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DATE: January 15, 2021 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: January 27, 2021 (Date of publication)
AY: 2015-16
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CITATION:
S. 10(38) Bogus Capital Gains from Penny Stock: The fact that there was an astounding 4849.2% jump in the share price within two years, which is not supported by the financials, does not justify the AO's conclusion that the assessee converted unaccounted money into fictitious exempt LTCG to evade taxes. The finding is unsupported by material on record & is purely an assumption based on conjecture. The theory of human behavior and preponderance of probabilities, based on Sumati Dayal v. CIT 214 ITR 801 (SC), cannot be cited as a basis to turn a blind eye to the evidence

The startling spike in the share price and other factors may be enough to show circumstances that might create suspicion; however the Court has to decide an issue on the basis of evidence and proof, and not on suspicion alone. The theory of human behavior and preponderance of probabilities cannot be cited as a basis to turn a blind eye to the evidence produced by the Respondent

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DATE: August 5, 2019 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: January 27, 2021 (Date of publication)
AY: 1994-95
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S. 482 CrPC: Prosecution launched in 2008 u/s 276C, 277 & 278B of the Income-tax Act, 1961 for alleged tax evasion in AY 1994-95 deserves to be quashed because the assessee has paid the tax and the penalty & also taking into account the year in which the alleged offence was committed. The assessee has been paying income-tax regularly & has not been prosecuted for any false disclosure either earlier or thereafter. It would only be in the nature of harassment to the petitioners, and an abuse of the process of the Court, if this case is allowed to be continued. (Note: The Supreme Court has directed issue of notice on the Dept's SLP)

This Court, in a number of cases, has defined the scope and ambit of the powers under Section 482 Cr.P.C. A High Court, exercising its power under the aforesaid section, has an inherent power to act ex debito justitiae to do real and substantial justice, for the administration of which alone it exists, or to prevent the abuse of the process of the Court. It has been clarified that the inherent powers of the Court under Section 482 Cr.P.C. can be exercised to give an effect to an order under the Cr.P.C., to prevent the abuse of the process of the Court and to otherwise secure the ends of justice. No doubt, a caution has been laid that such powers are to be exercised sparingly, carefully and with much circumspection, but in a case of this kind, where the entire liability has been paid to the Government and there has not been any loss to the public exchequer, allowing this case to be continued after eleven years would only be an abuse of the process of the Court.

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DATE: January 19, 2021 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: January 27, 2021 (Date of publication)
AY: 2010-11
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CITATION:
S. 153D: The approving authority (JCIT) has to give approval for "each" assessment year after applying independent mind to the material on record to see whether the cases are un-abated or abated assessments and their effect. However, the JCIT has granted common approval for all AYs. Further, he did not have the seized material nor the appraisal report or other material at the time of granting approval. Therefore, the approval granted is merely technical approval just to complete the formality and without application of mind. The approval has been granted without application of mind and is invalid, bad in Law and is liable to be quashed

In our considered and humble opinion, no procedure for grant of approval has been provided u/s.153D of the Act and the Income tax Rules, 1962. However, when legislature has enacted some provision to be exercised by a higher revenue authority enabling the AO to pass assessment or reassessment orders in the search cases, then, it is the duty of the approving authority to exercise such power by applying his judicious, vigilant and cautious efforts. We are of the view that the obligation on the approval granting authority is of two folds, one the one hand, he has to apply his mind to secure in-build for the department against any omission or negligence by the AO in taxing right income in the hands of right person in the right assessment year and on the other hand he is also responsible and duty bound to do justice with the taxpayer/assessee by granting protection against arbitrary or unjust or unsustainable exercise and decision by the AO crating baseless tax liability on the assessee and thus he has to discharge his duties as superior authority. Thus, granting approval u/s.153D of the Act is not merely an official formality but it is a supervisory act which requires proper application of administrative and judicial skill by the authority on the application of mind and this exercise should be discernible from the order of approval u/s.153D of the Act

