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COURT:
CORAM:
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DATE: February 20, 2019 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: September 7, 2019 (Date of publication)
AY: -
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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: April 9, 2019 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: September 7, 2019 (Date of publication)
AY: 2011-12
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CITATION:
S. 147/148/292B: The officer recording the reasons u/s 148(2) for reopening the assessment & the officer issuing notice u/s 148(1) has to be the same person. If the reasons are recorded by the DCIT but the notice is issued by the ITO, the reassessment proceedings are invalid. The s. 148 notice is a jurisdictional notice. Any inherent defect therein cannot be cured u/s 292B. The fact that the assessee participated in the proceedings is irrelevant

Since the notice under section 148 of the Act is a jurisdictional notice, any inherent defect therein cannot be cured under section 292B of the Act. A notice under section 148(1) of the Act would be a valid notice if the jurisdictional Assessing Officer records the reasons for reopening the assessment as contemplated under subsection (2) of section 148 and thereafter the same officer namely the jurisdictional Assessing Officer issues the notice under section 148(1) of the Act.

COURT:
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DATE: August 27, 2019 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: September 7, 2019 (Date of publication)
AY: 2007-08
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CITATION:
S. 254(1): The Tribunal should not make general observations that there are "contrary decisions". This statement led us to direct counsel to examine the law and bring to our attention any decision contrary to the view taken by the Supreme Court in Mahalaxmi Sugar Mills 123 ITR 429 etc. We are now informed by Counsel that there are no contrary decisions. All this effort and time would have been saved if the Tribunal had made specific reference to contrary decisions or not stated so in the absence of referring to the citations. We request the Tribunal to be specific about the decisions and make a mention of the citation in the order and not make general observations

All this effort and time would have been saved if the Tribunal had made specific reference to contrary decisions or not stated so in the absence of referring to the citations. Therefore, we would request the Tribunal to be specific about the decisions and make a mention of the citation in the order and not make general observations as in this case.

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DATE: August 29, 2019 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: September 7, 2019 (Date of publication)
AY: 2008-09, 2009-10
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CITATION:
S. 144C/ 254: (i) Condonation of delay of 1018 days: None should be deprived of an adjudication on merits unless it is found that the litigant deliberately delayed the filing of appeal. Delay due to improper legal advice should be condoned. A technical view of dismissing the appeal on the ground of delay should not be taken if the legal issue has to be decided for other years (ii) A draft assessment order u/s 144C issued with a notice of demand u/s 156 and a s/ 271(1)(c) penalty notice is null and void (Eaton Fluid Power 96 TM.com 512 followed, BS Ltd 94 TM.com 346 (Hyd) distinguished)

It is relevant to note the judgment of the Hon’ble Bombay High Court in Vijay Vishin Meghani Vs. DCIT & Anr (2017) 398 ITR 250 (Bom) holding that none should be deprived of an adjudication on merits unless it is found that the litigant deliberately delayed the filing of appeal. Similar to the cases under consideration, in that case too, delay of 2984 days crept in due to improper legal advice. Relying on Concord of India Ins. Co. Limited VS Nirmala Devi (1979) 118 ITR 507 (SC), the Hon’ble jurisdictional High Court condoned the delay. In yet another case in Anil Kumar Nehru and Another vs. ACIT (2017) 98 CCH 0469 BomHC, there was a delay of 1662 days in filing the appeal. Such a delay was not condoned by the Hon’ble High Court. In further appeal, condoning the delay, the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Anil Kumar Nehru vs. ACIT (2018) 103 CCH 0231 ISCC, held that : `It is a matter of record that on the identical issue raised by the appellant in respect of earlier assessment, the appeal is pending before the High Court. In these circumstances, the High Court should not have taken such a technical view of dismissing the appeal in the instant case on the ground of delay, when it has to decide the question of law between the parties in any case in respect of earlier assessment year.

