High Court Of Madras
G. Venkateswaran vs. CIT
Asst. Year 1985-86
Mrs. T. Meenakumari, J.
Writ Petn. No. 18501 of 1991
19th November, 1998
Mrs. Prabha Sridevan, for the Petitioner : Mrs. Kala Ramesh for C.V. Rajan, for the Respondent
Mrs. T. MeenaKumari, J. :
This writ petition is filed to issue a writ of certiorarified mandamus calling for the records of the respondent in No. C. No. 1543(2-A)/1/1989-90 CENT-1, dt. 15th May, 1990, and quash the same and direct the respondent to consider the case of the petitioner under s. 273A(4) of the IT Act.
2. The case of the petitioner is that the petitioner is an assessee under the IT Act in File No. 47/068-PV-3811 of Central Circle I(1), Madras. The petitioner has filed a return showing a loss of Rs. 70,829 for the asst. yr. 1985-86. When the assessment proceedings were taken by the ITO, the officer held that the gifts received by the petitioner totalling to Rs. 1,27,48,325 cannot be accepted by the Department as there were number of contradictory statements by donors. Further, the petitioner has filed a revised return offering the entire gift totalling to Rs. 1,27,48,325 as taxable income. The petitioner had also paid the taxes in full. It has also been pointed out that the revised return has been filed with a view to co-operate with the Department and settle the matter amicably. The petitioner is under the impression that the penalty leviable would be waived if the taxes are paid. A penalty of Rs. 1 crore has been levied under s. 27(1)(c) of the IT Act. An appeal has been preferred before the CIT(A) which was pending at the time of proceedings. The petitioner applied to the CIT for waiver of penalty on 19th Oct., 1989, under s. 273A of the IT Act, 1961, and he contended as follows : (a) The petitioner had produced number of evidence in support of the gifts. (b) The petitioner had at the start made clear his intention to treat the amount as gifts both to the then CIT Tamilnadu-IV, and the Dy. Director of Inspection (Investigation) and there was no attempt of concealment right from the beginning. (c) He withdrew the claim only after discussions with the CIT and the ITO. (d) The petitioner had clearly stated in his letter that he was making this revised return mainly with the view to cooperate with the Department. (e) The major portion of the sum treated as gift was utilised forpaying income-tax . (f) The petitioner had promptly paid additional demand of Rs. 20,94,667 raised on completion of the assessment. (g) The petitioner has extended total co-operation to the Department in settling this matter amicably.
It has been argued on behalf of the petitioner that all the conditions set out under s. 273A for waiver of penalty had been satisfied. There is no property in the name of the assessee to pay off the huge arrears. His net wealth according to the WT return is of Rs. 40,70,757. It has been also been argued that if the amount of penalty was not waived, it would cause genuine hardship to the petitioner. The respondent has passed an order on P. 1543 (2-A)/1/1989-90 CENT. I, dt. 15th May, 1990, stating that the petitioner filed a revised return on 30th Nov., 1987, only after certain statements from the donors were made available to him and the petitioner was not correct in stating that the gifts in question were offered as income to co-operate with the Department and it was only after the Department had proved that the contention of the assessee with regard to the gifts was false, and the petitioner disclosed the amounts as income in the revised returns and the revised returns have been filed in two stages and this could not be called as co-operating with the Department. In the impugned order it has been stated that the conditions for applicability of subss. (1) and (4) of s. 273A were not fulfilled. Thereby the request for waiver of penalty and interest is rejected by the respondent. Aggrieved by the said order, the present writ petitioner has been filed. It has been argued by the counsel for the petitioner that the petitioner herein has filed a revised return offering the entire gift totalling to Rs. 1,27,48,325 as taxable income and the total tax has been paid with a view to co-operate with the Department and the revised return has been filed with the genuine desire and the petitioner has no mala fide intention to conceal the income. She has further argued that the respondent has not applied his mind to find out whether any prejudice is caused to the petitioner, if the amount of penalty was not waived and whether it would cause genuine hardship to the petitioner herein. She has further argued that the penalty of Rs. 1 crore levied is very excessive and arbitrary. The learned counsel for the respondent has argued that the order passed by the respondent herein is legal and valid and as the petitioner has filed the revised return after the assessment is over, is shows that there was an intention on the part of the petitioner to conceal the gifts. A reading of the s. 273A(4) of the IT Act reads as follows : Without prejudice to the powers conferred on him by any other provision of this Act, the CIT may, on an application made in this behalf by an assessee, and after-recording his reasons for so doing, reduce or waive the amount of any penalty payable by the assessee under this Act or stay or compound any proceeding for the recovery of any such amount, if he is satisfied that : (i) to do otherwise would cause genuine hardship to the assessee, having regard to the circumstances of the case; and (ii) the assessee has co- operated in any inquiry relating to the assessment or any proceeding for the recovery of any amount due from him : According to sub-s. (4) of s. 273A, if an application is made by an assessee, the CIT has got the power to reduce or waive the amount of penalty payable by the assessee as he is satisfied that genuine hardship is caused to the assessee and the assessee has co-operated in the inquiry relating to the assessment of any proceeding for the recovery of any amount due from him. The fact remains in this case is that the assessee has filed a revised return showing the gift, totalling to Rs. 1,27,48,325 as taxable income and he has paid the tax in full.
