(i) Even if the pre-conditions prescribed under Section 245C are to be read into Section 245H, it cannot be said that in every case, the material “disclosed” by the assessee before the Commission must be something apart from what was discovered by the Assessing Officer. What is of relevance is that the assessee offered to tax, income, in addition to the income recorded in the return of income. Section 245C read with Section 245H only contemplates full and true disclosure of income to be made before the Settlement Commission, regardless of the disclosures or discoveries made before/by the Assessing Officer.
(ii) The Order passed by Assessing Officer based on any discovery made, is not the final word, for, it is appealable. However, the assessee may accept the liability, in whole or in part, as determined in the assessment order. In such a case, the assessee may approach the Settlement Commission making ‘full and true disclosure’ of his income and the manner in which such income has been derived. Such a disclosure may also include the income discovered by the Assessing Officer.
(iii) To say that in every case, the material “disclosed” by the assessee before the Commission must be something apart from what was “discovered” by the Assessing Officer is an artificial requirement. In every case, there may not even be additional income to offer, apart from what has been discovered by the Assessing Officer. The object of Chapter-XIXA is to settle cases and to reduce the disputes, and not to prolong litigation. Therefore, instead of preferring an appeal against the assessment order, the assessee may, by making a ‘full and true disclosure’ of income, approach the Settlement Commission and offer to tax income other than that disclosed in the return of income
(iv) having regard to the legislative intent, frequent interference with the orders or proceedings of the Settlement Commission should be avoided. We have already indicated the limited grounds on which an order or proceeding of the Settlement Commission can be judicially reviewed.
(v) The High Court should not scrutinize an order or proceeding of a Settlement Commission as an appellate court. Unsettling reasoned orders of the Settlement Commission may erode the confidence of the bonafide assessees, thereby leading to multiplicity of litigation where settlement is possible. This larger picture has to be borne in mind.
|Counsel(s):||Sri Shyam Divan, appearing on behalf of the appellant-assessee and learned Additional Solicitor General, Sri Balbir Singh, appearing on behalf of the respondents-Revenue|
|Dowload Pdf File||Click here to download the file in pdf format|
|Date of upload:||September 30, 2023|