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From the Courts »
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Fast Booking (I) Pvt. Ltd Vs. Dy. Commissioner Of Income Tax -11(1)
October, 15th 2015
$~
*       IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI
10-13
+                                 ITA 334/2015
        FAST BOOKING (I) PVT. LTD.                             ..... Appellant
                                  Through: Mr. Ved Jain, Advocate with
                                  Mr. Pranjal Srivastava, Advocate.

                                  versus

        DY. COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX -11(1)..... Respondent
                     Through: Ms. Suruchi Aggarwal, Senior Standing
                     counsel with Ms. Lakshmi Gurung, Junior
                     Standing counsel.

                                  With
                                  ITA 338/2015
        FAST BOOKING (I) PVT. LTD.                             ..... Appellant
                                  Through: Mr. Ved Jain, Advocate with
                                  Mr. Pranjal Srivastava, Advocate.

                                  versus

        DY. COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX -11(1)..... Respondent
                     Through: Ms. Suruchi Aggarwal, Senior Standing
                     counsel with Ms. Lakshmi Gurung, Junior
                     Standing counsel.

                                  With
                                  ITA 339/2015
        FAST BOOKING (I) PVT. LTD.                             ..... Appellant
                                  Through: Mr. Ved Jain, Advocate with
                                  Mr. Pranjal Srivastava, Advocate.



ITA Nos.334, 338,339 & 342/2015                                          Page 1 of 9
                                  versus

       DY. COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX -11(1)..... Respondent
                    Through: Ms. Suruchi Aggarwal, Senior Standing
                    counsel with Ms. Lakshmi Gurung, Junior
                    Standing counsel.

                                  And
                                  ITA 342/2015
       FAST BOOKING (I) PVT LTD                                ..... Appellant
                                  Through: Mr. Ved Jain, Advocate with
                                  Mr. Pranjal Srivastava, Advocate.

                                  versus

       DY. COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX -11(1)..... Respondent
                     Through: Ms. Suruchi Aggarwal, Senior Standing
                     counsel with Ms. Lakshmi Gurung, Junior
                     Standing counsel.
       CORAM:
       HON'BLE DR. JUSTICE S.MURALIDHAR
       HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE VIBHU BAKHRU
                     ORDER
       %             02.09.2015

CM APPL No. 9115 of 2015(for exemption) in ITA 334 of 2015
CM APPL No. 9226 of 2015(for exemption) in ITA 338 of 2015
CM APPL No. 9227 of 2015(for exemption) in ITA 339 of 2015

1. Allowed, subject to all just exceptions.


2. The applications are disposed of.




ITA Nos.334, 338,339 & 342/2015                                          Page 2 of 9
ITA Nos. 334 of 2015, 338 of 2015, 339 of 2015 and 342 of 2015
3. These four appeals by the Appellant Assessee are directed against the
impugned common order dated 10th December 2014 of the Income Tax
Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) to the extent that the ITAT has declined to
examine the Assessees Cross Objection Nos. 125/Del/2013 and
145/Del/2013 for the Assessment Years (,,AYs) 2009-10 and 2008-09
respectively.


4. Admit.


5. The following question is framed:
         "Whether the ITAT was correct in law in not examining the
         Assessee's cross objections?"


6. The background facts are that the Assessee is engaged in the business of
software development and is registered with the Software Technology Park
of India (,,STPI) Noida. The Assessee is a hundred percent export oriented
unit (,,EOU) having been duly approved as such by the Joint Director, STPI,
Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Government of
India.





7. The Appellant Assessee filed its return of income for AYs 2008-09 and
2009-10, declaring nil income and claiming deduction under Section 10B of
the Act in respect of the profit derived from export of computer software.


8. The Assessing Officer (,,AO) in the assessment orders dated 20 th




ITA Nos.334, 338,339 & 342/2015                                    Page 3 of 9
December 2010 and 27th December 2011 for the AYs 2008-09 and 2009-10
respectively disallowed the claim on the ground that certification of the
Assessee as EOU ought to have been by the statutory Board referred to in
the Explanation to Section 10B of the Act and not by the Joint Director.


