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DATE: December 24, 2019 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: February 8, 2020 (Date of publication)
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Search & Seizure: The action of the GST authorities of camping in the assessee's home for 8 days and placing him under house arrest is illegal & a blatant abuse of powers. It has shocked the conscience of the court. This unauthorised action of the officers may tantamount to an offence under the Indian Penal Code. The officials cannot take shelter behind ignorance of law to justify their illegal actions. It is a matter of deep regret that the Chief Commissioner has attempted to justify such wrongful action on the part of the officials

It is a matter of deep regret that the Chief Commissioner of State Tax has attempted to justify such wrongful action on the part of the officers of the department by placing reliance upon the provisions relating to power of investigation under an earlier enactment to justify the actions of the concerned officers who were exercising powers of search and seizure under section 67(2) of the GST Acts. One would expect the higher officer to reprimand the subordinate officers for their unauthorised actions. But in this case, the higher ups, for reasons best known to them are trying to shield the actions of the subordinate officers though they are not in a position to show the relevant provisions of law under which such officers were empowered to act in this manner. All that the court can say at this stage is that the reports submitted of the Chief Commissioner in response to the orders dated 25.10.2019 and 20.11.2019, do not meet with the standards expected from an authority of his stature

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DATE: February 5, 2020 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: February 8, 2020 (Date of publication)
AY: 2008-09
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S. 153A: Once the assessment gets abated, the original return filed u/s 139(1) is replaced by the return filed u/s 153A. It is open to both parties, i.e. the assessee and revenue, to make claims for allowance or disallowance. The assessee is entitled to lodge a new claim for deduction etc. which remained to be claimed in his earlier/ regular return of income (Continental Warehousing Corporation 374 ITR 645 (Bom) referred)

In view of the second proviso to Section 153A(1) of the said Act, once assessment gets abated, it is open for the assessee to lodge a new claim in a proceeding under Section 153A(1) which was not claimed in his regular return of income, because assessment was never made/finalised in the case of the assessee in such a situation

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DATE: October 31, 2019 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: February 8, 2020 (Date of publication)
AY: 2009-10
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S. 253(3) Condonation of delay: The tendency to perceive delay as a non-serious matter should be discouraged. The notion that the ITAT should always condone the delay should not be promoted. For mistake of lawyer to serve as valid consideration for the purpose of condonation of delay, the mistake must be such as may be made by a professional lawyer well-versed and experienced in law. "Useless advice" by a professional to not file appeal and to instead file a Cross Objection if Revenue filed the appeal cannot help the assessee because there was always going to be a chance that Revenue might not file appeal. Counsel must disclose the circumstances in which incorrect advice was given and, it is not sufficient to make a perfunctory and general statement that wrong advice was given bonafide (all judgements considered)

It is not as if mistake of a legal advisor, however, gross and inexcusable, will entitle an assessee to condonation of delay in filing of appeal. The facts of the case are to be examined to ascertain if there had been negligence or gross want of skill, competence or knowledge on the part of the legal advisor; or whether there was only a mistake that even a skilled legal advisor, well-versed and experienced in law might make that mistake. It is only in the latter case that an assessee may justifiably seek condonation of delay

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DATE: January 29, 2020 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: February 5, 2020 (Date of publication)
AY: 2010-11
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S. 68 Bogus share capital: The identity of the investors were not in doubt. The assessee had furnished PAN, copies of the income tax returns of the investors as well as copy of the bank accounts in which the share application money was deposited in order to prove genuineness of the transactions. In so far credit worthiness of the creditors were concerned, the bank accounts of the investors showed that they had funds to make payments for share application money. The assessee was not required to prove source of the source. Nonetheless, the inquiries through the investigation wing of the department at Kolkata proved source of the source (PCIT vs. NRA Iron & Steel 412 ITR 161 (SC) distinguished)

In NRA Iron & Steel (P) Ltd (supra), the Assessing Officer had made independent and detailed inquiry including survey of the investor companies. The field report revealed that the shareholders were either non-existent or lacked credit-worthiness. It is in these circumstances, Supreme Court held that the onus to establish identity of the investor companies was not discharged by the assessee. The aforesaid decision is, therefore, clearly distinguishable on facts of the present case

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DATE: January 30, 2020 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: February 5, 2020 (Date of publication)
AY: 2007-08
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S. 254(1): This manner of disposing appeals by the Tribunal is not expected of it and cannot stand to the scrutiny of law and justice. The Tribunal cannot refer to decisions on its own without giving the litigant an opportunity to distinguish it. This results in a breach of the principles of natural justice. It also cannot omit to deal with the decisions relied upon by the litigant. Not dealing with the cited decisions leads to the order being bad as an order without reasons

The basic grievance of the Appellant is that the impugned order of the Tribunal has been passed in breach of principles of natural justice. This for two reasons, one the decisions relied upon by the Tribunal of its own (not cited at the bar) in the impugned order were not brought to the notice of the Appellant at any time, before the passing of the impugned order. This resulted in order adverse to the Appellant without the Appellant having an opportunity to address the Tribunal on the inapplicability of the decisions to the facts of this case. Thus, in effect an order without hearing

