The assessee is a non-scheduled Co-operative Bank carrying on banking business in terms of a license issued by Reserve Bank of India (RBI), and is thus governed by Circulars of RBI relating to Prudential Norms, Income Recognition, Asset Classification, Provisioning and other related matters. In terms of such Prudential Norms of RBI, assessee did not account for interest relating to Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) i.e. advances to customers which were classified as NPAs in terms of the RBI guidelines. The Assessing Officer was of the opinion that interest income even in relation to such NPAs was liable to be included in this year’s total income, having regard to the mercantile system of accounting followed by the assessee. As per the Revenue, the provisions of section 43D of the Act, which provide that interest income relatable to NPAs classified as per the RBI guidelines shall be charged to tax in the year in which it is credited or received by the assessee, whichever is earlier, was not applicable to the assessee, since the assessee was not a scheduled bank or any other entity prescribed in section 43D of the Act. Thus, as per the Assessing Officer, interest income on NPA advances accrued to the assessee and accordingly, he brought to tax such interest income of Rs.53,88,043 for assessment year 2009-10 and Rs. 38,36,285/- for assessment year 2010-11 respectively, which is the subject-matter of dispute before us.
The learned CIT(A) disagreed with the Assessing Officer, and thus the Revenue is in appeal before us. At the time of hearing, it was a common point between the parties that an identical controversy has been considered by the Pune Bench of the Tribunal in the case of ACIT vs. The Omerga Janta Sahakari Bank Ltd. vide order in ITA No.350/PN/2013 dated 31.10.2013. In the said precedent, the Tribunal considered the judgement of the Hon’ble Delhi High Court in the case of M/s Vasisth Chay Vyapar Ltd., 330 ITR 440 (Del) as well as the judgement of the Hon’ble Madras High Court in the case of CIT vs. Sakthi Finance Ltd., (2013) 31 taxmann.com 305 (Madras), which had expressed divergent views with respect to the issue of accrual of interest income on NPA advances; and, following the proposition that in the absence of any judgement of the Jurisdictional High Court, there being contrary judgements of the non-jurisdictional High Courts, a decision which was favourable to the assessee was to be followed in view of the reasoning laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of CIT vs. Vegetable Products Ltd., (1973) 88 ITR 192 (SC) and, thus the Tribunal decided the issue in favour of the assessee.
Since it was a common point between the parties that the facts and circumstances in the present case are identical to those considered by us in the case of The Omerga Janta Sahakari Bank Ltd. (supra), following the said precedent the present claim of the assessee deserves to be upheld.