Case Law Details

Case Name : Commissioner of Income-tax, Faizabad Vs Sri Trilochan Pratap Singh (Allhabad High Court)
Appeal Number : IT Appeal No. 117 of 2008 & 46 TO 64 OF 2009
Date of Judgement/Order : 29/08/2011
Related Assessment Year :
Courts : All High Courts (3706) Allahabad High Court (195)

 HIGH COURT OF ALLAHABAD

Commissioner of Income-tax, Faizabad

Versus

Sri Trilochan Pratap Singh

IT APPEAL NOS. 117 of 2008 & 46 TO 64 OF 2009

AUGUST  29, 2011

ORDER

1. In these Bunch of appeals, common question of law and facts are involved. Hence, decided by the present common judgment.

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2. A search and seizure operation under section 132-A (sic) of the Income-tax Act was conducted and certain incriminating materials were seized. The Additional Director (Inv.) required to produce certain documents under section 132A (sic) of the Act. A common question of law arose as to whether search action on the basis of authorization of Additional Director of Income Tax was permissible or not. The Tribunal relying on a decision of this Court dated 14.07.2006 in the case of Raghu Raj Pratap Singh v. Asstt. CIT [2009] 179 Taxman 73 (All.), held that the Additional Director had no authority to take action in cases of search and seizure operation and the Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeals) was justified in quashing the assessment orders. Aggrieved by the same, the Department-appellant has preferred these appeals in this Court and the Division Bench was admitted all the appeals on the following substantial question of law:-

“Whether on the facts and in the circumstances of the case the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal was justified in quashing the order of the Assessing Officer challenging the validity of authorization issued u/s 132(1) of the Income-tax Act, 1961.”

3. Sri D.D. Chopra, appearing on behalf of appellant submits that under section 132(1) of the Act, prior to its amendment by Finance (No. 2) Act, 2009, did not confer power on the Additional Director but by amendment of Finance (No. 2) Act, 2009, the word “Additional Director” has been inserted in section 132 (1) of the Act, with effect from 01.06.1994 and the same is applicable in the present appeals.

4. Sri Rohit Nandan Shukla, appearing on behalf of the assessee-respondents, disputing the aforesaid amendment and said that the amendment is not lawful and does not cover the case. For this purpose, he relied upon the judgments reported in Tata Motors Ltd. v. State of Maharashtra [2004] 5 SCC 783, State of Gujarat v. Raman Lal Keshav Lal Soni [1983] 2 SCC 33.

5. The cases relied upon by the learned counsel for the assessee do not seem applicable under the facts and circumstances of the case for two reasons; firstly they do not relates to the income tax matter and secondly unless the amendment incorporated by the Finance (No. 2) Act, 2009 is challenged and it is declared ultra vires by the Court for all practice purposes, it shall be operative being existing in the statute book. The provision inserted by the Finance (No. 2) Act, 2009 is the part of statute books and this Court while considering the related issues is bound to enforce the law as exists in the statute book.

6. A Division Bench of this Court, of which one of us was a member (Hon’ble Dr. Satish Chandra, J.) in regard to identical question of law, has allowed the appeal in favour of the department-appellant by the judgment and order dated 16.11.2009 in Income Tax Appeal No. 182 of 2008 and other connected appeals.

7. We do not find any reason to take a different view than what has been taken by the coordinate Bench of this Court. The operative portion of the judgment is reproduced is as under:-

“We are afraid, present is not an appropriate proceeding to go into that. Here, the only question, which false for our determination, is as to whether the Additional Director had the authority under section 132 (1) of the Act to issue warrant of search and seizure. In view of the amendment brought by Finance (No. 2) Act, 2009, this point need not detain us much. Finance (No. 2) Act, 2009 has specifically inserted the words “Additional Director” in section 132 (1) of the Act with effect from 01.06.1994, besides other authorities.

In view of aforesaid, we are of the opinion that the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal erred in holding that the annulment of the assessment orders by the Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeals) was justified.

We are of the opinion that in view of the amendment brought by Finance (No. 2) Act, 2009, the Additional Director has the power under section 132 (1) of the Act to issue search and seizure warrant.

In the result, these appeals are allowed. The impugned order dated 27.06.2008 passed by the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, Lucknow is set aside and the matter is remitted back to it for reconsideration in accordance with law.

In the facts and circumstances of the case, there shall be no order as to costs. “

8. In view of above, being respectful in agreement with the Division Bench Judgment (supra), we allow the appeal and set aside the Tribunal’s order and answer the question framed in favour of the revenue and against the assessee. The order of the assessing authority is restored and the matter is remitted back to the Tribunal to decide the appeal afresh on merit keeping in view the observation made in the body of the present judgment.

9. The appeals are allowed accordingly.

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