9. The matter was carried by the Assessee in appeal to the Commissioner of
Income Tax (Appeals) [CIT(A)]. Meanwhile the ITAT, Delhi Bench in the
case of Valiant Communication Ltd. v. DCIT (order dated 23rd April, 2010
in ITA No. 2706/Del/2008), allowed the claim of the Appellant therein
under Section 10B by holding that approval by the Joint Director, STPI was
sufficient to claim the deduction. On the basis of the above decision, the
appeals of the Assessee herein were allowed by the CIT (A) vide order dated
26th October 2012. Since the order of the CIT (A) was in its favour, the
Assessee had no occasion to go before the ITAT. However, the Revenue
filed appeals against the said order before the ITAT.


10. While the Revenue's appeals were pending, the order of the ITAT in
Valiant Communications Ltd. (supra) was carried in appeal before this
Court by the Revenue. The said appeal was considered with a bunch of other
similar cases and in CIT v. Regency Creations Ltd.(2013) 353 ITR
326(Del), this Court held that for the purposes of availing the benefit of
Section 10B of the Act, the certification by the Board was mandatory and
that such exemption could not be granted on the basis of the certificate
issued by the Joint Director.


11. The Respondent Assessees in the above cases, including Valiant



ITA Nos.334, 338,339 & 342/2015                                   Page 4 of 9
Communications Ltd. and Regency Creations Ltd. filed applications before
this Court for clarification that even though they may not be entitled to the
benefit under Section 10B, they should not be denied the benefit under
Section 10A as they satisfied the requirements for availing the benefit under
Section 10A. On these applications, this Court passed the following order on
4th January 2013:
        "Issue notice. Sh. Kiran Babu, Sr. Standing Counsel accepts notice
        on behalf of the Revenue.

        The applicant assessee had succeeded before the Tribunal in the
        contention that it was entitled to the benefit of Section 10B of the
        Income Tax Act. It had urged that the supporting materials disclose
        that there was STP clearance/approval under Sectin 10A and that
        such approval was sufficient to entitle it to the benefit of Section
        10B. But judgment, this Court negatives the plea with regard to the
        approval vis-vis Section 10B and has ruled that separate regime
        exists.

        The applicant contends that the CIT(A) and the Tribunal had, in the
        present case, not gone into the merits of the alternative claim for
        entitlement under Section 10A. This fact is apparent from a reading
        of the order of CIT (A) as well as that of the Tribunal in the order
        impugned. In the circumstances, the Tribunal shall consider the
        relevant documents on the basis of the claims and ascertain whether
        the applicant is entitled to the benefit of Section 10A, as claimed.
        The judgment and order of this Court dated 17.09.2012 is
        accordingly modified; the Tribunal shall proceed to pass appropriate
        orders after hearing both parties."

12. On coming to know of the above order, the Appellant Assessee herein
filed its cross objection before the ITAT in the two pending appeals of the
Revenue against the order of the CIT(A) for AYs 2008-09 and 2009-10.




ITA Nos.334, 338,339 & 342/2015                                   Page 5 of 9
13. In the impugned order, the ITAT relied on the decision of this Court in
Regency Creations Ltd. (supra) and allowed the Revenues appeals. The
ITAT restored the order of the AO disallowing the claim made by the
Assessee under Section 10B of the Act. While taking up the cross-
objections, although the delay in filing was condoned, the ITAT declined to
permit the Assessee to maintain the cross objections by following the
decision of the Coordinate Bench of the ITAT in ITO v. Neetee Clothing
(P)Ltd. [2010] 129 TTJ 342 (ITAT [Del]), on the ground that since the
Assessee had not urged the plea of being entitled to the benefit under
Section 10 A of the Act before the CIT (A), it could not be permitted to urge
such plea for the first time before the ITAT.


14. Having heard the learned counsel for the parties, the Court is of the view
that ITAT was in error in declining to examine the cross objections filed by
the Appellant Assessee. The powers of the ITAT while hearing appeals and
cross objections have been explained by this Court           in CIT v. Edward
Keventer (Successors) Pvt. Ltd. (1980) 123 ITR 200 in the following words:
         "Now, adverting to the rights of the respondent in an appeal,
         we start with the basic idea that, if a party appeals, he is the
         party who comes before the Appellate Tribunal to redress a
         grievance alleged by him. If the other side has a grievance, he
         has a right to file a cross-appeal (and under the Civil
         Procedure Code and the I.T. Act of 1961, a memorandum of
         objections). But, if no such thing is done, he is deemed to be
         satisfied with the decision. He is, therefore, entitled to support
         the judgment of the first officer on any ground but he is not
         entitled to raise a ground which will work adversely to the
         appellant. In fact such a ground may be a totally new ground,
         if it is purely one of law, and does not necessitate the
         recording of any evidence, even though the nature of the



