Case Law Details

Case Name : CIT Vs Calcutta Knitwears (Supreme Court of India)
Appeal Number :  Civil Appeal No. 3958-399 1 of 2014
Date of Judgement/Order :  12/03/2014
Related Assessment Year :
Courts : Supreme Court of India (907)

CA Sandeep Kanoi

Honourable SC has held in the case of CIT vs. Calcutta Knitwears that for the purpose of Section 158BD of the Act a satisfaction note is sine qua  non and must be prepared by the assessing officer before he transmits the records to the other assessing  officer who has jurisdiction over such other person. The satisfaction note could be prepared at either of the following stages: (a) at the time of or along with the initiation of proceedings against the searched  person under Section 1 58BC of the Act; (b) along with the assessment proceedings under Section 158BC  of the Act; and (c) immediately after the assessment proceedings are completed under Section 1 58BC of the Act of the searched person.

Relevant Paragraph From the Judgment

Section 158BD  provision is a machinery provision and inserted in the statute book for the purpose of carrying out assessments of a person other than the searched person under Sections 132 or  132A of the Act. Under Section 158BD of the Act, if an officer is satisfied that there exists any undisclosed income which may belong to a other person other than the searched person under Sections 132 or 132A of the Act, after recording such satisfaction, may transmit the records/documents/chits/papers etc to the assessing officer having jurisdiction over such other person. After receipt of the aforesaid satisfaction and upon examination of the said other documents relating to such other person, the jurisdictional assessing officer may proceed to issue a notice for the purpose of completion of the assessments under Section 1 58BD of the Act, the other provisions of XIV-B shall apply.

The opening words of Section 158BD of the Act are that the assessing officer must be satisfied that “undisclosed income” belongs to any other person other than the person with respect to whom a search was made under Section 132 of the Act or a requisition of books were made under Section 132A of the Act and thereafter, transmit the records for assessment of such other person. Therefore, the short question that falls for our consideration and decision is at what stage of the proceedings should the satisfaction note be prepared by the assessing officer: whether at the time of initiating proceedings under Section 1 58BC for the completion of the assessments of the searched person under Section 132 and 1 32A of the Act or during the course of the assessment proceedings under Section 1 58BC of the Act or after completion of the proceedings under Section 158BC of the Act.

The Tribunal and the High Court are of the opinion that it could only be prepared by the assessing officer during the course of the assessment proceedings under Section 1 58BC of the Act and not after the completion of the said proceedings. The Courts below have relied upon the limitation period provided in Section 158BE(2)(b) of the Act in respect of the assessment proceedings initiated under Section 158BD, i.e., two years from the end of the month in which the notice under Chapter XIV-B was served on such other person in respect of search initiated or books of account or other documents or any assets are requisitioned on or after 01.01.1997. We would examine whether the Tribunal or the High Court are justified in coming to the aforesaid conclusion.

We would certainly say that before initiating proceedings under Section 158BD of the Act, the assessing officer who has initiated proceedings for completion of the assessments under Section 1 58BC of the Act should be satisfied that there is an undisclosed income which has been traced out when a person was searched under Section 132 or the books of accounts were requisitioned under Section 132A of the Act. This is in contrast to the provisions of Section 148 of the Act where recording of reasons in writing are a sine qua non. Under Section 1 58BD the existence of cogent and demonstrative material is germane to the assessing officers’ satisfaction in concluding that the seized documents belong to a person other than the searched person is necessary for initiation of action under Section 1 58BD. The bare reading of the provision indicates that the satisfaction note could be prepared by the assessing officer either at the time of initiating proceedings for completion of assessment of a searched person under Section 1 58BC of the Act or during the stage of the assessment proceedings. It does not mean that after completion of the assessment, the assessing officer cannot prepare the satisfaction note to the effect that there exists income tax belonging to any person other than the searched person in respect of whom a search was made under Section 132 or requisition of books of accounts were made under Section 1 32A of the Act. The language of the provision is clear and unambiguous. The legislature has not imposed any embargo on the assessing officer in respect of the stage of proceedings during which the satisfaction is to be reached and recorded in respect of the person other than the searched person.
Further, Section 1 58BE(2)(b) only provides for the period of limitation for completion of block assessment under section 1 58BD in case of the person other than the searched person as two years from the end of the month in which the notice under this Chapter was served on such other person in respect of search carried on after 01.01.1997. The said section does neither provides for nor imposes any restrictions or conditions on the period of limitation for preparation the satisfaction note under Section 1 58BD and consequent issuance of notice to the other person.
In the lead case, the assessing officer had prepared a satisfaction note on 15.07.2005 though the assessment proceedings in the case of a searched person, namely, S.K. Bhatia were completed on 30.03.2005. As we have already noticed, the Tribunal and the High Court are of the opinion that since the satisfaction note was prepared after the proceedings were completed by the assessing officer under Section 1 58BC of the Act which is contrary to the provisions of Section 1 58BD read with Section 1 58BE(2)(b) and therefore, have dismissed the case of the Revenue. In our considered opinion, the reasoning of the learned Judges of the High Court is contrary to the plain and simple language employed by the legislature under Section 1 58BD of the Act which clearly provides adequate flexibility to the assessing officer for recording the satisfaction note after the completion of proceedings in respect of the searched person under Section 158BC. Further, the interpretation placed by the Courts below by reading into the plain language of Section 1 58BE(2)(b) such as to extend the period of limitation to recording of satisfaction note would run counter to the avowed object of introduction of Chapter to provide for cost- effective, efficient and expeditious completion of search assessments and avoiding or reducing long drawn proceedings.
In the result, we hold that for the purpose of Section 158BD of the Act a satisfaction note is sine qua  non and must be prepared by the assessing officer before he transmits the records to the other assessing  officer who has jurisdiction over such other person. The satisfaction note could be prepared at either of the following stages: (a) at the time of or along with the initiation of proceedings against the searched  person under Section 1 58BC of the Act; (b) along with the assessment proceedings under Section 1 58BC  of the Act; and (c) immediately after the assessment proceedings are completed under Section 1 58BC of the Act of the searched person.

We are informed by Shri Santosh Krishan, who is appearing in seven of the appeals that the assessing officer had not recorded the satisfaction note as required under Section 1 58BD of the Act, therefore, the Tribunal and the High Court were justified in setting aside the orders of assessment and the orders passed  by the first appellate authority. We do not intend to examine the aforesaid contention canvassed by the learned counsel since we are remanding the matters to the High Court for consideration of the individual cases herein in light of the observations made by us on the scope and possible interpretation of Section 158BD of the Act.

Download Judgment/Order

More Under Income Tax

Posted Under

Category : Income Tax (25362)
Type : Judiciary (10128)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *