1. By way of these stay applications, the assessee applicant has sought a stay on collection/ recovery of tax and interest demands aggregating to Rs 1,223.83 crores, in the matter of assessment under section 143(3) of the Income Tax Act, 1961, for the assessment year 2009-10 to 2014-15, and also a stay on adjustment of these demands against refund of Rs 442.22 crores due to the assessee.
2. Heard the parties, perused the records.
3. Many of the related appeals are pending with the Tribunal for last several years- as long as 5-6 years in many cases, and the matters continue to get adjourned for one reason or the other- including many specific requests for adjournments by the assessee. At no stage, any seriousness is shown for expeditious disposal of these appeals. Today, however, the assessee is in this stay petition as the Assessing Officer proposes to adjust refund of Rs 442.22 crores against these pending demands. The assessee has not even approached the Assessing Officer or his supervisory authorities with prayer not to adjust the said refund, and has directly approached us. Neither the conduct of the assessee, nor the approach of the assessee is appropriate. It is only when administrative remedies are exhausted that the assessee should approach a judicial or quasi-judicial forum. In any case, the conduct of the assessee, in not taking reasonable steps to ensure expeditious disposal of these appeals, does not impress us.
4. In this view of the above position we do not consider it appropriate to interfere in the matter at least at this stage. The interim protection, vide our order dated 19th February 2021, also stands vacated. The assessee, however, prays that liberty be granted to him to file the fresh stay applications, as and when required. The assessee has that liberty in any case.
5. In the result, the stay applications are dismissed. Pronounced in the open court today on the 26th day of February, 2021.