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November, 12th 2014

                                              Judgment delivered on: 31.10.2014

W.P.(C) 1790/2014 & CM 3748/2014

STANDARD CHARTERED GRINDLAYS PVT. LTD.                                    ..... Petitioner


TAXATION), CIRCLE 2(2), NEW DELHI & ORS. .... Respondents

Advocates who appeared in this case:
For the Petitioner  : Ms Shashi M. Kapila
For the Respondents : Mr Rohit Madan, Sr. Standing Counsel for Income Tax Deptt. with
                      Mr. Ruchir Bhatia.




1.      This writ petition is directed against the notice under Section 148 of

the Income Tax Act, 1961 (hereinafter referred to as ,,the said Act) dated

28th March, 2013 in respect of the assessment year 2006-07.                    The writ

WP(C) 1790/2014                                                                Page 1 of 8
petition is also directed against the proceedings pursuant to the issuance of

the impugned notice dated 28th March, 2013.

2.      The learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that the notice under

Section 148 of the said Act was issued beyond four years from the end of the

relevant assessment year. As such, the conditions stipulated in the first

proviso to Section 147 of the said Act would be relevant. The said proviso

requires as of condition precedent that there should, inter alia, be a failure on

the part of the assessee to fully and truly disclose all material particulars

necessary for his assessment.

3.      The learned counsel submitted that there has been a full and true

disclosure of all the material particulars. She drew our attention to the

purported reasons behind the issuance of Section 148 notice. The reasons

recorded were as under:-

            "The income of assessment of M/S Standard Chartered
            Grindlays ltd. for the assessment year 2006-07 was
            completed after detailed scrutiny in December 2008 at an
            income of Rs. 6,16,54,229/- .the above assessed income
            included interest income from investment and interest on
            interest tax refunds. During the course of perusal of records
            ,it is revealed that tax had been computed on the entire
            income at the rate of 15 percent instead of 40% plus
            surcharge .The mistake resulted in short levy of tax of Rs.

WP(C) 1790/2014                                                         Page 2 of 8
            2,00,08,155/- including interest 'under section 234B of the
            IT Act, 1961.

            In view of the above, I have reasons to believe that the income
            chargeable to tax assessment within the meaning of Section
            147/148 of the IT Act, 1961."

4.      With regard to the above recorded reasons, the learned counsel for the

petitioner pointed out that the same does not even allege that the

petitioner/assessee has not made a full and true disclosure of the material

particulars. All that is referred to is that there is a mistake which resulted in

the short levy of tax of Rs. 2,00,08,155/- on account of the tax rate being

taken as 15% instead of 40% plus surcharge.

5.      The learned counsel for the petitioner further submitted that in any

event, the entire issue was considered during the original assessment

proceedings which culminated in the assessment order under Section 143(3)

of the said Act dated 1st December, 2008. The learned counsel drew our

attention to the computation of income filed along with the return by the

assessee, copy of which is found at pages 47 to 49. On examining the said

computation of income, we note that the petitioner had categorically stated

that tax was payable under the India-Australia Double Tax Avoidance Treaty

WP(C) 1790/2014                                                           Page 3 of 8
as per Article 11(2) at the rate of 15%.           The Note appended to the

computation of income was as under:-

            "The assessee is a tax resident of Australia. Accordingly, the
            provisions of India-Australia Double Tax Avoidance Agreement
            shall apply to the extent beneficial to the assessee."

6.      The learned counsel for the petitioner further pointed out that in the

order sheet entry in the proceedings before the Assessing Officer on 28th

November, 2008 it is recorded as under:-

            "Mrs. Shashi Kapila A/R attended. She is asked to furnish note
            explaining why the branch office may not be treated as the PE of
            the assessee in India and why the interest income may not be
            taxed as per Art. 11(4) of the DTAT between India & Australia.
            Case is adjd. 1.12.2008."

7.      This was responded to by the assessee by a letter dated 1 st December,

2008 wherein inter alia the following explanation was given:-

            "4. Accordingly, Standard Chartered Grindlays Ltd.
            had no banking operations or any other business
            operations in India with effect from 1 st September
            2002. During the period under consideration, the
            assessee company did not render any services nor
            carry on any business. As the assessee company had
            no business income, there can be no Permanent
            Establishment in India as contemplated under Article
            5 read with Article 7 of the Indo-Australian DTAT.

