Cognizant Technology Solutions India Pvt. Ltd. v .Dy. CIT(Large Taxpayer Unit) (2020)424 ITR 302 187 DTR 369/ 313 CTR 510/ 274 Taxman 381 (SC)

S.115QA: Tax on distributed income to share holders- Buy back of shares – Remittances to non-residents- Appeal pending before Supreme Court -Department agreeing to treat communication as show-cause notice — Direction to assessee to file reply thereto and further directions as to continuance of interim orders. [ S. 2(22) (a) , 2(22(d) , 115O, 245Q ]

The assessee filed a writ appeal whereupon the Division Bench observed that the single judge after having found the writ petition not maintainable, ought not to have gone into the merits. As regards the nature of the communication dated March 22, 2018 and maintainability of an appeal challenging it, it observed that order was a final one, and that the further question whether the order under challenge violated the principles of natural justice or requisite procedure contemplated under the Act was a matter for consideration by the appellate authority. On appeal  the Court held that , the Department having agreed before the court that the communication dated March 22, 2018 could be treated as a show-cause notice and the Department permitted to conclude the issue within a reasonable time, provided the interim order passed by the single judge of the High Court was continued, and this course having been accepted by the assessee and an appropriate affidavit of undertaking to withdraw the proceedings initiated before the Authority for Advance Rulings having been filed by the assessee, the court in the peculiar facts of the case, directed that the communication dated March 22, 2018 shall be treated as a show-cause notice calling upon the assessee to respond with regard to the aspects adverted to in the communication, that the assessee shall be entitled to put in its reply and place such material, on which it sought to place reliance, within ten days, that the assessee shall thereafter be afforded oral hearing in the matter, and that the matter shall be decided on the merits by the concerned authority within two months, and that pending such consideration, as also till the period to prefer an appeal from the decision on the merits was over, the interim order passed by the single judge of the High Court shall continue to be in operation. The court directed that the amount deposited towards payment of tax and the amounts which stood deposited and invested in the form of fixed deposit receipts shall be subject to the decision to be taken by the authority on the merits or to such directions as may be issued by the appellate authority. The court directed that the merits of the matter shall be gone into independently by the authorities without being influenced, in any way, by any of the observations made by the court. ( AY. 2016-17)  ( Refer  Cognizant Technology Solutions India P. Ltd. v. Dy.CIT (LTU) [2019] 416 ITR 462 (Mad) (HC) .