ITA Nos.334, 338,339 & 342/2015                                       Page 6 of 9
         objection may be such that it is not only a defence to the
         appeal itself but goes further and may affect the validity of the
         entire proceedings. But the entertainment of such a ground
         would be subject to the restriction that even if it is accepted, it
         should be given effect to only for the purpose of sustaining
         the order in appeal and dismissing the appeal and cannot be
         made use of, to disturb or to set aside, the order in favour of
         the appellant (See Bamasi v. CIT). This liberty to the
         respondent is reserved by Rule 27 of the Tribunal Rules.

         We have next to consider the powers of the Tribunal while
         disposing of the appeal. Rule 12, earlier referred to, also lays
         down that the Tribunal, in deciding an appeal, is not confined
         to the grounds set forth in the memorandum of appeal or those
         which the appellant may urge with its leave. It can decide the
         appeal on any ground provided only that the affected party
         has an opportunity of being heard on that ground. But it has
         been laid down in a number of cases that this rule does not
         enable the Tribunal to raise a ground, or permit the party who
         has not appealed to raise a ground, which will work adversely
         to the appellant and result in an enhancement."





15. The Supreme Court in NTPC v. CIT(1998) 229 ITR 383 SC has also

explained that the power of the Tribunal in dealing with the appeals under

Section 254 of the Act is " expressed in the widest possible terms". It was

further observed as under:

       "5. .....The purpose of the assessment proceedings before the taxing
       authorities is to assess correctly the tax liability of an assessee in
       accordance with law. If, for example, as a result of a judicial decision
       given while the appeal is pending before the Tribunal, it is found that
       a non-taxable item is taxed or a permissible deduction is denied, we
       do not see any reason why the assessee should be prevented from
       raising that question before the tribunal for the first time, so long as




ITA Nos.334, 338,339 & 342/2015                                        Page 7 of 9
       the relevant facts are on record in respect of that item. We do not see
       any reason to restrict the power of the Tribunal under Section 254
       only to decide the grounds which arise from the order of the
       Commissioner of Income-tax (Appeals). Both the assessee as well as
       the Department have a right to file an appeal/cross-objections before
       the Tribunal. We fail to see why the Tribunal should be prevented
       from considering questions of law arising in assessment proceedings
       although not raised earlier."

16. It is pointed out by learned counsel for the Appellant that despite
bringing to the notice of the ITAT, the order dated 4 th January 2013 passed
by the Court in the applications filed by the Valiant Communications Ltd.,
which has been extracted hereinbefore, the ITAT in the impugned order
does not advert to said order at all.


17. The basis of this Court remanding the matters in Valiant
Communications Ltd. cases to the ITAT was precisely to consider whether
the benefit under Section 10A could be granted to those Assessees
notwithstanding that they may not be entitled to the benefit under Section
10B. It was, therefore, open to the Appellant Assessee herein to seek support
of the order of the CIT (A) on the ground which was not urged before the
CIT (A) as long as it was not going to be adverse to the case of the
Appellant i.e. the Revenue before the ITAT. The ITAT in considering such
plea was not going to be persuaded to come to a different conclusion as far
as the appeal of the Revenue pertaining to the benefit under Section 10B of
the Act was concerned. Particularly in the light of the order passed by this
Court on 4th January 2013 in the applications filed by Valiant
Communications Ltd., there should have been no difficulty for the ITAT to
have examined the Appellant Assessees cross objections.



ITA Nos.334, 338,339 & 342/2015                                    Page 8 of 9
18. Consequently, the question framed is answered in the negative, i.e. in
favour of the Assessee and against the Revenue. The impugned order dated
10th December 2014 of the ITAT to the extent that it declined to examine
the Appellant Assessee's cross objections on merits is hereby set aside. The
Appellant Assessees cross objections Nos. 125/Del/2013 and 145/Del/2013
for the Assessment Years (,,AYs) 2009-10 and 2008-09 respectively are
restored to the file of the ITAT for consideration on merits.


19. The appeals are allowed in the above terms, but in the circumstances,
with no orders as to costs.



                                                    S.MURALIDHAR, J




                                                    VIBHU BAKHRU, J
SEPTEMBER 02, 2015
mg




ITA Nos.334, 338,339 & 342/2015                                  Page 9 of 9

 
 
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