Case Law Details

Case Name : CIT Vs Kabul Chawla (Delhi High Court)
Appeal Number : ITA 707/2014
Date of Judgement/Order : 28/08/2015
Related Assessment Year :
Courts : All High Courts (3864) Delhi High Court (1220)

CA Suraj R. Agrawal

Completed assessments can be interfered with by the AO while making the assessment under Section 153 A only on the basis of some incriminating material unearthed during the course of search or requisition of documents or undisclosed income or property discovered in the course of search which were not produced or not already disclosed or made known in the course of original assessment.

Facts of the case:

  1. A search was carried out under Section 132 of the Act on 15th November 2007 on BPTP Ltd., a leading real estate developer operating all over India and mainly in the National Capital region and some of its group companies. A search was on the same date carried out in the premises of the Assessee who along with his wife Mrs. Anjali Chawla owned and controlled the group. As on the date of the search, no assessment proceedings were pending for AYs 2002-03, 2005-06 and 2006-07. For the said AYs, assessments had already been made under Section 143(1) of the Act.
  2. Pursuant to the search a notice under Section 153A (1) of the Act was issued to the Assessee on 3rd September 2008. Pursuant to the said notice, the Assessee filed returns for the three AYs on 19th January 2009. For AY 2002-03, the Assessee declared a total income of Rs.12,42,740. The assessment was finally completed by the Assessing Officer (AO) on the total income of Rs.68,31,740 which, inter alia, included an addition of Rs. 50 lakhs on account of a gift received by the Assessee from Mrs. Gianna Fissore, Rs. 2 lakhs on account of low house withdrawals and Rs. 37,162 on account of deemed dividend under Section 2 (22) (e) of the Act. For AY 2005-06, the income was assessed at Rs. 82,51,126 which, inter alia, included an addition of Rs. 2 lakhs on account of low house withdrawals and Rs. 62,70,496 on account of deemed dividend under Section 2 (22) (e) of the Act corresponding to the additions made on protective basis in the hands of Business Park Overseas Pvt. Ltd. (BPOPL), Countrywide Promoters and Developers Pvt. Ltd. (CPDPL) and Poonam Promoters and Developers Pvt. Ltd. (PPDPL), in which companies the Assessee was a substantial shareholder. For the AY 2006-07, the income was assessed at Rs. 1,35,87,112 which, inter alia, included two additions of Rs. 12,77,193 and Rs. 90,26,389 on account of deemed dividend under Section 2 (22) (e) of the Act corresponding to the additions made on protective basis in the hands of Shalimar Town Planners Pvt. Ltd. (STTPL) and on a substantive basis in the hands of other companies of the BPTP Group in which the Assessee was a substantial shareholder.
  3. The Assessee filed an application under Section 154 of the Act seeking rectification of the assessments on the ground that the accumulated profits of the companies paying the dividend were less than the amount of loan or advance given by them to the recipient companies. Negativing the contention, the Assessing Officer (‘AO.) decline to rectify the assessments.

Issue put before ITAT Chennai:

The issue that the Court proposes to address in these appeals is the same that was considered by the ITAT viz., ‘Whether the additions made to the income of the Respondent Assessee for the said AYs under Section 2(22) (e) of the Income Tax Act, 1961 (‘Act’) were not sustainable because no incriminating material concerning such additions were found during the course of search and further no assessments for such years were pending on the date of search?’

Ruling of Honorable ITAT Chennai:

  • Once a search takes place under Section 132 of the Act, notice under Section 153 A (1) will have to be mandatorily issued to the person searched requiring him to file returns for six AYs immediately preceding the previous year relevant to the AY in which the search takes place.
  • Assessments and reassessments pending on the date of the search shall abate. The total income for such AYs will have to be computed by the AOs as a fresh exercise.
  • The AO will exercise normal assessment powers in respect of the six years previous to the relevant AY in which the search takes place. The AO has the power to assess and reassess the ‘total income’ of the aforementioned six years in separate assessment orders for each of the six years. In other words there will be only one assessment order in respect of each of the six AYs “in which both the disclosed and the undisclosed income would be brought to tax”.
  • Although Section 153 A does not say that additions should be strictly made on the basis of evidence found in the course of the search, or other post-search material or information available with the AO which can be related to the evidence found, it does not mean that the assessment “can be arbitrary or made without any relevance or nexus with the seized material. Obviously an assessment has to be made under this Section only on the basis of seized material.”
  • In absence of any incriminating material, the completed assessment can be reiterated and the abated assessment or reassessment can be made. The word ‘assess’ in Section 153 A is relatable to abated proceedings (i.e. those pending on the date of search) and the word ‘reassess’ to completed assessment proceedings.
  • Insofar as pending assessments are concerned, the jurisdiction to make the original assessment and the assessment under Section 153A merges into one. Only one assessment shall be made separately for each AY on the basis of the findings of the search and any other material existing or brought on the record of the AO. vii. Completed assessments can be interfered with by the AO while making the assessment under Section 153 A only on the basis of some incriminating material unearthed during the course of search or requisition of documents or undisclosed income or property discovered in the course of search which were not produced or not already disclosed or made known in the course of original assessment.

Conclusion

  • The present appeals concern AYs, 2002-03, 2005-06 and 2006-07.On the date of the search the said assessments already stood completed. Since no incriminating material was unearthed during the search, no additions could have been made to the income already assessed.
  • The question framed by the Court is answered in favour of the Assessee and against the Revenue.
  • The appeals are accordingly dismissed but in the circumstances no orders as to costs.
(Author can be reached at  CASurajRA@icai.org)
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