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HC rejects Sterlites plea challenging reopening of I-T assessment for 2000-01
March, 25th 2008
The Madras High Court has rejected the plea of Tuticorin-based Sterlite Industries (India) Ltd that the order of Deputy Commissioner of Income-tax, Company Circle VI(4), Chennai, to reopen assessment for year 2000-01 be set aside as it was without jurisdiction.

Mr. Justice K. Chandru in his recent order held that it was only required to see whether there was any prima facie material available on the basis of which Department could reopen the file. In view of the counter-affidavit of the Department, and impugned notice of July 17, 2007, this court could not reject the case of Revenue for invoking power under Sections 147 and 148 of the Income-tax Act, 1961 to reopen assessment.

According to petitioner, the department had held that they had received information from Enforcement Directorate (ED), which showed possible inflation of purchases on certain items. Petitioner contended that the notice issued by the department was without jurisdiction and contrary to Sections 147, 148 and 149. The information allegedly received from ED did not relate to the relevant assessment year, and that no import of any design or drawing was made during year 2000-01.

Also, the notice was barred by limitation, according to petitioner. An additional affidavit was also filed by petitioner on September 1, 2007 stating that copy of order obtaining previous sanction of Commissioner of Income-tax was not provided. The respondents in their counter said that previous sanction of Commissioner was obtained.

The Judge held that the definite stand of Dept was that previous sanction from Commissioner of I. Tax was obtained, and credible information received related to year 2000-01. In the light of the above, the writ petition failed, and the same shall stand dismissed.

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