S. 244A: The department is not obliged to pay interest on interest as that is not provided in the law. Sandvik Asia 280 ITR 643 (SC) awarded compensation for inordinate delay on its facts
In Sandvik Asia 280 ITR 643 (SC) the Supreme Court held that if the department delays paying interest on the refunded amount, the assessee is entitled to interest on interest. Subsequently, in CIT vs. Gujarat Flouro Chemicals, a view was expressed that Sandvik Asia 280 ITR 643 (SC) did not lay down the correct law and ought to be reconsidered. The matter was referred to a larger Bench. HELD by the larger Bench:
The judgment in Sandvik Asia 280 ITR 643 (SC) has been misquoted and misinterpreted by the assessees and also by the Revenue. Their view that in Sandvik case this Court had directed the Revenue to pay interest on the statutory interest in case of delay in the payment and that the Revenue is obliged to pay an interest on interest in the event of its failure to refund the interest payable within the statutory period is not correct. In Sandvik Asia, the Court was considering the issue whether an assessee who is made to wait for refund of interest for decades be compensated for the great prejudice caused to it due to the delay in its payment after the lapse of statutory period. In the facts of that case, this Court came to the conclusion that there was an inordinate delay on the part of the Revenue in refunding certain amount which included the statutory interest and therefore, directed the Revenue to pay compensation for the same but not an interest on interest. S. 244A provides for interest on refunds under various contingencies. It is clarified that it is only that interest provided for under the statute which may be claimed by an assessee from the Revenue and no other interest on such statutory interest.