Category: Supreme Court

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DATE: April 24, 2020 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: April 24, 2020 (Date of publication)
AY: 2001-02
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CITATION:
Entire law on principles of mutuality reiterated. The doctrine of mutuality bestows a special status to qualify for exemption from tax liability. It is a settled proposition of law that exemptions are to be put to strict interpretation. If the assessee fails to fulfil the stipulations and to prove the existence of mutuality, the question of extending exemption from tax liability to the assessee, that too at the cost of public exchequer, does not arise. Taking any other view would entail in stretching the limits of construction.

On cogitating over the rival submissions, we reckon that the following questions of law would arise for our consideration in the present case: (i) Whether the assessee company would qualify as a mutual concern in the eyes of law, thereby exempting subject transactions from tax liability? (ii) Whether the excess of income over expenditure in the hands of the assessee company is not taxable?

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DATE: April 24, 2020 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: April 24, 2020 (Date of publication)
AY: 1998-99
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CITATION:
S. 68 Bogus Purchases: Though the assessee failed to prove the genuineness of the purchases during the assessment proceedings, he filed affidavits and statements of the dealers in penalty proceedings. That evidence fully supports the claim of the assessee. The CIT (A) accepted the explanation of the assessee and recorded a clear finding of fact that there was no concealment of income or furnishing of any inaccurate particulars of income by the assessee. Consequently, the quantum addition will also have to be deleted

Indeed, at the time of assessment, the appellant/assessee had failed to produce any explanation or evidence in support of the entries regarding purchases made from unregistered dealers. In the penalty proceedings, however, the appellant/assessee produced affidavits of 13 unregistered dealers out of whom 12 were examined by the Officer. The Officer recorded their statements and did not find any infirmity therein including about their credentials. The dealers stood by the assertion made by the appellant/assessee about the purchases on credit from them; and which explanation has been accepted by the appellate authority in paragraphs 17 and 19 of the order dated 13.1.2011. 15. To put it differently, the factual basis on which the Officer formed his opinion in the assessment order dated 30.11.2000 (for assessment year 19981999), in regard to addition of Rs.2,26,000/( Rupees two lakhs twenty six thousand only), stands dispelled by the affidavits and statements of the concerned unregistered dealers in penalty proceedings. That evidence fully supports the claim of the appellant/assessee.

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DATE: April 6, 2020 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: April 8, 2020 (Date of publication)
AY: -
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CITATION:
Article 142 Directions: All measures shall be taken to reduce the need for physical presence of all stakeholders within the court premises and to secure the functioning of courts in consonance with social distancing guidelines. The Supreme Court and all High Courts are authorized to adopt measures required to ensure the robust functioning of the judicial system through the use of video conferencing technologies. Every High Court is authorised to determine the modalities which are suitable to the temporary transition to the use of video conferencing technologies

Every individual and institution is expected to cooperate in the implementation of measures designed to reduce the transmission of the virus. The scaling down conventional operations within the precincts of courts is a measure in that direction. Access to justice is fundamental to preserve the rule of law in the democracy envisaged by the Constitution of India. The challenges occasioned by the outbreak of COVID-19 have to be addressed while preserving the constitutional commitment to ensuring the delivery of and access to justice to those who seek it. It is necessary to ensure compliance with social distancing guidelines issued from time to time by various health authorities, Government of India and States. Court hearings in congregation must necessarily become an exception during this period

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DATE: April 3, 2020 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: April 3, 2020 (Date of publication)
AY: 2008-09
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CITATION:
S. 147/ 148 Reopening: (i) Merely because the original assessment is a detailed one, the powers of the AO to reopen u/s 147 is not affected, (ii) Information which comes to the notice of the AO during proceedings for subsequent AYs can definitely form tangible material to reopen the assessment, (iii) As regards "full & true disclosure of material facts", the assessee has the duty to disclose the "primary facts". It is not required to disclose the "secondary facts". The assessee is also not required to give any assistance to the AO by disclosure of other facts. It is for the AO to decide what inference should be drawn from the facts, (iv) If the AO intends to rely upon the second Proviso to s. 148 for the extended period of 16 years limitation, the same should be stated either in the notice or in the reasons in support of the notice. It cannot be done in the order rejecting the objections or at a later stage (All imp judgements considered)