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DATE: December 16, 2020 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: January 27, 2021 (Date of publication)
AY: 2015-16
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CITATION:
S. 10(38) Bogus Capital Gains from Penny Stocks: The documents demonstrates that the assessee had purchased shares through Brokers for which the payment was made through banking channels. The assessee had sold shares through an authorized stock broker and payment was received through baking channels after deduction of STT. The AO has not doubted any of the documents. The only objection raised is that the script from which the assessee had earned Long Term Capital Gain has been held by the Investigation Wing of the Revenue to be a paper entity and that this scrip was being used for creating artificial capital gain. The objection is not acceptable (Udit Kalra (Delhi High Court) distinguished)

On going through the aforesaid judgment, we find that no question of law was formulated by Hon’ble High Court of Delhi in the said case and there is only dismissal of appeal in limine and the Hon’ble High Court found that the issue involved is a question of fact as held by Hon’ble Apex Court in Kunhayyammed vs State of Kerala reported in 245 ITR 360 and also in CIT vs. Rashtradoot (HUF) reported in 412 ITR 17. Even on merits and facts, the said judgment in the case of Udit Kalra vs ITO (supra) is distinguishable as in that case the scrips of the company were delisted on stock exchange, whereas, in the instant case, the interim order of SEBI in the cases of M/s Esteem Bio and M/s Turbotech have been cooled down by subsequent order of SEBI placed by assessees in its paper book. Thus, the case of Udit Kalra vs ITO relied by ld. DR is clearly distinguishable on facts and is not applicable to the facts of assessee. Thus, we hold that the case of assessee is factually and materially distinguishable from the facts of the case of Udit Kalra vs ITO so relied by ld DR

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DATE: December 8, 2020 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: January 23, 2021 (Date of publication)
AY: 2014-15
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CITATION:
S. 2(24)(iia)/ 56(2)(vii)/160(1)(iv): (i) A private discretionary Trust has to be assessed in the status of an "individual" as the beneficiaries are individuals. It cannot be assessed as an "AOP" even though there are multiple trustees & beneficiaries. Even a non-human juristic entity can be assessed as an "individual". The fact that in the return filed in Form ITR-5, the status is that of a "trust" is irrelevant. Consequently, the contribution received by the assessee is assessable as "income" us 56.

(ii) U/s 260A, it is only the appellant who is entitled to raise a question of law. The respondent has no right to challenge a point which is decided against him by the Tribunal. The appellant cannot be worse of in its appeal at the instance of the respondent who has not filed an appeal over such finding of the Tribunal.

The authority on examining the factual position found that the assessee has adopted a ingenious method for the purpose of circumventing the provisions of the Act by accepting the gift on behalf of the individuals thereby acting as a conduit. Unfortunately, the Tribunal did not examine this aspect of the matter but proceeded on a different footing which we decline to approve. The Tribunal placed reliance on the decision of the Delhi Tribunal in Mridu Hari Dalmia Parivar Trust. We find that the said decision could not have been applied to the facts of the instant case, more particularly, when the Assessing Officer in the said case held that the assessee is an AoP. Furthermore, the finding rendered by the Tribunal with regard to the effect of insertion of clause (x) in Section 56(2) with effect from 01.04.2007 could not have been rendered in isolation without reference to the factual details where the beneficiaries were identified and therefore, the Tribunal erred in reversing the finding of the CIT(A) that the assessee has to be assessed as an “individual”. Therefore, we hold that the assessee Trust is a representative assessee as it represents the beneficiaries who are identified individuals and therefore to be assessed as an “individual” only. Consequently, the contribution of Rs.25 Crores is to be assessed as income under Section 56(1) under the head ‘income from other sources’.

