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RURAL ELECTRIFICATION CORP LTD Vs. COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX-(LTU) AND ANOTHER
May, 08th 2013
         THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI
%                                 Judgment delivered on: 23.04.2013

+       WP (C) 7943/2011

RURAL ELECTRIFICATION CORP LTD                          ...   Petitioner

                                     versus


COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX-(LTU)
AND ANOTHER                      ...                          Respondents

Advocates who appeared in this case:
For the Appellant         : Mr M. S. Syali, Sr Advocate with Mr Satyen Sethi,
                            Mr Mayank Nagi and Mr A. T. Panda
For the Respondents       : Mr Kiran Babu

CORAM:-
HON'BLE MR JUSTICE BADAR DURREZ AHMED
HON'BLE MR JUSTICE VIBHU BAKHRU

                                 JUDGMENT

BADAR DURREZ AHMED, J (ORAL)

1.      This writ petition pertains to the assessment year 2004-05. It is

directed against the notice under Section 148 of the Income-tax Act, 1961

(hereinafter referred to as `the said Act') issued on 21.03.2011, whereby the

assessment of the petitioner is sought to be reopened.            The purported

reasons for believing that income had escaped assessment are as under:-

        "11. Reasons for the belief that income has escaped
        assessment.






WP (C) No.7943/11                                                     Page 1 of 7
        1.     In this case assessment under section 143(3) was
        completed on 24.2.2005 at an income of Rs.5,52,50,73,110/-.
        The assessee company is a public financial institution engaged
        in business of providing finance for rural electrifications and is
        not an industrial undertaking. It has incurred an expenditure of
        Rs.5,34,20,000/- on account of issue of long term bond / debt
        instrument. The expense was incurred for borrowing long term
        debt instruments which give a benefit of enduring nature and
        hence the assessee should have capitalized the same. But the
        assessee claimed these expenses as revenue expense instead of
        capital expense.

        2.     Information from Addl. CIT, Karimnagar Range,
        Karimnagar was received that the assessee company had
        advanced a loan to M/s. The Cooperative Electrical supply
        Society Ltd., Siricilla. This Society has created a corpus of
        special fund amounting to Rs.10 crores. The society earned
        interest on this special fund but did not disclose it in its return
        for the reason that the money belonged to M/s. REC i.e.
        Assessee Company and any income earned was also on behalf
        of Assessee Company.           The ITAT, Hyderabad in its
        consolidated order in ITA No. 1112 to 1115 & 1198 to 1199 of
        2005, 1635 of 2008 and 570 of 2009 dated 13.01.2010 for
        assessment year 1999-00 to 2006-07 had held that this income
        was not taxable in the hands of the society but ought to be taxed
        in the hands of the assessee company. The ACIT-Cir-1,
        Karimnagar has quantified such income at Rs.24,50,000/- on
        account of interest on REC Bonds & Rs.45,44,199/- on account
        of interest from commercial banks.

        3.    I have therefore reasons to believe that income of
        Rs.6,04,14,199/- has escaped assessment within the meaning of
        section 147 which warrants issue of notice under section 148."

2.      It is an admitted position that the notice under Section 148 was

issued beyond the period of four years from the end of the assessment year




WP (C) No.7943/11                                                   Page 2 of 7
2004-05, the same having been issued on 21.03.2011.             As such, the

conditions stipulated in the proviso to Section 147 would have to be

complied with. Mr Syali, the learned senior counsel appearing on behalf of

the petitioner, submitted that one of the essential conditions stipulated in

the proviso to Section 147 was that there must be an allegation that the

assessee had failed to disclose fully and truly all the material facts

necessary for his assessment and that because of such failure there has been

an escapement of income chargeable to tax. He submitted that it would be

evident from the aforesaid purported reasons that there is no such

allegation. Consequently, relying on the decision of this court in the case

of Haryana Acrylic Manufacturing Company v. The Commissioner of

Income Tax IV and Anr.: (2009) 308 ITR 38 (Delhi), he submitted that

the impugned notice and all proceedings pursuant thereto are liable to be set

aside.


3.       The learned counsel for the revenue submitted that all the procedural

requirements necessary for re-opening the assessment had been complied

with by taking the necessary permission from the Commissioner before the

notice under Section 148 had been issued. He also submitted that the

petitioner had not shown the interest income mentioned in the `reasons' in



WP (C) No.7943/11                                                 Page 3 of 7
its return for the relevant year. The interest income in question arose out of

the loan advanced by the petitioner to the Cooperative Electrical Supply

Society Limited (Siricilla). The circumstances in which the interest income

arose are indicated in the purported reasons which have been extracted

above. It was contended on behalf of the revenue that it was only pursuant

to the Tribunal's order that the notice under Section 148 had been issued.

