High Court Of Delhi
Maruti Udyog Ltd. vs. Additional Commissioner Of Income Tax
Asst. Year 2000-01
D.K. Jain & Madan B. Lokur, JJ.
Civil Writ Petn. No. 6412 of 2003 & Civil Misc. No. 11213 of 2003
30th September, 2003
P. Chidambaram with C.S. Agarwal & Arjun Pant, for the Petitioner : Sanjeev Khanna with Subhash C. Sharma, for the Respondent
BY THE COURT :
An order dt. 24th Sept., 2003, passed by the Addl. CIT, Range 6, New Delhi, directing the petitioner to deposit the additional rectified demand of Rs. 138.02 crores in respect of the asst. yr. 2000-2001, within the specified time, is under challenge in this writ petition.
2. Briefly stated, the material facts giving rise to the petition are as follows : On the completion of assessment for the aforementioned assessment year, an additional demand of Rs. 134 crores was created against the petitioner on account of certain additions/disallowances, mainly under ss. 43B, 80-IA and 80HHC of the IT Act, 1961. The said demand was later on rectified to Rs. 138.02 crores. Aggrieved, the petitioner preferred appeal to the CIT(A). Simultaneously, the petitioner moved an application with the AO for stay of recovery of the said demand till the disposal of appeal. By the impugned order, the AO has directed the petitioner to make an interim payment of Rs.50 crores within seven days of receipt of the said letter and pay the balance amount in six equal monthly instalments, starting from the month of October, 2003. The petitioner has also been informed that any default in payment in terms of the said letter would invite action for recovery as per the procedure prescribed under the Act and the Board circulars.
3. We have heard Mr. Chidambaram, learned senior counsel for the petitioner, and Mr. Sanjiv Khanna, learned senior standing counsel for the Revenue, who has put in appearance on advance notice.
4. Assailing the order passed by the AO, Mr. Chidambaram has submitted that in view of the regular method of accounting adopted by the petitioner for the last many years, the main disallowance made by the AO under s. 43B of the Act is unsustainable and, therefore, the petitioner should not be asked to deposit the demand as a precondition for stay. It is also pointed out that in respect of the asst. yr. 1999-2000, wherein on almost similar issues, an additional demand of approximately Rs. 551 crores was created, which was subsequently reduced to approximately Rs. 405 crores on account of the appeal effect, the petitioner was required to pay only a sum of approximately Rs. 110 crores by the CIT and in the petitioner’s stay application before the Tribunal, it was required to pay only an additional sum of Rs. 30 crores. Learned counsel would also urge that the amount deposited against the disputed demand in respect of the immediately preceding assessment year works out to less than 25 per cent of the demand in dispute.
5. Mr. Sanjiv Khanna, on the other hand, submits that having regard to the fact that the rectified additional demand against the petitioner is to the tune of Rs. 138 crores, the direction to pay the aforenoted amount in instalments cannot be said to be unreasonable.
6. Having heard learned counsel for the parties and bearing in mind the fact that in the immediately preceding assessment year on an almost similar set of facts, the petitioner was directed to deposit only a sum of Rs. 140 crores against a demand of approximately Rs. 405 crores, we feel that the impugned direction by the AO to the petitioner to pay the whole of the amount in dispute as a pre-condition for stay of recovery of the demand, at a stage when the first appeal is pending, cannot be said to be reasonable.
Accordingly, we direct that on the petitioner’s depositing with the IT Department a sum of Rs. 25 crores on or before 15th Oct., 2003, and a further sum of Rs. 15 crores on or before 15th Nov., 2003, the respondent shall not take any coercive steps for the recovery of the balance demand in dispute till the petitioner’s appeal is decided by the CIT(A).
At this juncture, Mr. Chidambaram also prays that the Tribunal should be directed to dispose of the petitioner’s appeal for the asst. yr. 1999-2000, which is stated to be now listed for 22nd Oct., 2003, expeditiously. It is alleged that the IT Department is time and again seeking adjournment in the said appeal, with the result that its disposal is being delayed. Having regard to the fact that the issues arising for consideration of the Tribunal have recurring effect, we hope and trust that the learned Tribunal shall try to dispose of the appeal, pending before it, as expeditiously as practicable and unnecessary adjournments shall be avoided.
The petition stands disposed of in the above terms.
[Citation : 264 ITR 487]