The case of the petitioner is that the tax has been paid with a view to co-operate with the Department. The learned counsel for the petitioner has relied upon a judgment City Dry-Fish Co. vs. CIT & Anr. (1990) 186 ITR 9 (AP) : TC 49R.1043 wherein the Division Bench of the Honâble Andhra Pradesh High Court has held that the concealment of income in original return is not relevant and the assessing authority has to see whether theassessee has co-operated with the Department. The Bench has further held as follows : “Two conditions must be satisfied for exercise of the power of the CIT to reduce or waive penalty under s. 273A(4) of the IT Act, 1961. The first condition is that non-exercise of the power would cause genuine hardship to the assessee having regard to the circumstances of the case, while the second condition is that the assessee should have co-operated in any enquiry relating to the assessment or any proceedings for the recovery of any amount due from him. The power could be exercised by the CIT irrespective of the assessee pursuing the remedies of appeal to the AAC or the Tribunal with or without success. Filing of a return is an act of the assessee and enquiry into the correctness of the return is made under s. 142 of the Act. The question of disclosure of the correct income in the return is relevant for the purpose of levying penalty and not for the purpose of waiver or reduction of penalty. The expression “full and true disclosure” is not incorporated in sub-s. (4) of s. 273A of the Act. The disclosure of true income need not be made in the initial return, but can be made in the revised return and on that ground, it cannot be said that the assessee has not co-operated in the enquiry relating to the assessment.” In the above judgment, a number of judgments have been relied upon: (1) Dr. Paramjit Singh Grewal vs. CIT (1980) 18 CTR (P&H) 98 : (1980) 125 ITR 549 (P&H) : TC 49R.988. (2) Mahavir Transport Co. Ltd. vs. CIT 1978 CTR (Guj) 391 : (1978) 113 ITR 360 (Guj) : TC 49R.1030 (3) Radhey Shyam Chandrika Prasad vs. CIT (1983) 139 ITR 274 (All) : TC 49R.1023
It has been held in (1983) 139 ITR 274 (All) : TC 49R.1023 (supra), judgment which arose from the Allahabad High Court that the disclosure of true and full income need not be made in the initial stage, but can be made in the revised return and it cannot be said that the assessee was not cooperative in the enquiry relating to assessment. In Mahalakshmi Rice Mills vs. CIT (1980) 19 CTR (Kar) 177 : (1981) 129 ITR 53 (Kar) : TC 49R.1063, the Karnataka High Court has held that once the disclosure made under the 1976 Act was rejected as barred by time, the CIT was not justified in making use of the material therein to deny the co-operation extended to the ITO in completing the assessment after the revised returns were filed, that there was no evidence to show that theassessee did not co-operate with the ITO in completing the assessment because the assessee did not resort to litigation and obstruction or evasive tactics in concluding the assessment. It is further held that the expression “co-operation” in any enquiry relating to the assessment under s. 273A should be held to mean that the assessee did not resort to litigation, obstruction or evasive tactics in concluding the assessment. In the above case, the order of the CIT was quashed and he was directed to pass fresh orders on the application of the assessee under s. 273A for the relevant assessment years. Relying upon the above judgment, it could be said that in the present case also, there was no evidence to show that the assessee did not co-operate with the ITO in completing the assessment either by resorting to litigation and obstruction or by evasive tactics in completing the assessment. It also has to be seen that the CIT has brushed aside the various relevant and germane submissions put forward by the petitioner-assessee in support of his plea that non-exercise of power under s. 273A(4) of the Act would result in genuine hardship to the assessee. In view of the above, it could be said that the CIT has failed to exercise his power under s. 273A(4) of the Act. Relying upon the above judgments, the impugned order passed by the respondent is quashed and a direction shall however be issued to the respondent to dispose of the application of the petitioner filed under s. 273A(4) of the Act, afresh, in accordance with law and in the light of the observations made, within two months from the date of receipt of copy of this order.
5. With the above observations, the writ petition is allowed. But MVP Nos. 29153/90, 24396/91, 10870/93, 19222/94, 7423/95, 16433 and 16434 are dismissed.
[Citation : 248 ITR 735]