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DATE: January 15, 2021 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: January 23, 2021 (Date of publication)
AY: 2020-21
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CITATION:
Extension of Due Date for filing RoI and TAR: Power exercised by the CBDT u/s 119 is discretionary. On careful consideration of the order passed by the CBDT on 11.01.2021, we are of the considered view that it cannot be said that CBDT had failed to exercise its discretion or that it acted in an arbitrary or unreasonable manner in refusing to grant further extension of the due dates. We therefore do not find any good ground to invoke our writ jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India to direct CBDT for further extension of the due dates

We find from the order dated 11th January, 2020 passed by the CBDT under section 119 of the Act that across the board three extensions of the due dates have been granted. In so far filing of tax audit report is concerned, the original due date was 30th September, 2020, which was first extended to 31st October, 2020, thereafter to 31st December, 2020 and now to 15th January, 2021. In respect of filing of income tax return in those cases where tax audit report is required to be filed the original due date was 31st October, 2020 which was first extended to 30th November, 2020, thereafter to 31st January, 2021 and finally to 15th February, 2021. Thus, we find that CBDT had considered the evolving situation in the country and thereafter, had extended the due dates on three occasions. Now CBDT says that filing of audit reports and income tax reports cannot be delayed indefinitely. Therefore, a line has been drawn that no further extension of the due dates would be granted.

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DATE: January 13, 2021 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: January 23, 2021 (Date of publication)
AY: 2014-15
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CITATION:
S. 17(2)(vi): (i) ESOP benefits granted to an assessee when he was resident and in consideration for services rendered in India is taxable even though the assessee is a non-resident in the year of exercise. S. 17(2)(vi) decides the timing of the income to be the year of exercise of the ESOPs but does not dilute or negate the fact that the benefit had arisen at the point of time when the ESOP rights were granted.

(ii) Article 15 of the India-UAE DTAA permits taxation of ESOP benefit, which is included in the scope of the expression "other similar remuneration" appearing immediately after the words "salaries and wages", in the jurisdiction in which the related employment is exercised. Thus, an assessee who gets ESOP benefits in respect of his service in U.A.E. and he exercises these options at a later point of time, say after returning to India and ceasing to be a non-resident, will still have the treaty protection of that income under article 15(1). Conversely, when the assessee gets the ESOP benefit on account of rendering services in India, he cannot have the benefit of article 15 in respect of the said income.

We find that so far as the ESOP benefit is concerned, while the income has arisen to the assessee in the current year, admittedly the related rights were granted to the assessee in 2007 and in consideration for the services which were rendered by the assessee prior to the rights being granted- which were rendered in India all along. The character of income may be inchoate at that stage but certainly what is being sought to be taxed now, on account of the specific provision under section 17(2)(vi), is a fruit of services rendered much earlier and the benefit, which has now become a taxable income, accrued to the assessee in 2007. All that section 17(2)(vi) decides is the timing of an income, but it does not dilute or negate the fact that the benefit, in which is being sought to be taxed, had arisen much earlier i.e. at the point of time when the ESOP rights were granted. On these facts, in our considered view, the income, even if it was inchoate at the point of time when the options were granted, has accrued and has arisen in India. The assessee is a non- resident in the current assessment year, but quite clearly, the benefit, in respect of which the income is bring sought to be taxed now, had arisen at an earlier point of time in India. Viewed thus, the income in respect of ESOP grant benefit accrued and had arisen at the point of time when the ESOP rights were granted, even though the taxability in respect of the same, on account of the specific legal provisions under section 17(2)(vi), has arisen in the present in this year.

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DATE: January 13, 2021 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: January 14, 2021 (Date of publication)
AY: AY 2019-20
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Extension of due date for filing ROI: (i) The CBDT has vide order dated 11.01.2021 decided not to grant further extension of time. The Court cannot go into the issues which weighed with the CBDT in taking the decision and substitute the same with its own view. Interference by the Court, at this point of time, in matters relating to the Revenue may have far reaching implications. It may upset the entire functioning of the Government and may lead to undesirable results. (ii) However, the CBDT may consider issuing an appropriate circular taking a lenient view as regards the consequences of late filing of the Tax Audit Reports as provided u/s 271B of the Act. We leave it to the better discretion of the CBDT.