In our view the assessee disclosed all the primary facts necessary for assessment of its case to the assessing officer. What the revenue urges is that the assessee did not make a full and true disclosure of certain other facts. We are of the view that the assessee had disclosed all primary facts before the assessing officer and it was not required to give any further assistance to the assessing officer by disclosure of other facts. It was for the assessing officer at this stage to decide what inference should be drawn from the facts of the case. In the present case the assessing officer on the basis of the facts disclosed to him did not doubt the genuiness of the transaction set up by the assessee. This the assessing officer could have done even at that stage on the basis of the facts which he already knew. The other facts relied upon by the revenue are the proceedings before the DRP and facts subsequent to the assessment order, and we have already dealt with the same while deciding Issue No.1. However, that cannot lead to the conclusion that there is nondisclosure of true and material facts by the assessee

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DATE: March 19, 2020 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: March 24, 2020 (Date of publication)
AY: -
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CITATION:
S. 143(1-A): The object of s. 143(1- A) is the prevention of evasion of tax. As it has the deterrent effect of preventing tax evasion, it should be made to apply only to tax evaders. It can only be invoked where it is found on facts that the lesser amount stated in the return filed by the assessee is a result of an attempt to evade tax lawfully payable by the assessee. The burden of proving that the assessee has so attempted to evade tax is on the Revenue which may be discharged by establishing facts and circumstances from which a reasonable inference can be drawn that the assessee has, in fact, attempted to evade tax lawfully payable by it

Taking a cue from Varghese case, we therefore, hold that Section 143(1-A) can only be invoked where it is found on facts that the lesser amount stated in the return filed by the assessee is a result of an attempt to evade tax lawfully payable by the assessee. The burden of proving that the assessee has so attempted to evade tax is on the Revenue which may be discharged by the Revenue by establishing facts and circumstances from which a reasonable inference can be drawn that the assessee has, in fact, attempted to evade tax lawfully payable by it

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DATE: March 23, 2020 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: March 23, 2020 (Date of publication)
AY: -
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CITATION:
Extension of limitation period: To obviate difficulties caused by CoronaVirus in filing petitions/ applications/ suits/ appeals/ all other proceedings within the period of limitation prescribed under the general law of limitation or under Special Laws (both Central and/or State) , it is ordered that the period of limitation in all such proceedings, irrespective of the limitation prescribed under the general law or Special Laws, whether condonable or not, shall stand extended w.e.f. 15th March 2020 till further order/s to be passed by this Court in present proceedings

This Court has taken Suo Motu cognizance of the situation arising out of the challenge faced by the country on account of Covid-19 Virus and resultant difficulties that may be faced by litigants across the country in filing their petitions/ applications/ suits/ appeals/all other proceedings within the period of limitation prescribed under the general law of limitation or under Special Laws (both Central and/or State)

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DATE: March 20, 2020 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: March 21, 2020 (Date of publication)
AY: -
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CITATION:
Coercive Recovery of taxes etc during Corona Virus crisis: The orders of the Allahabad & Kerala High Courts directing the authorities to defer coercive recovery of taxes is stayed in view of the stand of the Government that the Government is fully conscious of the prevailing situation and would itself evolve a proper mechanism to assuage concerns and hardships of every one

There shall be ex-parte ad-interim stay of the impugned judgment and order(s) passed in the aforesaid writ petitions and of further proceedings before the High Court(s), in view of the stand taken by the Government of India through learned Solicitor General, before us, that the Government is fully conscious of the prevailing situation and would itself evolve a proper mechanism to assuage concerns and hardships of every one

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DATE: March 6, 2020 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: March 14, 2020 (Date of publication)
AY: -
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CITATION:
Attachment of property under Schedule II: Unless there is preference given to the Crown debt by a statute, the dues of a secured creditor have preference over Crown debts. As a charge over the property was created much prior to the notice issued by the TRO under Rule 2 of Schedule II to the Act and the sale of the property was pursuant to the order passed by the DRT, the sale is valid

