Introduction: In the recent case between Guard India Secure Services Pvt Ltd and the Union of India, the Karnataka High Court gave a significant ruling. The petitioner had filed a writ of certiorari, seeking the quashing of a recovery notice issued by the respondent, which led to the freezing of the petitioner’s bank account. The court directed the defreezing of the bank account upon the furnishing of security by the petitioner.
Analysis: The petitioner contended that they had been cooperating with the enquiry proceedings, and the freezing of their account was causing serious prejudice. The respondent justified the freezing as a protective measure for the interest of the revenue, even prior to the adjudication.
The tentative amount payable by the petitioner, as per the statement of objections, was about Rs.4,66,275/-. This was subjected to further proceedings for adjudication and quantification. During the pendency of the matter, the petitioner appeared before the respondent for reconciliation of the payment challans.
The court, upon noting that the approximate potential demand that would be raised during further proceedings would be Rs.4,66,275/-, directed the petitioner to furnish security within a week. Upon doing so, the bank account would be defreezed.
Conclusion: This case highlights the court’s role in maintaining a balance between the need to protect revenue interests and ensure that the rights and business operations of the petitioner are not unduly hampered. The decision reaffirms the principle that revenue authorities, while vested with the power to protect revenue interests, must do so without causing undue hardship to the assessees. The court’s decision to defreeze the account on furnishing of security ensures that the process of adjudication can continue without causing undue harm to the business operations of the petitioner.
FULL TEXT OF THE JUDGMENT/ORDER OF KARNATAKA HIGH COURT
Petitioner has sought for issuance of writ of certiorari to quash the recovery of notice issued by respondent No.3.
2. During the course of hearing, learned counsel for petitioner submits that grievance of the petitioner for the present is only as regards the freezing of the bank account by the respondent – Authorities as per the order at Annexure-B. He further submits that the petitioner has been co-operating with the enquiry proceedings before the respondent – Authorities and that the blanket debit freezing of his account is causing serious prejudice.
3. Sri. Jeevan J. Neeralgi, learned counsel for the respondents 3 and 4 submits that the amount is yet to be quantified and accordingly, the department in exercise of power is authorized, even prior to adjudication, to protect the interest of the revenue to resort to attachment of bank account.
4. Statement of objections has been filed by the It is seen from the table at Page No.9 of the statement of objections that the amount yet to be payable by the petitioner is about Rs.4,66,275/-, which according to the learned counsel for Revenue is tentative as the proceedings for adjudication and quantification are still to be concluded.
5. The Table at Paragraph No.9 of the Statement of objections is extracted as hereunder:
ST payable on a/c of difference in value of services b/n P & L Ac and ST-3 (as per Res 4’s ITR dt 23.3.18)
|Short payment towards interest as per Res 4’s ITR dt 23.3.18||Total
liability as per Res 4’s ITR dt 23.3.18 (sum of Column 1 & 2)
|Amount claimed to have been paid by the petitioner||Amount yet to be payable by the petitioner wrt Res 4’s ITR dt 23.3.18|
6. During the pendency of the matter, petitioner was directed to appear before the respondent – Authorities for reconciliation of the payment challans. The statement of objections has been filed after the petitioner had marked his presence before the respondent – Authorities. It is also stated that the process of reconciliation is at an advanced stage. Taking note of the submissions of the learned counsel for the petitioner that the present petition may be confined insofar as grievance of the petitioner relating to attachment of bank account, while keeping open other contentions, petition could be disposed off upon terms.
7. Taking note that the amount of Rs.4,66,275/- which is an approximate potential demand that would be raised during the further proceedings, petitioner is directed to furnish security to the satisfaction of respondent No.3. Such security to be furnished within a period of one week from today. Consequently, the attachment of SBI Bank account bearing No. 62333234860 (Current Account) is to be defreezed. Needless to state that the order of defreeze would come into effect immediately upon furnishing of security as ordered above. All contentions of both sides are kept open. It is clarified that the observations made herein are only for the limited purpose of disposing off the petition and will not amount to conclusive finding which would be binding in other proceedings.
8. Accordingly, petition is disposed off.