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Shreemati Devi vs. CIT (Allahabad High Court)
October, 26th 2016

Attitude of the Revenue in not returning seized assets despite assessee having succeeded in appeal is clearly arbitrary and shows an attitude of undue harassment to the assessee in the garb of public Revenue. Interest of public revenue does not authorize Revenue Authorities to work without any authority and create or cause all kinds of harassment to innocent people on the pretext of statutory authority

Pursuant to search and seizure FDRs etc. were seized. Block Assessment was made but on petitioner’s appeal, same was set aside by Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeals), Kanpur, vide order dated 21.2.2008 and that order was confirmed by Tribunal by rejecting Revenue’s appeals. Tribunal also relied on this Court’s judgment in Income Tax Appeal No. 506 of 2008 filed by Revenue which was dismissed. The contention on behalf of petitioner is that entire seizure is wholly illegal and respondents have no authority to retain above mentioned item and, therefore, FDRs and Rs.4,50,000/- seized in cash should be returned to petitioner and her children forthwith. Learned counsel appearing for respondents could not dispute that block assessment was set aside by Commissioner of Income Tax and Revenue lost the matter before Tribunal also. Before the Court also he could not show under what authority respondents have continued to withhold aforesaid FDRs and cash of Rs.4,50,000/-.

(i) Aforesaid attitude on the part of respondents is clearly arbitrary and shows an attitude of undue harassment to petitioner in the garb of public Revenue. Interest of public revenue does not authorize Revenue Authorities to work without any authority and create or cause all kinds of harassment to innocent people on the pretext of statutory authority, Revenue Authorities cannot claim liberty/privilege so as to deprive an individual, his property and that too in a manner, which has been found quite unreasonable and wholly without jurisdiction.

(ii) In view thereof, we find that petitioner has been unduly harassed and withholding by Revenue is illegal, therefore, petitioner is entitled to refund of FDRs and cash amount seized, petitioner also withdrawn unlawfully by respondents from the Bank.

(iii) In the result, writ petition is allowed. Respondents are directed to release all FDRs seized during seizure and also refund the amount in question, if not already released or refunded. In case FDRs and amount in question are not returned or refunded so far, they shall be returned / refunded forthwith without any further delay alongwith interest @ 18% per annum from the date of seizure till the date of actual returned / refund. Respondents shall be at liberty to recover the said amount of interest from the official(s) concerned who is/are found responsible for such negligence and illegal act, after making enquiry as permissible under law. Petitioner shall also be entitled to cost which we quantify to Rs.25,000.

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