Brief of the Case
Delhi High Court held in the case of CIT v Smt. Priyanka Singhania that if the search warrant was issued in the name of the father of Assessee, then the proceedings of the search and seizure against the assessee was totally void and bad in Law.
Facts of the Case
In the present facts of the case the search warrants were issued under Section 132 of the Act against the father of the Assessee. During the course of the search, certain keys of bank lockers were found in the said residential premises. One of the keys pertained to particular locker which was in the name of Assessee. On 7th July 2006, the Department in the presence of both Assessee and her father opened the said locker and drew up a panchnama¸ It was stated in the panchnama that “locker found vacant/empty”.
Question of Law
Whether any proceeding could have been initiated against the Assessee under Section 153A of the Act, without there being a search warrant in her name issued in terms of Section 132 read with Rule 112 of the Income Tax Rules 1962 and Form 45 thereof?
Held by the Hon’ble Hgh Court
The Hon’ble High Court observed that the issue of “non-issuance” of warrant to the assessee was raised by the Assesese before the ld. CIT(A) as well as the Hon’ble Tribunal.
The Hon’ble High Court further observed that the Revenue had produced a copy of the panchnama drawn on 7th July 2006 and not the warrant of search, if any issued in the name of the Respondent. Therefore, the Hon’ble High Court observed that there was no search warrant issued in the name of the Respondent. Also, it was evident from Rule 112 read with Form 45 that the search warrant has to be issued in the name of the person gainst whom proceedings have to be made. The search warrant will also have to indicate the place of search. The documents placed on record by the Assessee shows that while there was search warrant in the name of the father of the Assessee, there was no separate search warrant in the name of the Assessee. The panchnama dated 7th July 2006 was in continuation of the earlier search proceedings which took place on 23rd June 2006. The search proceedings on 23rd June 2006 was on the basis of the search warrant issued in the name of the father of the Assessee. The Revenue was unable to produce any record to show that there was any search warrant issued in the name of the Respondent. The Hon’ble High Court held that if the Revenue wanted to proceed against the Assessee, it ought to have issued a separate search warrant in her name, specifying the place of search. Also, it was observed by the Hon’ble high Court that it is another matter that if anything incriminating had been found against the Respondent when the locker was opened on 7th July 2006, the proceedings could have been initiated against her under Section 153C of the Act. However, there was no occasion in the present case to do so since nothing was found in the locker. Therefore, the Hon’ble High Court held that proceedings under Section 153A against the Assessee was without the authority of law.