The property in dispute was mortgaged by BPIL to the Union Bank of India in 2000 and the DRT passed an order of recovery against the BPIL in 2002. The recovery certificate was issued immediately, pursuant to which an attachment order was passed prior to the date on which notice was issued by the Tax Recovery Officer- Respondent No.4 under Rule 2 of Schedule II to the Act. It is true that the sale was conducted after the issuance of the notice as well as the attachment order passed by Respondent No.4 in 2003, but the fact remains that a charge over the property was created much prior to the notice issued by Respondent No.4 on 16.11.2003. The High Court held that Rule 16(2) is applicable to this case on the ground that the actual sale took place after the order of attachment was passed by Respondent No.4. The High Court failed to take into account the fact that the sale of the property was pursuant to the order passed by the DRT with regard to the property over which a charge was already created prior to the issuance of notice on 11.02.2003. As the charge over the property was created much prior to the issuance of notice under Rule 2 of Schedule II to the Act by Respondent No.4, we find force in the submissions made on behalf of the Appellant

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DATE: March 5, 2020 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: March 7, 2020 (Date of publication)
AY: 2008-09
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CITATION:
S. 153C: Compliance with the requirements of s. 153C is mandatory. (i) If the AO of the searched person is different from the AO of the other person, the AO of the searched person is required to transmit the satisfaction note & seized documents to the AO of the other person. He is also required to make a note in the file of the searched person that he has done so. However, the same is for administrative convenience and the failure by the AO of the searched person to make a note in the file of the searched person, will not vitiate the proceedings u/s 153C. (ii) If the AO of the searched person and the other person is the same, it is sufficient for the AO to note in the satisfaction note that the documents seized from the searched person belonged to the other person. Once the note says so, the requirement of s. 153C is fulfilled. In such case, there can be one satisfaction note prepared by the AO, as he himself is the AO of the searched person and also the AO of the other person. However, he must be conscious and satisfied that the documents seized/recovered from the searched person belonged to the other person. In such a situation, the satisfaction note would be qua the other person. The requirement of transmitting the documents so seized from the searched person would not be there as he himself will be the AO of the searched person and the other person and therefore there is no question of transmitting such seized documents to himself

This Court had an occasion to consider the scheme of Section 153C of the Act and the conditions precedent to be fulfilled/complied with before issuing notice under Section 153C of the Act in the case of Calcutta Knitwears (2014) 6 SCC 444 as well as by the Delhi High Court in the case of Pepsi Food Pvt. Ltd (367) ITR 112 (Delhi). As held, before issuing notice under Section 153C of the Act, the Assessing Officer of the searched person must be “satisfied” that, inter alia, any document seized or requisitioned “belongs to” a person other than the searched person. That thereafter, after recording such satisfaction by the Assessing Officer of the searched person, he may transmit the records/documents/things/papers etc. to the Assessing Officer having jurisdiction over such other person. After receipt of the aforesaid satisfaction and upon examination of such other documents relating to such other person, the jurisdictional Assessing Officer may proceed 7 to issue a notice for the purpose of completion of the assessment under Section 158BD of the Act and the other provisions of Chapter XIV-B shall apply.

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DATE: February 19, 2020 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: March 7, 2020 (Date of publication)
AY: -
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CITATION:
S. 12AA: Registration can be applied for by a newly registered trust. There is no stipulation that the trust should have already been in existence and should have undertaken any activities before making the application for registration. The term ‘activities’ in s. 12AA includes ‘proposed activities’. The CIT must consider whether the objects of the Trust are genuinely charitable in nature and whether the activities which the Trust proposed to carry on are genuine in the sense that they are in line with the objects of the Trust. However, he cannot refuse registration on the ground that no activities are carried out

Since section 12AA pertains to the registration of the Trust and not to assess of what a trust has actually done, we are of the view that the term ‘activities’ in the provision includes ‘proposed activities’. That is to say, a Commissioner is bound to consider whether the objects of the Trust are genuinely charitable in nature and whether the activities which the Trust proposed to carry on are genuine in the sense that they are in line with the objects of the Trust. In contrast, the position would be different where the Commissioner proposes to cancel the registration of a Trust under sub-section (3) of section 12AA of the Act. There the Commissioner would be bound to record the finding that an activity or activities actually carried on by the Trust are not genuine being not in accordance with the objects of the Trust. Similarly, the situation would be different where the trust has before applying for registration found to have undertaken activities contrary to the objects of the Trust.