CIT vs. S. K. Katyal (Delhi High Court)

DATE: (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: January 1, 2009 (Date of publication)

Extension of time limit for completion of block assessment order by making new panchnamas.

HELD in the context of s. 158BE (1) (b) which imposes a time limit for making a block assessment order with reference to the date of execution of the last of the authorizations for search u/s 132 which in turn is deemed to be the date of the conclusion of search as recorded in the last panchnama drawn that:

(i) a search is essentially an invasion of the privacy of the person whose property or person is subjected to search;

(ii) normally, a search must be continuous;

(iii) if it cannot be continuous for some plausible reason, the hiatus in the search must be explained;

(iv) if no cogent or plausible reason is shown for the hiatus in the search, the second or “resumed” search would be illegal;

(v) by merely mentioning in the panchnama that a search has been temporarily suspended does not, ipso facto, continue the search. It would have to be seen as a fact as to whether the search continued or had concluded;

(vi) merely because a panchnama is drawn up on a particular date, it does not mean that a search was conducted and/or concluded on that date;

(vii) the panchnama must be a record of a search or seizure for it to qualify as the panchnama mentioned in Explanation 2(a) to section 158BE of the said Act.

See Also: CIT vs. Plastika Enterprises (Bom) where the panchnama was found to have been made only to get over the limitation issue.

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