Saturday, February 6, 2016

Paperless assessment proceedings

CBDT Notification No. 2/2016 dt February 3, 2016: Guidelines relating to Paperless Assessment Proceedings

1. The AO shall issue notice(s) from his official email address (having domain name @incometax.gov.in) and shall attach scanned copies of the notice(s) u/s 143(2) or 142(1) containing his signatures in a PDF file(s).
2. The assessee shall also respond from his primary registered email address with PDF attachment(s). The assessee is entitled to furnish a letter to the AO informing any other alternative email address of his choice.
3. The AO shall place hard copies of all emails and supporting documents in the relevant assessment file for record purposes
4. For keeping audit trail of all e-notices/questionnaire issued by the Tax Officer to assessee and e-response by assessee thereof with supporting documents, a copy of email shall be marked to E-ASSESSMENT@INCOMETAX.GOV.IN
5. All emails sent or received as per this procedure shall be stored in the ITD database and its communication status shall be displayed in assessee's "My Account" on the E-filing portal.
6. The Tax Officer shall pass the Order and email the scanned copy of assessment order to assessee.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

AO issuing original assessment order can only initiate reopening proceedings - See more at: http://taxguru.in/income-tax/ao-issuing-original-assessment-order-initiate-reopening-proceedings.html#sthash.LGZyhE0P.dpuf