It is the case of the CBDT that it has declined to exercise its power under Section 119 of the Act as the conditions for exercise of such power do not exist. It is the case of the Revenue that the issue of hardship was dealt with considerably at the relevant point of time and that is the reason why three times the time limit came to be extended. The Board has now thought fit in the interest of the Revenue not to extend the time period any further. There are so many vital issues which the Revenue needs to keep in mind before taking such decision. The question is whether this Court should go into all such issues which weighed with the CBDT in taking a particular decision one way or the other and substitute the same with that of this Court on the ground that if the time limit is not extended, then the people at large would be put immense hardships? Interference at the end of this Court, at this point of time, in the matters relating to the Revenue may have far reaching implications. This Court may find it very easy to issue a writ of mandamus, as prayed for, saying that if the time limit has been extended in the past on three occasions, then why not for one last time upto 31st March 2021. However, such a line of reasoning or approach may upset the entire functioning of the Government and may lead to undesirable results.

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DATE: January 8, 2021 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: January 9, 2021 (Date of publication)
AY: -
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CITATION:
Though the CBDT has extended the due dates for filing the ITR & TAR to 10.01.2021 & 15.02.2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic situation, it should look into the question of further extension bearing in mind that the time period for the officials of the tax department has been extended upto 31.03.2021. Some extension deserves to be considered in accordance with law.

We are of the view that the respondent No.1 – Union of India, Ministry of Finance should immediately look into the issue, more particularly, the representation dated 12th October 2020 at Annexure : I of the paper book (page 108) and take an appropriate decision at the earliest in accordance with law. We, accordingly, direct the respondent No.1 to do so. While taking an appropriate decision, the Union shall bear in mind the observations made by this High Court in the two above noted judgements, more particularly, the observations of the Supreme Court in the case of Vaghjibhai S. Bishnoi (supra) that the powers given to the CBDT are beneficial in nature to be exercised for proper administration of fiscal law so that undue hardship may not be caused to the taxpayers. The purpose is of just, proper and efficient management of the work of assessment and the public interest. One additional aspect needs to be kept in mind before taking any appropriate decision that the time period for the officials of the tax department has been extended upto 31st March 2021 having regard to the current covid19 pandemic situation. If that be so, then some extension deserves to be considered in accordance with law. Let an appropriate decision be taken by 12th January 2021.

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DATE: December 18, 2020 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: December 23, 2020 (Date of publication)
AY: 2014-15
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The AO's refusal to grant foreign tax credit under article 23(2) of India Japan DTAA on the ground that the assessee's income (legal fees) was not taxable in Japan under Article 14 (Independent Personal Services) & that the taxes were wrongly withheld in Japan is not justified. The income could have been taxed under Article 12 (Fees for Technical Services). Even otherwise, one has to take a judicious call as to whether the view adopted by the source jurisdiction of taxing the income is a reasonable and bonafide view, which may or may not be the same as the legal position in the residence jurisdiction. The view of the treaty partner should be adopted unless it is wholly unreasonable or manifestly erroneous

So far as determination of question as to whether or not the taxation has been done in the source country “in accordance with the provisions of this Convention, may be taxed in … (the source jurisdiction)”, one has to take a judicious call as to whether the view so adopted by the source jurisdiction is a reasonable and bonafide view, which may or may not be the same as the legal position in the residence jurisdiction. While it is indeed desirable that there should be uniformity in tax treaty interpretation in the treaty partner jurisdictions, it may not always be possible to do so in view of a large variety of variations, such as the sovereignty of judicial systems, domestic law overrides on the treaty provisions, the legal framework in which the treaties are to be interpreted, and the judge-made law in the respective jurisdictions etc. In a situation in which a transaction by resident of one of the contracting states is to be examined in both the treaty partner jurisdictions, from the point of view of taxability of income arising therefrom, different treatments being given by the treaty partner jurisdictions will result in incongruity and undue hardship to the assessee.