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COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX, NEW DELHI Vs. M/S. MANJU FINANCE CORPORATION, NEW DELHI
December, 05th 2014
*       IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI
                                     Date of decision: November 26, 2014
+                          ITA No. 339/2002
COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX, NEW DELHI ..... Appellant
            Through:      Mr.Akash Vajpai , Advocate

                     Versus

M/S. MANJU FINANCE CORPORATION, NEW DELHI
                                       ..... Respondent
              Through:

CORAM:
HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE SANJIV KHANNA
HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE V.KAMESWAR RAO
SANJIV KHANNA, J. (Oral)

1.      This appeal by the revenue under Section 260-A of the Income

Tax Act, 1961 (`Act', in short) impugns the order dated 15.04.2002

passed by the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (Tribunal, in short)

annulling and setting aside block assessment proceedings under Section

158BD of the Act. The block assessment period involved is 01.04.1986

to 29.08.1996.

2.      By order dated 01.02.2005, the following substantial question of

law was framed:

            "Whether in the facts and circumstances of the case,
            non-issuance of notice under Section 158BD of the
            Income Tax Act, 1961 would vitiate the proceedings
            initiated under Section 158BC of the Act?"
ITA No.339/2002                                          Page 1 of 8
3.      The respondent assessee is a firm originally constituted on

01.03.1990 and had been filing their returns of income from the address

X-49, Loha Mandi, Naraina Phase-2, New Delhi. On 29.08.1996 search

and seizure operations under Section 132(1) of the Act were conducted

at E-49, Naraina Vihar, New Delhi at the residence of Nem Chand

Gupta, an individual. During the course of search, books of accounts

namely a journal, a cash book and a ledger belonging to the respondent

assessee were found and seized. At this stage, we may record that the

grounds of appeal wrongly record and state that search and seizure

operations were carried out at the premises of the assessee. This fact

does not borne and is contrary to the assertion made in the assessment

order. Subsequently, the jurisdiction of the respondent assessee was

transferred to DCIT, Special Range 13 in exercise of power and order

under Section 127 of the Act. The said order is dated 20.02.1997.

Thereupon, the Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax Special Range 13,

New Delhi, issued notice under Section 158BC of the Act dated

06.03.1997 which was duly served on the respondent assessee and return

of income for block period was filed in Form No. 2B on 17.04.1997.

Block assessment order was passed on 29.08.1997 assessing undisclosed

income for the block period at Rs.67,95,370/-.




4.      The block assessment order was made subject matter of challenge
ITA No.339/2002                                        Page 2 of 8
before the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal and as noted above the block

assessment order stands annulled. The reasons given by the Tribunal for

annulling the block assessment are to be substantially found in paragraph

No.11 of the impugned order, which for the sake of convenience is

reproduced below:-

        "11. Regarding the jurisdiction, this is undisputed fact that
        no search was conducted on the assessee, neither any
        warrant of search was issued in the name of assessee nor
        any Panchnama was prepared in the name of the assessee.
        Therefore, no proceedings can be taken against the
        assessee u/s 158BC. The search was conducted on one
        Shri Nem Chand Gupta on 29.8.1996 and proceedings u/s
        158BC were taken against that assessee. Some papers
        related to the assessee were found during the course of
        search made on Shri Nem Chand Gupta. Those books of
        accounts had papers were seized and notice u/s 158BC
        was issued to the assessee and the assessee was asked to
        file the return for the block period. The notices u/s 143(2)
        and 142(2) along with questionair were issued to the
        assessee. A specific query was raised during the course of
        hearing by the Bench to the learned DR that whether any
        notice u/s 158BD was issued or not, it was fairly admitted
        that no notice u/s 158BD was issued. However, it was
        categorically stated that there is no material difference
        between the notice u/s 158BD and notice u/s 158BC. As we
        have already stated that assessee deserved to succeed on
ITA No.339/2002                                            Page 3 of 8
        this issue because the provisions of sections 158BC and
        158BD are separate and distinct. The proceedings u/s
        158BC can be initiated only on the assessee on whom the
        search was conducted and proceedings u/s 158BD are to
        be initiated where the concerned AO has received an
        information or intimation from Assessing Officer of the
        person on whom the search was conducted. No such
        material was brought on record that whether any
        intimation or information were received by the AO from
        the Assessing Officer of Shri Nem Chand Gupta, on whom
        the search was conducted. Therefore, it cannot be stated
        that there is no material difference between section 158BD
        and section 158BC. The defect also cannot be cured by
        section 292B, as both the sections are separate and
        distinct because the proceedings under both the sections
        are entirely different."
                                              (emphasis supplied)
4.      We have reservations on the findings with regard to issue of notice

issued under Section 158BC instead of Section 158BD of the Act.

Possibly, question of prejudice due to mention of wrong provision etc.

may arise. The facts were noted in the assessment order which

specifically records that the search was not conducted in the case of

respondent assessee but books of accounts i.e. journal, cash book and

ledger of the respondent assessee were found in the search. Thus

reference was to Section 158BD of the Act. However, the respondent

ITA No.339/2002                                           Page 4 of 8
assessee is entitled to succeed in view of the specific finding given by

the Tribunal in the aforesaid paragraph that no material was brought on

record whether any intimation or information was received by the

Assessing Officer of the respondent assessee from the Assessing Officer

of Nem Chand Gupta i.e. the person on whom search was conducted.

