Cost awarded against income tax department for abuse of process of law
The Bombay High Court in a recent case imposed a cost of Rs. 1, 00,000/- against the income tax department for abuse of process of law. Later on the Hon’ble court set aside the said order on the assurance that the department would abide by the judicial orders and directions.
Assessing officers along with department should be fair:
The Bombay High Court in the case of CIT vs. Kisan Ratilal Choksey Share & Securities passed the said order to check the unfair acts of the revenue officers.
The Bombay High Court made it very clear that necessary averments are required to be made in the memorandum of Appeal stating whether the orders of the Tribunal for the earlier assessment years and have been challenged. If the challenge has already not been disposed of, a statement has to that effect should be made. It was further stated that if the challenge is already decided, the result is required to be indicated.
Malafide acts of the assessing officers:
The Government aims to put a check upon the tax officers who attempt to make a malicious and deliberate misuse of court processes which are not justified by the law.
The Income Tax Act, 1961 does not specify any law for deliberate misuse of powers by the officers of the department. But there should be certain guidelines for proper administration of the income tax laws to reduce the pendency of the cases in the courts and to prevent undue harassment upon the genuine assessees. It would also enlarge the tax base. A number of remedial measures should be taken in this regard.
Scope of misuse of powers conferred upon the tax officers:
The income tax authorities have been granted many discretionary powers under the Income Tax Act. In many cases it is observed that the power is not exercised judiciously. As a result an assessee suffers the harassment. The Assessing Officers are found to drag the assessees in unnecessary litigation for an issue which has been already settled by the judicial authorities.
At times the authorities at lower levels do not abide by the directions and orders of the higher authorities. They are also found to disobey the law which has been formulated long ago. There is no specific provision in the Income Tax act to safeguard the assessees against the unlawful acts of the authorities. It also amounts to contempt of the court orders. The courts have continuously requested the department to ensure that the Assessing Officers do not misuse the discretion given to them under any provision of the statute.
For such reasons the Government tends to punish the officers who act with motivated intention when they get ample scope to abuse or misuse power conferred to them.