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DATE: January 24, 2020 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: February 5, 2020 (Date of publication)
AY: 2006-07
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S. 254(2): The limitation of six months for filing a rectification application was substituted by the Finance Act, 2016 w.e.f. 01.06.2016. Therefore, for assessment years prior thereto, the limitation period may be construed to be four years from the date of the order. Even otherwise, if the view is taken that the limitation period is six months, it is sufficient if the application is filed before that date. It is not necessary that the order has to be passed before that date. The assessee or AO can only bring the mistake to the notice of the Tribunal but have no control over the Tribunal. Neither party can be made to suffer for the inability of the Tribunal to pass an order within the limitation period (All judgements referred)

The use of the expression “may” in the aforesaid provision is clearly indicative of the legislative intent that the limitation period of six months from the end of the month in which the order was passed is not to be construed in such a manner that there can not be any extension of time beyond the said period of six months. This is so because the assessee or the Assessing Officer can only bring the mistake to the notice of the Tribunal. The assessee or the Assessing Officer has no control over the Tribunal. For one reason or the other, the Tribunal may not be in a position to pass the order under Section 254(2). For the inability of the Tribunal to pass such an order within the period provided, neither the assessee nor the revenue should suffer. What therefore becomes relevant is that the assessee or the Assessing Officer should bring the mistake to the notice of the Tribunal within the limitation period

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DATE: January 22, 2020 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: February 5, 2020 (Date of publication)
AY: 2010-11
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S. 68 Cash Credits: The assessee is only required to explain the source of the credit. There is no requirement under the law to explain the source of the source. The fact that the source of the source is suspect and that the creditor had no regular source of income to justify the advancement of the credit to the assessee does not mean that an addition can be made in the hands of the assessee (Veedhata Tower 403 ITR 415 (Bom) followed)

Section 68 of the Act has received considerable attention of the courts. It has been held that it is necessary for an assessee to prove prima facie the transaction which results in a cash credit in his books of account. Such proof would include proof of identity of the creditor, capacity of such creditor to advance the money and lastly, genuineness of the transaction. Thus, in order to establish receipt of credit in cash, as per requirement of section 68, the assessee has to explain or satisfy three conditions, namely : (i) identity of the creditor; (ii) genuineness of the transaction; and (iii) credit-worthiness of the creditor

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DATE: January 17, 2020 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: January 25, 2020 (Date of publication)
AY: -
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S. 83 CGST Act: Power to provisionally attach bank accounts is a drastic power. Considering the consequences that ensue from provisional attachment of bank accounts, the power is not to be routinely exercised. S. 83 confers power on the authorities to provisionally attach bank accounts to safeguard Govt revenue but the same is within well-defined ambit. Only upon contingencies provided therein that the power u/s 83 can be exercised. This power is to be used in only limited circumstances and it is not an omnibus power. If proceedings are launched against one taxable person, bank account of another taxable person cannot be provisionally attached merely based on the summons issued u/s 70 to him.

Power to provisionally attach bank accounts is a drastic power. Considering the consequences that ensue from provisional attachment of bank accounts, the Courts have repeatedly emphasized that this power is not to be routinely exercised. Under Section 83, the legislature has no doubt conferred power on the authorities to provisionally attach bank accounts to safeguard government revenue, but the same is within well-defined ambit. Only upon contingencies provided therein that the power under section 83 can be exercised. This power is to be used in only limited circumstances and it is not an omnibus power

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DATE: January 20, 2020 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: January 25, 2020 (Date of publication)
AY: 2013-14
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S. 226(3): Undue haste in recovery of disputed demands by issue of s. 226(3) garnishee notices, in respect of which the hearing of appeal as also the stay petition is already concluded, is indeed inappropriate. The revenue authorities should have at least waited the disposal of the stay petition. Interim stay granted and garnishee proceedings placed under suspension till the disposal of the stay petition

We have noted that the hearing of stay petition was concluded, as per information available to us, on 17th January 2020, but the order thereon has not been passed as yet since one of the Members constituting coram of the bench has gone on tour to Delhi benches due to unavoidable official exigencies. In the meantime, however, the revenue authorities have already issued garnishee notices, under section 226(3) of the Income Tax Act, 1961, to the bankers of the assessee on 17th January 2020 itself. Such an undue haste in recovery of the disputed demands, in respect of which the hearing of appeal as also the stay petition is already concluded, is indeed inappropriate. The revenue authorities should have at least waited for the disposal of the stay petition.

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DATE: January 20, 2020 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: January 25, 2020 (Date of publication)
AY: 2014-15
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(i) 56(2)(vii)(b): The amendment w.e.f AY 2014-15 will not apply to a purchase transaction of immovable property for which full consideration is paid pre the amendment. Mere registration at a later date will not cover a transaction already executed in the earlier years and substantial obligations have already been discharged and a substantive right has accrued to the assessee therefrom. The Revenue is debarred to cover the transaction where inadequacy in purchase consideration is alleged (ii) Interest u/s 234A & 234B is chargeable with reference to the returned income and not the assessed income

It is not in dispute that purchase transactions of immovable property were carried out in FY 2011-12 for which full consideration was also parted with the seller. Mere registration at later date would not cover a transaction already executed in the earlier years and substantial obligations have already been discharged and a substantive right has accrued to the assessee therefrom. The pre-amended provisions will thus apply and therefore the Revenue is debarred to cover the transactions where inadequacy in purchase consideration is alleged