It was held that impounded loose sheet can at the most be termed as “dumb document” which did not contain full details about the dates, and its contents were not corroborated by any material and could not relied upon and made the basis of addition.
Relevant Extract of the Judgment
25. Coming to the evidentiary value of the impounded loose sheet mentioned elsewhere, the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Common Cause (A Registered Society) and Others vs. Union of India and Others in Writ Petition Civil Appeal No. 505 of 2015 has observed as under:-
16. With respect to the kind of materials which have been placed on record, this Court in V.C. Shukla’s case (supra) has dealt with the matter though at the stage of discharge when investigation had been completed but same is relevant for the purpose of decision of this case also. This Court has considered the entries in Jain Hawala diaries, note books and file containing loose sheets of papers not in the form of “Books of Accounts” and has held that such entries in loose papers/sheets are irrelevant and not admissible under Section 34 of the Evidence Act, and that only where the entries are in the books of accounts regularly kept, depending on the nature of occupation, that those are admissible
17. It has further been laid down in V. C. Shukla (Supra) as to the value of entries in the books of account, that such statement shall not alone be sufficient evidence to charge any person with liability, even if they are relevant and admissible, and that they are only corroborative evidence. It has been held even then independent evidence is necessary as to trustworthiness of those entries which is a requirement to fasten the liability.
26. The Hon’ble Supreme Court further observed:-
17. From a plain reading of the Section it is manifest that to make an entry relevant thereunder it must be shown that it has been made in a book, that book is a book of account and that book of account has been regularly kept in the course of business. From the above Section it is also manifest that even if the above requirements are fulfilled and the entry becomes admissible as/ relevant evidence, still, the statement made therein shall not alone be sufficient evidence to charge any person with liability. It is thus seen that while the first part of the section speaks of the relevancy of the entry as evidence, the second part speaks, in a negative way, of its evidentiary value for charging a person with a liability. It will, therefore, be necessary for us to first ascertain whether the entries in the documents, with which we are concerned, fulfill the requirements of the above section so as to be admissible in evidence and if this question is answered in the affirmative then only its probative value need be assessed.
27. With respect to evidentiary value of regular account book, the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of V.C. Shukla 1998 (3) SCC 410 has laid down :-
” 37. In Beni v. Bisan Dayal it was observed that entries in books of account are not by themselves sufficient to charge any person with liability, the reason being that a man cannot be allowed to make evidence for himself by what he chooses to write in his own books behind the back of the parties. There must be independent evidence of the transaction to which the entries relate and in absence of such evidence no relief can be given to the party who relies upon such entries to support his claim against another. In Hira Lal v. Ram Rakha the High Court, while negativing a contention that it having been proved that the books of account were regularly kept in the ordinary course of business and that, therefore, all entries therein should be considered to be relevant and to have been proved, said, that the rule as laid down in Section 34 of The Act that entries in the books of account regularly kept in the course of business are relevant whenever they refer to a matter in which the Court has to enquire was subject to the salient proviso that such entries shall not alone be sufficient evidence to charge any person with liability. It is not, therefore, enough merely to prove that the books have been regularly kept in the course of business and the entries therein are correct. It is further incumbent upon the person relying upon those entries to prove that they were in accordance with facts.”
28. It is apparent from the aforesaid discussion that the loose sheet of papers are wholly irrelevant as evidence being not admissible u/s. 34 so as to constitute evidence with respect to the transactions mentioned therein being of no evidentiary value.
29. Moreover, the Assessing Office did not make any inquiry from buyers of flat in respect of actual prices paid by them. He also did not make any other inquiry in order to corroborate his conclusion. There is no incriminating evidence to show that the assessee has sold the flats at a higher rate.
30. In our understanding of the facts, the impounded loose sheet can at the most be termed as “dumb document” which did not contain full details about the dates, and its contents were not corroborated by any material and could not relied upon and made the basis of addition.
31. In the case of CIT vs. Kulwant Rai 291 ITR 36 the ruling given in the case of Dhakeswari Cotton Mills Ltd. 26 ITR 775 by the Hon’ble Supreme Court has been relied upon wherein the Hon’ble Supreme Court has held “ even though Income Tax Authorities including the Assessing Officer has unfettered discretion and not strictly bound by the rules and pleadings as well as materials on record and is legitimately entitled to act on the material which may not be accepted as evidence, nevertheless such discretion does not entitle them to make a pure guess and base an assessment entirely upon it without reference to any material or evidence at all”.
32. Considering the facts of the case in hand in totality and in the light of the judicial decisions referred to hereinabove, we do not find any merit in the impugned additions. We, therefore, set aside the findings of the ld. CIT(A) and direct the A.O. to delete the addition of Rs. 32.56 crores.
33. In the result, the appeal filed by the Assessee is accordingly allowed.