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DATE: August 20, 2019 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: September 6, 2019 (Date of publication)
AY: 2003-04
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CITATION:
S. 254(2): (i) Delay of 420 days in filing appeal due to subsequent decision of the Supreme Court is a valid ground for condonation of delay (ii) An order can be said to suffer from a "mistake apparent from the record" if it contrary to a subsequent judgement of the Supreme Court. Courts do not make any new law; they only clarify the legal position which was earlier not correctly understood. Such legal position clarified by Courts has retrospective effect as the law was always the same

It is also well – settled that a judicial decision acts retrospectively. According to Blackstonian theory, it is not the function of the Court to pronounce a ‘new rule’ but to maintain and expound the ‘old one’. In other words, the Judges do not make law; they only discover or find the correct law.The law has always been the same. If a subsequent decision alters the earlier one, it (the later decision) does not make a new law. It only discovers the correct principle of law which has to be applied retrospectively. To put it differently, even where an earlier decision of the Court operated for quite sometime, the decision rendered later on would have retrospective effect, clarifying the legal position which was earlier not correctly understood

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DATE: April 10, 2019 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: September 6, 2019 (Date of publication)
AY: 2007-08
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CITATION:
Bogus purchases in s. 153D search assessment: There is serious suspicion about the conduct of the assessee in taking additional ground challenging the issue of approval u/s 153D for the first time before the Tribunal. The assessee is making an attempt is derail the issue on merits and to escape on technical ground. The affidavits filed by the AOs coupled with circumstantial evidences available in the assessment folders clearly establish the fact of obtaining necessary approval u/s 153D though copy of approval letter is not available in the assessment record. Argument that only profit can be assessed is not correct. 100% addition u/s 69C towards bogus purchases confirmed (NK Proteins 292 CTR 354 (SC) followed)

When assessee goes to question the administrative procedure, rather contending its case on merits, that too, after a lapse of 4 to 5 years, then obviously, a doubt arises about intend of the assessee in taking this ground and such an attempt is derail the issue on merits and to escape on technical ground. Therefore, we are of the considered view that there is no merit in the additional ground taken by the assessee challenging validity of assessment order passed by the AO u/s 143(3) r.w.s. 153A of the Income-tax Act, 1961.

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DATE: August 27, 2019 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: August 31, 2019 (Date of publication)
AY: -
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CITATION:
The work of important Tribunal like Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) should not be allowed to suffer on account of shortage of administrative staff. There is no lethargy on the part of the Dept in filing up said posts. The Dept is expected to follow up the proposals to fill up the posts of Assistant Registrars in such quota as well as for issuing promotions for the posts of Deputy Registrars so that all these pots to the extent possible can be filled up at the earliest

The petitioner’s grievance that the work of important Tribunal like Income Tax Appellate Tribunal should not be allowed to suffer on account of shortage of administrative staff is perfectly legitimate, however, we do not find any lethargy on the part of the Department in not filing up said posts. Under these circumstances, we would expect the Department to follow up the proposals to fill up the posts of Assistant Registrars in such quota as well as for issuing promotions for the posts of Deputy Registrars so that all these pots to the extent possible can be filled up at the earliest.

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DATE: July 16, 2019 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: August 31, 2019 (Date of publication)
AY: -
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CITATION:
S. 148, 282, Rule 127: Mere issue of a s. 148 notice is not sufficient. Service is essential. If the postal authorities return the notice unserved, the Dept has to serve under Rule 127(2) using one of the four sources of address (such as PAN address, Bank address etc). The failure to do so renders the reassessment proceedings invalid (All imp judgements referred)

In terms of Rule 127 and in particular, sub-rule (2) therefore, having regard to the further proviso therein, the Department had to deliver the notice of reassessment at the petitioner’s address given by her to the bank where her account was maitnained. No such steps were taken. Service of notice, therefore, was not complete. In absence of service of notice before the last date envisaged under section 149 of the Act for such purpose, the Assessing Officer could not have proceeded further with the reassessment proceedings

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DATE: July 16, 2019 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: August 31, 2019 (Date of publication)
AY: -
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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 1, 2019 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: August 31, 2019 (Date of publication)
AY: 2013-14
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CITATION:
S. 10(38): The fact that "long-term capital gains" on listed shares are exempt from tax does not mean that "long-term capital loss" on such shares is not available for set-off against taxable income. While the gains are exempt, there is no bar against claiming set-off of the loss (J.H. Gotla 156 ITR 323 (SC) distinguished, CBDT Circular No.7/2013 dated 16.07.2013 referred, Raptakos Bret 69 SOT 383 (Mum) followed)

If one carefully analyzes various sub-sections of Section 10 then it is evident that each sub-section enlists specific specie of receipt to which exemption from tax is granted if certain conditions are fulfilled. We therefore find that Section 10 enlists various species of receipts which are otherwise revenue in nature but they are granted exemption from income-tax by the Legislature. The Legislature can grant exemption only when there is a positive income and not where there is a ‘loss’ or negative income on which admittedly there cannot be any charge of income-tax.