The assessee set up a 100% EOU in AY 1988-89. For want of profits it did not claim benefits u/s 10B in AYs 1988-89 to 1990-91. From AY 1992-93 it claimed the said benefits for a connective period of 5 years. In AY 1994-95, the assessee computed the profits of the EOU without adjusting the brought forward unabsorbed depreciation of AY 1988-89. It claimed that as s. 10B conferred “exemption” for the profits of the EOU, the said brought forward depreciation could not be set-off from the profits of the EOU but was available to be set-off against income from other sources. It was also claimed that the profits had to be computed on a “commercial” basis. The AO accepted the claim though the CIT revised his order u/s 263 and directed that the exemption be computed after set-off. On appeal by the assessee, the Tribunal reversed the CIT. On appeal by the department, the High Court (CIT vs. Himatasingike Seide Ltd 286 ITR 255 (Kar)) reversed the Tribunal and held that the brought forward depreciation had to be adjusted against the profits of the EOU before computing the exemption allowable u/s 10B. On appeal by the assessee to the Supreme Court HELD dismissing the appeal:
Having perused the records and in view of the facts and circumstances of the case, we are of the opinion that the Civil Appeal being devoid of any merit deserves to be dismissed and is dismissed accordingly
Note: S. 10A/10B(6) as amended by the FA 2003 w.r.e.f. 1.4.2001 provides that depreciation and business loss of the eligible unit relating to the AY 2001-02 & onwards is eligible for set-off & carry forward for set-off against income post tax holiday. Also, consider the impact on Yokogawa India Ltd 341 ITR 385 (Kar) where it was held that even after s. 10A/10B were converted into a “deduction” provision w.e.f 1.4.2001, the benefit of relief u/s 10A/10B is in the nature of “exemption” with reference to “commercial profits” and that as the income of the s. 10A unit has to be excluded at source itself before arriving at the gross total income, the question of setting off the loss of the current year’s or the brought forward business loss (and unabsorbed depreciation) against the s. 10A profits does not arise.