Citation of the Case: Dushyant Kumar Jain vs. DCIT (Delhi High Court), W.P(C) 1569/2015 & CM No.2800/2015, AY 2007-08, Date of Judgment: 15/01/2016
Brief of the Case
Delhi High Court held In the case of Dushyant Kumar Jain vs. DCIT held that it is only the AO who has issued the original assessment order under Section 143 (3) ,who is empowered to exercise powers under Section 147/148 to re-open the assessment. This is because he alone would be in a position to form reasons to believe that some income of that particular AY has escaped assessment. This again cannot be based on a mere change of opinion. Further, in terms of Section 151 of the Act such a move will have to have the prior approval of the CIT. Under the scheme of the Act, if a superior officer forms an opinion that the original assessment order is prejudicial to the interests of the Revenue, recourse can be had to Section 263. In any event the question of an ITO who is not the AO who passed the original assessment order under Section 143 (3) for particular AY, exercising the powers under Sections 147/148 to re-open that assessment does not arise.
Facts of the Case
The Assessee filed a return of income for AY 2007-08 on 18th September, 2007 declaring an income of Rs. 38,76,580. The DCIT, Circle 39(1), who is the Assessing Officer of the Assessee, issued a notice to the Assessee under Section 142(1) raising certain queries and calling for records. These were furnished by the Assessee and on 13th April 2009, an assessment order was passed by the AO under Section 143(3). On 14th March, 2014, the first impugned notice was issued to the Assessee under Section 148 by the ITO, Ward 39(2) recording the reasons for reopening of the assessment. Immediately, on receipt of the above reasons, the Petitioner addressed a letter dated 9th April, 2014 to the ITO, Ward 39(2) inter alia, pointing out that he does not have any jurisdiction over a case which was completed by the AO who was the DCIT, Circle 39(1).
An another notice dated 23rd June 2014, again under Section 148, issued this time by the ACIT, Circle 39(1), the AO of the Assessee stating that she had reasons to believe that the Assessee’s income of Rs. 53,97,053/- for AY 2007-08 had escaped assessment. The Assessee, in response to the above notice, addressed a letter dated 27th June, 2014 to the ACIT drawing attention to the above facts and pointing out that the notice was invalid and void as it was issued beyond four years (in terms of Section 147) and six years (in terms of Section 149 ).
One of the main points urged in the present petition is that the re opening of the assessment sought to be made under Section 148 of the Act is bad in law since the notice dated 14th March, 2014 for AY 2007-08 had been issued and the reasons for re-opening had been recorded by the ITO Ward 39(2), who was not the AO as far as the Petitioner was concerned for the AY in question. As far as the second impugned notice dated 23rd June, 2014 is concerned it was issued by the AO of the Petitioner but well beyond the period of limitation in terms of Section 149(1) (b) which expired on 31st March, 2014.
Contention of Revenue
The notice u/s 148 was a valid notice and was issued as per the procedure laid down. The notice u/s 148 was issued by the ITO Ward No.39(2) New Delhi on 14.3.2014 who was the legitimate Assessing Officer as far as the jurisdiction is concerned. As per Section 2(7A) of the Act, the Assessing Officer means the Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax, Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax, Additional Commissioner of Income Tax or Deputy Director of Income Tax or the Income Tax Officer who is vested with the relevant jurisdiction by virtue of direction or orders issued under sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) of Section 120 or any other provision of the Income Tax Act, and the Additional Commissioner or Additional Director or Joint Commissioner or Joint Director who is directed under clause (b) of Sub-section (4) of that section to exercise or perform all or any of the powers and functions conferred on, or assigned to, an Assessing Officer under the Act. The ITO Ward No. 39(2) New Delhi has issued the notice u/s 148 after recording the reasons for reopening. Subsequently the file was transferred to Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax Circle 39(1) New Delhi as the income was more than Rs.20 lakhs, and the Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax Ward 39(1) had again issued the notice dated 23.6.2014 under section 148.
Held by High Court
High Court held that from the counter affidavit filed by the revenue, it is a clear admission that the officer who issued the notice dated 14th March, 2014, and recorded the reasons for re-opening the assessment, i.e. the ITO Ward 39(2) was not the AO of the Assessee. That single fact in itself vitiates the reopening of the assessment. What is also evident is that, perhaps realizing the error, a subsequent notice dated 23rd June 2014 under Section 148 was issued by the AO of the Assessee. However, it was beyond the deadline of 31st March, 2014 under Section 149(1) (b).
Further, the reasons given by the Department in its counter affidavit do not in any way explain the patent illegality in invoking the powers under Section 148 for reopening the assessment of the Assessee for AY 2007-08. The mere fact that the definition of an AO in terms of Section 2(7-A) includes a DCIT and other superior officers or an ITO of some other ward who may be vested with the relevant jurisdiction by virtue of orders issued under Section 120 (1) or Section 120 (2) of the Act will not make a difference to the above legal position.
It is only the AO who has issued the original assessment order dated 13th April 2009 for AY 2007-08 under Section 143 (3) who is empowered to exercise powers under Section 147/148 to re-open the assessment. This is because he alone would be in a position to form reasons to believe that some income of that particular AY has escaped assessment. This again cannot be based on a mere change of opinion. Further, in terms of Section 151 of the Act such a move will have to have the prior approval of the CIT. Under the scheme of the Act, if a superior officer forms an opinion that the original assessment order is prejudicial to the interests of the Revenue, recourse can be had to Section 263 of the Act. In any event the question of an ITO who is not the AO who passed the original assessment order under Section 143 (3) of the Act for particular AY, exercising the powers under Sections 147/148 to re-open that assessment does not arise.
Accordingly appeals of the assessee allowed.
- See more at: http://taxguru.in/income-tax/ao-issuing-original-assessment-order-initiate-reopening-proceedings.html#sthash.LGZyhE0P.dpuf

Supreme court in Ganpathy & Co (rev fav) decision on issues of business head deductions & scope of high court u/s 260A; Delhi high court in Dushyant kr Jain case held reopening by non jurisdictional officer is bad in law; Gujarat high court on reopening on belied reasoning that return not filed where roi duly filed is bad in law (held 26AS basis wrong where salary reflected in roi/itr); Gujarat high court mandatory release post 120 days of application of release of seized assets u/s 132B(1)(i) proviso (landmark order) & Bombay high court (Jet case )section 41(1) clarified

