CIT vs. Continental Warehousing Corporation (Bombay High Court)

COUNSEL: , , ,
DATE: April 21, 2015 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: May 7, 2015 (Date of publication)
AY: 2008-09
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S. 153A: No addition can be made in respect of an unabated assessment which has become final if no incriminating material is found during the search. An ICD is an "infrastructural facility" for s. 80-IA(4)

Pursuant to the judgement of the Special Bench of the ITAT in All Cargo Global Logistics 137 ITD 287 (SB) (Mum) the Bombay High Court had to consider two issues: (i) whether scope of assessment u/s 153A in respect of completed assessments is limited to only undisclosed income and undisclosed assets detected during search and (ii) whether in view of the Circular of the CBDT No. 10/2005 the assessee was entitled to deduction u/s 80 IA(4). HELD by the High Court:

(i) On a plain reading of Section 153A of the Income-tax Act, it becomes clear that on initiation of the proceedings under Section 153A, it is only the assessment / reassessment proceedings that are pending on the date of conducting search under Section 132 or making requisition under Section 132A of the Act stand abated and not the assessments/reassessments already finalised for those assessment years covered under Section 153A of the Act. By a circular No. 8 of 2003 dated 18-9-2003 (See 263 ITR (St) 61 at 107) the CBDT has clarified that on initiation of proceedings under Section 153A, the proceedings pending in appeal, revision or rectification proceedings against finalised assessment/reassessment shall not abate. It is only because, the finalised assessments/reassessments do not abate, the appeal revision or rectification pending against finalised assessment/reassessments would not abate. Therefore, the argument of the revenue, that on initiation of proceedings under Section 153A, the assessments/reassessments finalised for the assessment years covered under Section 153A of the Income-tax Act stand abated cannot be accepted. Similarly on annulment of assessment made under Section 153A (1) what stands revived is the pending assessment / reassessment proceedings which stood abated as per section 153A(1);

(ii) Once it is held that the assessment has attained finality, then the AO while passing the independent assessment order under Section 153A read with Section 143 (3) of the I.T. Act could not have disturbed the assessment / reassessment order which has attained finality, unless the materials gathered in the course of the proceedings under Section 153A of the Income-tax Act establish that the reliefs granted under the finalised assessment/ reassessment were contrary to the facts unearthed during the course of 153A proceedings. If there is nothing on record to suggest that any material was unearthed during the search or during the 153A proceedings, the AO while passing order under Section 153A read with Section 143(3) cannot disturb the assessment order;

(iii) A perusal of s. 80-IA(4) would indicate as to how the Legislature had in mind deduction in respect of profits and gains from industrial undertakings or enterprises engaged in the infrastructure development etc. We are concerned with sub-section (4) and as it read at the relevant time. It says that this section applies to any enterprise carrying on the business of developing or operating and maintaining any infrastructure facility which fulfills all the conditions, namely, it is owned by a company registered in India or by a consortium of such companies or by an authority or a board or a corporation or any other body established or constituted under any Central or State Act, it has entered into an agreement with the Central Government or a local authority or any other statutory body for developing or operating and maintaining or developing, operating and maintaining a new infrastructure facility and it has started or starts operating and maintaining the infrastructure facility on or after 1st day of April, 1995. The explanation defines the infrastructure facility to mean, inter alia, a port, airport, inland waterway, inland port or navigational channel in the sea. The word “inland port” was always there in clause (d). What was there prior to its substitution by Finance Act of 2007 with effect from 1st April, 2008, were the words “or inland port”. Now the word “or” is deleted, but the words are “inland port or navigational channel in the sea”. Thus, an “inland port” was always within the contemplation of the Legislature and it is treated specifically as a infrastructural facility (Commissioner of Income Tax (Central) Nagpur vs. M/s. Murli Agro Products Limited in Income Tax Appeal No.36 of 2009 followed; Anil Kumar Bhatia Canara Housing Development Co (Kar) (HC) distinguished

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