Accordingly, the finding of the Tribunal was that the Assessing Officer

of Nem Chand Gupta had not given any intimation or information to the

Assessing Officer of the respondent assessee. On the said aspect, Section

158BD of the Act is clear and stipulates as a pre-condition that the

Assessing Officer of the person searched must record his satisfaction that

any undisclosed income belongs to a third person i.e. the person other

than the person who was searched or whose documents, account books

or assets were requisitioned. Thereafter he should handover the said

documents to the Assessing Officer of the third person. We would

assume in the present case that the Assessing Officer of the person

searched and the Assessing Officer of the respondent assessee were the

same as there is an order under Section 127 of the Act. However, this

would not mean that the Assessing Officer of the person searched should

not have recorded the satisfaction before notice was issued under Section

158BD read with Section 158BC of the Act. The requirement of Section

158BD is that the Assessing Officer of the person searched or against
ITA No.339/2002                                          Page 5 of 8
whom an order under Section 132A of the Act has been passed, should

be satisfied that any undisclosed income belongs to a third person. This

is the statutory mandate and a jurisdictional prerequisite before

proceedings under Section 158BD of the Act are initiated. Violation of

the said requisite and mandatory requirement would result in annulment

of assessment under Section 158BD read with Section 158BC of the Act.

The aforesaid dictum and ratio stands commandingly and conclusively

affirmed by the Supreme Court in Commissioner of Income Tax vs.

Calcutta Knitwears, Ludhiana [2014] 362 ITR 673 (SC), in the

following words:-

        "39. The opening words of Section 158BD of the Act are
        that the assessing officer must be satisfied that
        "undisclosed income" belongs to any other person other
        than the person with respect to whom a search was made
        under Section 132 of the Act or a requisition of books were
        made under Section 132A of the Act and thereafter,
        transmit the records for assessment of such other person.
        Therefore, the short question that falls for our
        consideration and decision is at what stage of the
        proceedings should the satisfaction note be prepared by
        the assessing officer: whether at the time of initiating
        proceedings under Section 158BC for the completion of
        the assessments of the searched person under Section 132
        and 132A of the Act or during the course of the assessment
        proceedings under Section 158BC of the Act or after
        completion of the proceedings under Section 158BC of the
        Act.
        XXXX
        41.   We would certainly say that before initiating
        proceedings under Section 158BD of the Act, the assessing




ITA No.339/2002                                          Page 6 of 8
        officer who has initiated proceedings for completion of the
        assessments under Section 158BC of the Act should be
        satisfied that there is an undisclosed income which has
        been traced out when a person was searched under Section
        132 or the books of accounts were requisitioned under
        Section 132A of the Act. This is in contrast to the
        provisions of Section 148 of the Act where recording of
        reasons in writing are a sine qua non. Under Section
        158BD the existence of cogent and demonstrative material
        is germane to the assessing officers' satisfaction in
        concluding that the seized documents belong to a person
        other than the searched person is necessary for initiation
        of action under Section 158BD. The bare reading of the
        provision indicates that the satisfaction note could be
        prepared by the assessing officer either at the time of
        initiating proceedings for completion of assessment of a
        searched person under Section 158BC of the Act or during
        the stage of the assessment proceedings. It does not mean
        that after completion of the assessment, the assessing
        officer cannot prepare the satisfaction note to the effect
        that there exists income tax belonging to any person other
        than the searched person in respect of whom a search was
        made under Section 132 or requisition of books of
        accounts were made under Section 132A of the Act. The
        language of the provision is clear and unambiguous. The
        legislature has not imposed any embargo on the assessing
        officer in respect of the stage of proceedings during which
        the satisfaction is to be reached and recorded in respect of
        the person other than the searched person."

                                               (emphasis supplied)

5.      In order to be absolutely sure as to the factual position, we had

called upon counsel for the Revenue to examine the original records and

ascertain whether satisfaction note of the Assessing Officer of the person

searched is available. The appeal was accordingly adjourned. Learned

counsel for the Revenue states that he has examined the original records
ITA No.339/2002                                           Page 7 of 8
and no satisfaction note recorded by the Assessing Officer of the person

searched is available. In these circumstances and in view of authoritative

pronouncement of the Supreme Court in Calcutta Knitwears (supra), we

have to hold that the block assessment proceedings initiated under

Section 158BD read with Section 158BC of the Act were bad and

contrary to law. The question of law is accordingly answered in favour

of the respondent assessee and against the appellant Revenue. The appeal

is disposed of. There will be no order as to costs.



                                                  (SANJIV KHANNA)
                                                       JUDGE


                                                  (V.KAMESWAR RAO)
                                                       JUDGE

NOVEMBER 26, 2014
km




ITA No.339/2002                                          Page 8 of 8

 
 
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