WP(C) 1790/2014                                                         Page 4 of 8
            The concept 'Permanent Establishment' contemplates
            a fixed place of business. When there is no business
            operations at all then there can be no fixed place of
            business or PE in India. As no business is carried on
            by the assessee company, hence Article 11(4) of the
            Indo -Australian DTAT would not be applicable. This
            is applicable only to income assessable under the
            head of income "Business & Profession". Whereas
            the income earned by us would be taxable under the
            residuary head of income "Other Sources".

            5. During the year under consideration, the only item
            of income in respect of which the company was liable
            to tax, was on the interest earned on investments
            made in the past on Tax Savings Bonds. The interest
            on bonds were due to investments made in earlier
            years under sec.54EA /54EC to shelter capital gains
            arising on sale of certain properties in earlier years.

            6. In addition the assessee also received interest on tax
            refunds as a consequence of certain favourable orders
            received from the appellate authorities. These too were
            duly offered to tax during this year.

            7. As the assessee is a tax resident of Australia, the
            provisions of the Indo-Australian DTAT would be
            applicable to the extent they are more beneficial to the
            assessee. Accordingly as per the provisions of Article
            11(2) of the Indo-Australian DTAT a tax rate @ 15%
            would be applicable to the interest income."

8.      Consequent upon the above explanation, the assessment order was

framed by the Assessing Officer on 1st December, 2008.                  In the said

assessment order, it has been clearly recorded as under:-

            "The return of income was filed on 26/10/2006 declaring
            total income at Rs. 6,16,54,229/-. The return was processed

WP(C) 1790/2014                                                           Page 5 of 8
            u/s 143(1) of the IT Act, 1961. Subsequently the case was
            selected for scrutiny and statutory notice u/s 143(2) was
            issued on 26/10/2007. In response to the same Mrs. Shashi
            Kapila, AR attended from time to time and filed the details as
            called for and the case was discussed with her.

            The assessee is a tax resident of Australia. During the year
            under consideration till it has declared interest income of Rs.
            6,16,54,229/- and offered the same for taxation @ 15% in
            view of Article 1(2) of the DTAA between India and
            Australia. The assessee has furnished evidences for in
            support of its claiming income & taxability which are placed
            on record.

            After discussion the return income of the assessee of Rs.
            6,16,54,229/- is accepted."

9.      We have heard the counsel for the parties and are of the view that the

writ petition has to be allowed. First of all, the reasons recorded do not even

allege that there has been any failure on the part of the assessee to make a

full and true disclosure of the particulars necessary for making the

assessment. Secondly, there is, in fact, no non-disclosure inasmuch as the

petitioner had made it clear in the computation of income that the rate of tax

applicable was 15% in view of the Article 11(2) of the India-Australia

Double Tax Avoidance Treaty. As per the said Article, the rate of tax more

beneficial to the assessee would have to be applied. The said rate of 15%

WP(C) 1790/2014                                                               Page 6 of 8
was accepted by the Assessing Officer, in view of the provisions of the

Double Tax Avoidance Treaty.

10.     It is clear from this that the Assessing Officer has considered this

aspect of the matter and such consideration could not have been done unless

and until the petitioner/assessee had made the full and true disclosure of the

material particulars.

11.     We may also point out that in respect of the assessment years 2005-06

and 2007-08. Similar notices under Section 148 were issued. The petitioner

had filed writ petitions being WP(C) Nos. 3785/2014 and 3788/2014 in

respect of them. However, during the pendency of the writ petitions, the

Revenue had withdrawn the notices under Section 148 in respect of those

assessment years and this was recorded in the order of this Court disposing

of those petitions on 23rd January, 2014.

12.     The learned counsel for the respondents states that notice impugned in

this petition has not been withdrawn because the Revenues audit objections

are still alive. Be that as it may, the notice is without jurisdiction and

therefore, the same stands quashed.

WP(C) 1790/2014                                                      Page 7 of 8
13.      The proceedings pursuant to the said notice under Section 148 dated

28th March, 2013 also stand quashed.

14.      The writ petition is allowed as above. There shall be no order as to


                                             BADAR DURREZ AHMED, J

                                                 SIDDHARTH MRIDUL, J
         OCTOBER 31, 2014

WP(C) 1790/2014                                                     Page 8 of 8
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