High Court Of Gujarat
Anilkumar D. Gajjar vs. CIT
C.K. Thakker & Rajesh Balia, JJ.
Special Civil Appln. 5357 of 1987
30th March, 1995
D.U. Shah, for the Appellant : Thakore, for the Respondent
C.K. THAKKER, J.
This petition is filed by the petitioner for directing the respondent-authorities to pay interest of Rs. 1,734 to the petitioner for wrongful retention and delayed payment of Rs. 7,750. It is the case of the petitioner that on 7th Jan., 1982, the residential premises of the petitioner were searched by the authorities in the exercise of the power under s. 132 of the IT Act, 1961 (“the Act”). The raiding party seized cash amount of Rs. 51,000. On 15th March, 1984, the ITO, Central Circle, Rajkot, passed an order releasing an amount of Rs. 43,250 but retained Rs. 7,750. An assessment order was passed on 15th March, 1984, wherein it was observed by the ITO that the petitioner had failed to explain an amount of Rs. 16,474 in connection with two cash entries of Rs. 1,474 and Rs. 15,000, respectively, in the account of Asha Industries and Esvi Industries, respectively, in which the petitioner was a partner. The said amount was, therefore, added and the petitioner was held liable to pay tax of Rs. 4,950. According to the petitioner, the said amount was tax liability of the firm, Vina Engineering Works, Rajkot, in which the petitioner was a partner and the amount was paid. In fact, the second respondent in appeal reduced the amount of Rs. 16,474 by an order dt. 1st Aug., 1986. The petitioner, therefore, intimated the Department and contended that an amount of Rs. 7,750 was required to be released immediately. On 20th Sept., 1986, a letter was addressed by the petitioner to the CIT (Central), Central Range II, Ahmedabad, respondent No. 1 herein to release the amount. On 30th Sept., 1986, the first respondent addressed a letter to the petitioner (Annexure “E”) stating that the necessary directions had already been issued to the ITO to release Rs. 7,750. By a communication dt. 13th Oct., 1986, respondent No. 2 sent a cheque of Rs. 7,750 to the petitioner. According to the petitioner, he was entitled to interest in accordance with the provisions of s. 132B(4)(a) and (b), r/w ss. 240 and 243, of the Act as the amount was retained by the Department. Since the amount was paid but the interest was not paid, he wrote a letter on 27th Oct., 1986, claiming interest of Rs. 1,734. The said letter was received by the Department but the first respondent asked the petitioner to contact the second respondent. The petitioner, therefore, wrote a letter to the second respondent also for awarding interest, but there was no reply. On 28th Feb., 1987, the petitioner addressed a letter to the Chairman, CBDT, IT Department, New Delhi, for non-payment of interest. But the Chairman also did not reply. In these circumstances, the petitioner was constrained to approach this Court. Initially, notice was issued and thereafter the matter was admitted.
2. Today the matter was called out for final hearing. Mr. D.U. Shah, learned counsel for the petitioner, submitted that it is no doubt true that the Department has paid an amount of Rs. 7,750 to which the petitioner was entitled. He, however, submitted that the petitioner is entitled to interest in accordance with the provisions of s. 132B(4). The relevant part of s. 132B reads as under : “Application of retained assets.â(1) The assets retained under sub-s. (5) of s. 132 may be dealt with in the following manner, namely :â…… (4)(a) The Central Government shall pay simple interest at the rate of twelve per cent per annum on the amount by which the aggregate of money retained under s. 132 and of the proceeds, if any, of the assets sold towards the discharge of the existing liability referred to in cl. (iii) of sub-s. (5) of that section exceeds the aggregate of the amounts required to meet the liabilities referred to in cl. (i) of sub-s. (1) of this section. (b) Such interest shall run from the date immediately following the expiry
of the period of six months from the date of the order under sub-s. (5) of s. 132 to the date of the regular assessment or reassessment referred to in cl. (i) of sub-s. (1) or, as the case may be, to the date of the last of such assessments or reassessments.”
Mr. Shah submitted that the petitioner is also entitled to interest on delayed refunds in accordance with s. 243. Counsel stated that it is an admitted fact that the petitioner was entitled to refund of the sum of Rs. 7,750. The respondent authorities were satisfied and accordingly an order was passed and the amount was paid. But the respondents have committed an illegality in not awarding interest to him. Mr. Thakore, learned counsel for the Revenue, could not point out anything from which it can be said that the petitioner was not entitled to interest in accordance with the provisions of s. 132B(4) r/w s. 243. Since the petitioner is entitled to interest and as it is not paid, the petition requires to be allowed by directing the respondent-authorities to pay the interest to the petitioner according to law.
In our opinion, Mr. Shah is also right in contending that even after various requests and repeated communications, the petitioner is deprived of this legitimate claim of interest and was obliged to approach this Court. He, therefore, submitted that the petitioner may be awarded interest at the rate of 15 per cent from the date of filing of the petition.
In the result, this petition is allowed. It is directed that the respondent-authorities will pay interest to the petitioner for retention of an amount of Rs. 7,750 and for delayed refund in accordance with law. It is further directed that the authorities will pay interest at the rate of 15 per cent on the above amount from the date of filing of the petition, i.e., from 12th Aug., 1983, till the date of payment. The Department will also pay costs to the petitioner which is quantified at Rs. 1,500. Rule is made absolute to the above extent.
[Citation:220 ITR 470]