CIT-DR vs. M/s. Simoni Gems (ITAT Mumbai)

DATE: (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: August 31, 2011 (Date of publication)

Click here to download the judgement (simoni_gems_criminal_contempt_by_cit_dr.pdf)

CIT-DR’s “false & frivolous” submissions constitute “criminal contempt” & justify recovery of costs from salary

In the department’s appeal, the assessee raised a preliminary objection that the notice u/s 143(2) was not issued within the prescribed period of 12 months. The AO accepted that the s. 143(2) notice had not been issued in time. Accordingly, the Tribunal, relying on Hotel Blue Moon 321 ITR 362 (SC), dismissed the department’s appeal without going into the merits of the appeal. Thereafter, the CIT-DR addressed two letters to the Hon’ble Members in which it was alleged that the (i) permitting the assessee to argue first in the department’s appeal was against “norms in appellate proceedings“, (ii) the Bench had “passed the order in undue hurry” without waiting for the department’s written submissions to be filed and (iii) the order was “ex parte”. It was also alleged that the letter was sent by post as the Bench clerk had refused to accept the letter. The letters were treated as a MA by the Tribunal and heard. Thereafter, the CIT-DR filed a letter of apology clarifying that it was not his intention to “hurt the sentiments” of the Members though he did not appear personally before the Bench. HELD dealing meticulously with each assertion made by the CIT-DR and terming them as “frivolous and untrue“:

“We are of the view that the conduct of the learned CIT(A) in addressing correspondence to the Hon’ble Members in respect of an appeal which has been heard and under consideration for passing orders is improper. It is an attempt to interfere with the due course of any judicial proceeding and tends to interfere with or obstructs or tends to obstruct the administration of justice and as such would be “Criminal contempt” within the meaning of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971. The allegations made in the letters dated 23.3.2010 and 24.3.2010 are serious enough to warrant an action seeking protection of the Hon’ble High Court in exercise of its powers to punish for contempt of the sub-ordinate Courts and Tribunals. In our opinion, there cannot be a fitter case for imposition of exemplary costs on the learned Departmental Representative, who in our view, is responsible for such a M.A. and for wasting the time of the Tribunal by raising frivolous arguments and making blatantly false submissions. The cost should have to be recovered from the salary of the delinquent employee, who is responsible for such actions and entry made in his service record on the adverse comments made against the D.R. by the Tribunal. We however refrain from doing so in the hope that such indiscretion would not be repeated in future and also in view of the letter of apology filed by the D.R.”

One comment on “CIT-DR vs. M/s. Simoni Gems (ITAT Mumbai)
  1. sushil says:

    very good case

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