Therefore, according to the learned counsel for the respondent, it was only

complying with the directions given by the Tribunal. The learned counsel

for the respondent / revenue also stated that the limitation prescribed in

Section 149 would not, in any event, come in the way of the respondent

inasmuch as the provisions of Section 150 would be applicable. He further

submitted that, apart from the question of the interest income escaping

assessment, there was also the issue of the income escaping assessment on

the ground that the petitioner had claimed expenses as `revenue expenses'

which were actually of a `capital' nature.


4.      We have considered the submissions made by the learned counsel for

the parties. Insofar as the plea of the learned counsel for the revenue with

regard to Section 150 of the said Act is concerned, that issue stands

concluded by virtue of our decision in respect of the very same assessee in






WP (C) No.7943/11                                                Page 4 of 7
WP (C) No.7944/2011 and other connected writ petitions decided today

itself. We have concluded in those writ petitions that the provisions of

Section 150 would not be applicable. The very same conclusions would

apply to the present case also.


5.      As regards the plea taken by Mr Syali that there is no allegation with

regard to the failure on the part of the petitioner to fully and truly disclose

all the material facts necessary for the petitioner's assessment, we find that

this aspect is clearly covered in favour of the petitioner by virtue of our

decision in Haryana Acrylic (supra). In that case, we had observed as

under:-

        "29. In the reasons supplied to the petitioner, there is no
        whisper, what to speak of any allegation, that the petitioner had
        failed to disclose fully and truly all material facts necessary for
        assessment and that because of this failure there has been an
        escapement of income chargeable to tax. Merely having a
        reason to believe that income had escaped assessment, is not
        sufficient to reopen assessments beyond the four year period
        indicated above. The escapement of income from assessment
        must also be occasioned by the failure on the part of the
        assessee to disclose material facts, fully and truly. This is a
        necessary condition for overcoming the bar set up by the
        proviso to Section 147. If this condition is not satisfied, the bar
        would operate and no action under Section 147 could be taken.
        We have already mentioned above that the reasons supplied to
        the petitioner does not contain any such allegation.



WP (C) No.7943/11                                                   Page 5 of 7
        Consequently, one of the conditions precedent for removing the
        bar against taking action after the said four year period remains
        unfulfilled. In our recent decision in Wel Intertrade Private
        Ltd.[2009] 308 ITR 22 (Delhi) we had agreed with the view
        taken by the Punjab & Haryana High Court in the case of Duli
        Chand Singhania [2004] 269 ITR 192 that, in the absence of an
        allegation in the reasons recorded that the escapement of
        income had occurred by reason of failure on the part of the
        assessee to disclose fully and truly all material facts necessary
        for his assessment, any action taken by the Assessing officer
        under Section 147 beyond the four year period would be wholly
        without jurisdiction. Reiterating our view-point, we hold that
        the notice dated 29.03.2004 under Section 148 based on the
        recorded reasons as supplied to the petitioner as well as the
        consequent order dated 02.03.2005 are without jurisdiction as
        no action under Section 147 could be taken beyond the four
        year period in the circumstances narrated above."


6.      In the present case also, there is no whisper in the purported reasons

of the petitioner having failed to disclose fully and truly all the material

facts necessary for its assessment. Therefore, the necessary ingredients of

the provisions of Section 147 are not satisfied. In view thereof, the revenue

cannot also raise the ground with regard to the expenses being of a `capital'

nature, whereas the petitioner had claimed it as `revenue expenditure'.


7.      Therefore, in whichever way we look at this case, we find that the

initiation of reopening of the assessment pertaining to the assessment year




WP (C) No.7943/11                                                 Page 6 of 7
2004-05 did not have the backing of law. Consequently, the impugned

notice under Section 148 and all proceedings pursuant thereto, including

the assessment order passed pursuant thereto are liable to be set aside. It is

ordered accordingly. The writ petition is allowed. There shall be no order

as to costs.

                                       BADAR DURREZ AHMED, J



                                              VIBHU BAKHRU, J
April 23, 2013
dutt




WP (C) No.7943/11                                                Page 7 of 7
 
 
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