Section 133C is inserted vide Finance (No. 2) Act, 2014 to enable the prescribed Income tax authority to verify the information in its possession relating to any person. The said authority, may, issue a notice to such person requiring him, on or before a date specified therein, to furnish information or documents, verified in the manner specified therein which may be useful for, or relevant to, any enquiry or proceeding under the Act.
Section 133(6) of the Act gives identical power to the authorities for seeking information etc relevant to any enquiry or proceedings. Where no proceedings are pending, information can be sought withthe approval of a higher authority. The existing section 133(6) thus gives power to the authorities for seeking information etc but with sufficient safeguards.
Section 133C seeks to grant the same power of enquiry etc to any Income-tax authority without seeking any sanction or approval from a higher authority. This provision will provide unbridled powers in the hands of the authorities with probability of abuse.
It is suggested that:
a) Section 133C may be reconsidered, or
b) Section 133C must be preceded by a satisfaction,
c) This section may be amended to require approval of a higher authority and recording of satisfaction, before invoking the power, and
d) The assessee should not be required to attend office of the Assessing Officer in person and should be permitted to file the information by post/electronic form.