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I-T commissioner's powers
January, 22nd 2007

The Supreme Court observed last week that the income tax commissioner has vast revisional powers under Section 263 of the Income-Tax Act. He can not only pass an appropriate order in exercise of that special provision but also make such enquiry as he felt necessary. 
 
The scope of rectification proceeding under Section 154 is different as it did not confer a power of review, the court said in its judgement in Commissioner of Income Tax vs Ralson Industries. In this case, the order of assessment was complete and a rectification was also made. However, the commissioner invoked his power under Section 263 and set aside the order of assessment. 
 
This was challenged by the firm and the Madhya Pradesh High Court allowed its petition. The Supreme Court set aside the high court decision. It observed: Only because an order of assessment has undergone rectification at the hands of the assessing officer, the same would not mean that the revisional authority shall be denuded of exercising its revisional jurisdiction. Such an interpretation would run counter to the scheme of the Act. 
 
Special court ruling rejected 
 
The Supreme Court has set aside the ruling of the Special Court (Trial of Offences Relating to Transactions in Securities) in the auction sale of properties of notified persons, who are relatives of late Harshad Mehta. 
 
The concerned auction sale was to be conducted in two stages the submission of bids and the grant of sanction by the special court. The auction involved commercial and residential properties. The auction of the commercial properties were approved by the special court. The sale of the residential properties was subjected to the Supreme Court order. 
 
However, the special court ordered forfeiture or earnest money holding that the auction purchaser had not deposited the balance within the stipulated time. The Supreme Court stated that in view of its interim orders, the special court could not have confirmed the sale and forfeiture could not be ordered. It asked the special court to reconsider the matter afresh. 
 
Associated Indems appeal dismissed 
 
The Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal of Associated Indem Mechanical Pvt Ltd against the ruling of the Calcutta High Court, which approved the action of the West Bengal Small Scale Industrial Development Corporation Ltd in cancelling the lease deed between the two companies. 
 
According to the terms of the contract, Associated Indem Mechanical would be given lease of industrial sheds in Howrah on condition that they would be used for carrying on manufacturing business or activities connected with it. However, the premises were not utilised for a long time and hence the lease was cancelled. The company moved the high court but its petition was rejected. The Supreme Court upheld the high court judgement. 
 
Sops to biomass energy producers 
 
The Supreme Court has asked the Electricity Regulatory Commission of Chhattisgarh to reconsider the issue of concessions granted to biomass energy producers. However, it has declined to set aside the tribunals order upholding benefits to the same. 
 
The order was passed on the appeal of the state electricity board against the appellate tribunals order, which upheld additional benefits to producers. The board argued that the concessions were not permissible under the Electricity Act 2003. It would also financially affect the board. 
 
These producers had already been given enough incentives and further relaxations were not necessary. However, the tribunal granted further concessions on a petition by the Biomass Power Producers Association.

M J Antony

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