Shreemati Devi vs. CIT (Allahabad High Court)Assessing Officers not to harass tax payers and return seized assets as the appeal goes in favor of assessee
Arrogance of the department in not returning the assets which were seized in spite of assessee having succeeded in the appeal is evidently illogical and brings out the attitude of unwarranted harassment for assessee. The inherent interest of public revenue do not provide any authority to the Revenue Authorities for working without authority and creating or causing harassment to innocent tax payers on the excuse of statutory authority.
Following search and seizure Fixed Depository Receipts (FDRs) etc. were seized. Block Assessment was conducted on appeal of the petitioner and the same was set apart vide order dated 21.2.2008 by the Kanpur Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeals) and the Tribunal confirmed the order by rejecting appeals by the Revenue. Tribunal trusted on the judgment of the Court in the Income Tax Appeal No. 506 filed by Revenue in 2008 which was dismissed by the Court.
The argument on behalf of the petitioner was that whole seizure was totally illegal and respondents did not have any authority for retaining the items mentioned above and, hence, Rs.4,50,000/- seized in cash and FDRs should have been returned to the petitioner and to her children immediately. Knowledgeable counsel acting for the respondents cannot clash the block assessment which was set apart by Commissioner of Income Tax and the Revenue was not able to win the battle and lost the same before Tribunal also. In front of the Court also Revenue was not able to demonstrate under what authority they have withhold the said cash of Rs.4,50,000 and FDRs.
(i) The aforementioned attitude of respondents is evidently illogical and exhibits an attitude of unnecessary harassment for the petitioners in the cloak of the public Revenue. The interest of public revenue do not permit the Revenue Authorities for executing any authority and creating or causing any trouble for the innocent people on the view of statutory authority, the Authorities have no right to claim any privilege for depriving any individual, their property and by means which is arbitrary and totally without any jurisdiction.
(ii) With the view as above, we see that the petitioner was unjustifiably harassed and withholding of assets by the Revenue was totally illegal, hence, the petitioner was permitted to refund of the cash amount and FDRs seized.
(iii) Respondents were ordered for releasing all the FDRs which were seized at the time of search and seizure and also were asked to refund the entire sum in question. Further, in case the amount in question and FDRs are not refunded or returned so far, they should be refunded or returned immediately without any delay together with an interest at the rate18 percent p.a from the day of search and seizure till the day when these were actually refunded or returned.
Respondents should be at liberty for recovering the interest amount from the officials who are found accountable for such negligence and illegal act, following an enquiry as allowed under the law. Additionally, the petitioner should also be entitled to the cost as quantifiable to Rs.25,000.