequently, S. 234B & 234C which levy interest for deferment of advance tax have no application

A perusal of the relevant provisions of Chapter VII of the Act [Part A, B, C and F of Chapter VII] would go to show that against salary a deduction, at the requisite rate at which income tax is to be paid by the person entitled to receive the salary, is required to be made by the employer failing which the employer is liable to pay simple interest thereon. The provisions relating to payment of advance tax is contained in Part ‘C’ and interest thereon in Part ‘F’ of Chapter VII of the Act. In cases where receipt is by way of salary, deductions under Section 192 of the Act is required to be made. No question of payment of advance tax under Part ‘C’ of Chapter VII of the Act can arise in cases of receipt by way of ‘salary’. If that is so, Part ‘F’ of Chapter VII dealing with interest chargeable in certain cases (Section 234B – Interest for defaults in payment of advance tax and Section 234C – Interest for deferment of advance tax) would have no application to the present situation

Siemens Public Communications Network Ltd vs. CIT (Supreme Court)

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DATE: December 7, 2016 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: December 12, 2016 (Date of publication)
AY: 1999-00
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CITATION:
S. 4: Law laid down in Sahney Steel 228 ITR 253 (SC) and Ponni Sugars 306 ITR 392 (SC) regarding the taxability of subsidies as a revenue receipt does not apply to voluntary subsidies (subvention) paid by a holding company to its loss making subsidiary. The said subsidy is to protect the capital investment of the holding company and is a capital receipt in the hands of the recipient

The question of law that was presented before the High Court, namely, whether subvention was capital or revenue receipt, was sought to be answered by the High Court by making a reference to two decisions of this Court in Sahney Steel & Press Works Ltd., Hyderabad versus Commissioner of Income Tax, A.P.-I, Hyderabad [(1997) 7 SCC 764]/ 228 ITR 253 and Commissioner of Income Tax, Madras versus Ponni Sugars and Chemicals Limited [(2008) 9 SCC 337]/ 306 ITR 392 (SC). The view expressed by this Court that unless the grant-in-aid received by an Assessee is utilized for acquisition of an asset, the same must be understood to be in the nature of a revenue receipt was held by the High Court to be a principle of law applicable to all situations. The aforesaid view tends to overlook the fact that in both Ponni Sugars (supra) and Sahney Steel (supra) the subsidies received were in the nature of grant-in-aid from public funds and not by way of voluntary contribution by the parent Company as in the present cases. The above apart, the voluntary payments made by the parent Company to its loss making Indian company can also be understood to be payments made in order to protect the capital investment of the Assessee Company. If that is so, we will have no hesitation to hold that the payments made to the Assessee Company by the parent Company for Assessment Years in question cannot be held to be revenue receipts

Ashok Prapann Sharma vs. CIT (Supreme Court)

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DATE: November 24, 2016 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: November 30, 2016 (Date of publication)
AY: 1989-90
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CITATION:
S. 55(2): In determining the cost of acquisition as on 01.04.1974 (or 01.04.1981), the value declared in the wealth-tax return as well as the comparable sales, even if later in point of time, have to be considered. The High Court should not interfere with findings of fact, unless palpably incorrect

A declaration in the return filed by the Assessee under the Wealth Tax Act would certainly be a relevant fact for determination of the cost of acquisition which under Section 55(2) of the Act to be determined by a determination of fair market value. Equally relevant for the purposes of aforesaid determination would be the comparable sales though slightly subsequent in point of time for which appropriate adjustments can be made as had been made by the learned Tribunal (from Rs.70/- per square yard to Rs.50/- per square yard). Comparable sales, if otherwise genuine and proved, cannot be shunted out from the process of consideration of relevant materials. The same had been taken into account by the learned Tribunal which is the last fact finding authority under the Act. Unless such cognizance was palpably incorrect and, therefore, perverse, the High Court should not have interfered with the order of the Tribunal. The order of the High Court overlooks the aforesaid severe limitation on the exercise of jurisdiction under Section 260A of the Act

Vatsala Shenoy vs. JCIT (Supreme Court)

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DATE: October 18, 2016 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: October 20, 2016 (Date of publication)
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S. 50B: Important law explained on what constitutes a "slump sale" and whether capital gains on liquidation of a firm are chargeable to tax

The assessees, however, are attempting the wriggle out from payment of capital gain tax on the ground that it was a “slump sale” within the meaning of Section 2(42C) of the Act and there was no mechanism at that time as to how the capital gain is to be computed in such circumstances, which was provided for the first time by Section 50B of the Act with effect from April 01, 2000. However, this argument fails in view of the fact that the assets were put to sale after their valuation. There was a specific and separate valuation for land as well as building and also machinery. Such valuation has to be treated as that of a partnership firm which had already stood dissolved

Amin Merchant vs. Chairman CBEC (Supreme Court)

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DATE: July 22, 2016 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: September 9, 2016 (Date of publication)
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CITATION:
The fact that the Finance Minster announced a concession in Parliament does not entitle the assessee to relief if the same is not set out in the Finance Act

The whole thrust of the appellant is that the proposals of the Finance Minister were duly approved by the Parliament. No doubt, the appellant has placed before this Court the proposals of the Finance Minister which discloses the intention of the Government but there is no material placed before us to demonstrate that the budget proposals are duly accepted by the Parliament. We are unable to agree with the argument advanced by the appellant for the reason that he is unable to make note of the difference between a proposal moved before the Parliament and a statutory provision enacted by the Parliament, because the process of Taxation involves various considerations and criteria

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