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Tanvir Collections Pvt. Ltd vs. ACIT (ITAT Delhi)

COURT:
CORAM: ,
SECTION(S): ,
GENRE:
CATCH WORDS: ,
COUNSEL:
DATE: January 16, 2015 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: January 19, 2015 (Date of publication)
AY: 2003-04
FILE: Click here to download the file in pdf format
CITATION:
S. 153C: Even if the AO of the person searched and the 'other person' is the same, the recording of satisfaction by the AO having jurisdiction over the person searched is an essential and prerequisite condition for bestowing jurisdiction to the AO of the ‘other person. Impact of amendment by Finance (No. 2) Act 2014 w.e.f. 1.10.2014 considered

(i) When we consider the language of section 158BD as interpreted by the Hon’ble Summit Court in Manish Maheshwari VS. ACIT & Anr. (2007) 289 ITR 341 (SC) and CIT vs. Calcutta Knitwears (2014) 362 ITR 673 (SC), we find it as a clear-cut proposition that the recording of satisfaction by the AO having jurisdiction over the person searched is an essential and prerequisite condition for bestowing jurisdiction to the AO of the ‘other person.’ On a close comparative study, it is overt that in so far as the question of acquiring jurisdiction by the AO of the person other than the person searched is concerned, the provisions of section 153C are in pari materia with section 158BD. Since the relevant part of section 158BD is similar to that of section 153C, the ratio decidendi of the judgments of the Hon’ble Summit Court to this extent will apply with full force in the context of sec. 153C as well.

(ii) The contention of the department that since the AO of the persons searched and the assessee is same, it does not make any difference whether the satisfaction is recorded in the case of the persons searched or other person is devoid of merit. We fail to comprehend as to how the requirement of recording satisfaction by the AO of the person searched provided by the statute can be substituted with anything else. There is an underlying rationale in providing for recording of such satisfaction by the AO of the person searched. As the money, bullion, jewellery, books of account or documents etc. always come to the possession of the AO of the person searched who has to frame assessment, it is only he who can find out that which of such documents etc. do not belong to the person searched and are relevant for the assessment of the other person. It is not as if all the books of account and documents etc found during the course of a search are evaluated by a separate authority to figure out that which of these documents belong to the person searched and to the others and thus handed over to the concerned AOs of the person searched and others for making assessment. As it is only the AO of the person searched who can reach a conclusion that some of the documents etc. do not belong to the person searched but to some other person, the legislature has provided for recording of such satisfaction by the AO of the person searched. It is not permissible under the law to require the AO of the other person to record such satisfaction by the AO.

(iii) The other argument of the department that since the AO of both the persons searched and the assessee is the same person, hence the requirement of recording satisfaction by the AO of the persons searched should be deemed to have been fulfilled with the recording of satisfaction by the AO of the assessee cannot be appreciated. What is relevant for this purpose is not the identity of the person assessing but his position and the capacity. When the law requires the AO of the person searched to record the necessary satisfaction, it is the AO having jurisdiction over the person searched who is obliged to record such satisfaction in the capacity of that AO and that too in the case of the person searched. The mere fact that the AO of the person searched and the assessee is the same person, does not, in any manner, obliterate the requirement of law necessitating the recording of satisfaction in the case of the person searched that money, bullion, jewellery, etc., found from the person searched belongs to the ‘other person.’ What is crucial to note is capacity of the AO and not his identity. In view of the fact that when the statutory stipulation is for recording the satisfaction by the AO of the person searched, then, it cannot be substituted with the satisfaction of the AO of the ‘other person.’

(iv) The legislature has substituted the latter part of section 153C(1) by the Finance (No.2) Act, 2014 w.e.f. 1.10.2014. The above substitution has the effect of now making it mandatory for the AO of the ‘other person’ also to record satisfaction that the books of account or documents, etc., have a bearing on the determination of the total income of such ‘other person’ before embarking upon the exercise of his assessment or reassessment. Therefore, now under the law, w.e.f. 1.10.2014 it has become obligatory not only for the AO of the person searched to record satisfaction before handing over books of account or documents, etc., to the AO of the ‘other person’, but, such AO of the ‘other person’ is also required to record satisfaction that the books of account or documents, etc. have a bearing on the determination of the total income of such other person. In the pre-substitution era of the relevant part of sub-section (1) of section 153C covering the period under consideration, the jurisdictional condition remains that the satisfaction is required to be recorded by and in the case of the person searched so as to enable the AO of the ‘other person’ to start with the proceedings for making assessment or reassessment.

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