HC refuses to declare search by IT officials as illegal

HC refuses to declare search by IT officials as illegal

Cobrapost |
July 19, 2016

HC refuses to declare search by IT officials as illegal

Chennai: Refusing to declare as illegal a search by Income Tax officials on Advantage Strategic Consulting Private Limited, Madras High Court today said if the prayer sought for is to be considered, it would result in interdicting an investigation process.

“What the petitioner seeks to indirectly achieved is to injunct a summon, which cannot be done, that too in exercise of jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution.The plea of malafides has not been specifically pleaded or established, mere use of the expression is not sufficient,” Justice T S Sivagnanam said.

Advantage had moved court,seeking to declare the December 1 and 2, 2015 survey by IT officers in their business premises and residences of Directors and consequent proceedings, culminating in visit of top IT officials to their homes on June 15 to issue summons and take evidence was illegal, malafide, abuse of power, ultra vires the Income Tax Act and without jurisdiction or authority of law.

The judge concurred with preliminary objection raised on behalf of Additional Solicitor General of India G Rajagopalan on the petitioner’s request for copies of statements, stating that the company director who has sworn to the affidavit in the petition had not given any statement.

“The plea that even if the other persons who have given the statements are not entitled to look into the statements given by others, but the petitioner is entitled to look into those statements is a flawed submission, especially when investigation is going on and each individual has given statements. Therefore, acceding to the prayer sought for by the petitioner would definitely hamper the investigation.

Petitioner said the object of the survey and summons proceedings were not bonafide and the department s refusal to give copies of sworn statements by the directors and company consultant was a violation of principles of natural justice.

There were no assessment proceedings pending before the Joint Director and deputy director of the IT department. So repeated summons as ‘assessee’ was without jurisdiction and calling the proceedings null and void.

Rajagopalan argued that those who gave statements had not approached the court and therefore the department was not in a position to give the statements recorded from other persons to the petitioner, as investigation is in process.

The AG said if a person who has given the statement comes to the IT deputy director’s office and requests a perusal of his statement, it would be readily obliged to.

But the question of providing copies or permitting perusal of statements given by other persons cannot be entertained, as it would hamper the probe.

Concurring with the submissions the Judge dismissed the petition.

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