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NO.1964 OF 2008 M/S GANAPATHY & CO., BANGALORE
JANUARY 18, 2016
At the outset, the questions of law on which the High court had rendered its opinion may be set out as below. “i. Whether on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal was right in law in deleting the disallowance of service charges paid to M/s Universal Trading Company made under Section 40A(2)? ii. Whether on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, the Tribunal was justified in holding that the loss shown by the assessee in the film business amounting to Rs.31,48,670/- was allowable? iii. Whether on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, the Tribunal was justified in allowing the assessee's claim for deduction under Section 35(2A) in respect of donation to Aparna Ashram?”
The necessary discussions can best be unfolded by taking up each of the claims of deduction made by the assessee which were decided against the assessee by the High Court by the order under challenge.
A reading of the order of the ITAT in favour of the assessee which has been reversed by the High Court would indicate that the learned ITAT did not address itself to a very fundamental issue that had arisen before it, namely, effect of the failure of the assessee to produce evidence in support of the services claimed to have been rendered by UTC during the Assessment Year in question i.e. 1984-1985. The answer given by the assessee in response to a specific query made by the Assessing Officer in this regard was that explanations in this regard had already been submitted for the previous Assessment Year i.e. 1983-1984. If service had been rendered to the assessee by UTC during the Assessment Year in question and service charges had been paid for such service rendered, naturally, it was incumbent on the part of the assessee to adduce proof of such service having been rendered during the period under assessment. There is no dispute on the issue that the assessee did not, in fact, offer any proof of the service rendered during the Assessment Year in question. In such circumstances, the High Court was perfectly justified in reversing the eventual conclusion of the learned ITAT on the basis that the findings and conclusions recorded in the course of the assessment proceedings of the previous year cannot foreclose the findings that are required to be arrived at for the Assessment Year in question i.e. 1984- 1985. We, therefore, can find no fault with the order of the High Court on the aforesaid score.
Taking into account the above and the facts of the case which have been set out by the High Court in paragraphs 29 and 30 of its order, we do not see how the same can be faulted. Having regard to the facts and circumstances in which the “investment” was made and “loss” claimed, we can find no fault in the view taken by the High Court that the entire transaction was a sham transaction and was a calculated device to avoid tax liability.
There is no dispute on the fact that no such certificate had been furnished by the assessee and also that all Authorities have consistently held that if and when such certificate is produced the consequential benefit can be afforded to the assessee. In the aforesaid circumstances, we do not see how the view taken by the High Court that the assessee was not entitled to the benefit of donation made to Aparna Ashram can be faulted.
The legal position in this regard may be summed up by reiterating that it is the Tribunal which is the final fact finding authority and it is beyond the power of the High Court in the exercise of its reference jurisdiction to reconsider such findings on a reappraisal of the evidence and materials on record unless a specific question with regard to an issue of fact being opposed to the weight of the materials on record is raised in the reference before the High Court. Having reiterated the above position in law we do not see how the same can be said to have been transgressed by the impugned order of the High Court. Each relevant fact considered by the High Court to answer the questions referred to it on the claim(s) of deduction raised by the appellant – assesee are acknowledged, admitted and undisputed facts. No fresh determination of facts found by the Tribunal have been made by the High Court. What, however, the High Court did was to take into account certain additional facts, already on record, which were however not taken note of by the Tribunal to arrive at its findings, e.g., that the appellant – assessee had failed to furnish any proof of service rendered by UTC in the course of the relevant Assessment Year i.e. 1984-1985. Alternatively, the High Court construed certain facts as, for example, compliance of the conditions subject to which registration was granted to the Aparna Ashram under Section 35(2A) of the Act to be of significance as against the contrary/different view of the learned Tribunal on this score. There was no departure from the basic facts found by the learned Tribunal in the two illustrative situations cited above, namely, that (i) the assessee had not adduced any proof of service rendered by UTC in the Assessment Year 1984-1985; (ii) that Aparna Ashram had not complied with the conditions subject to which registration had been granted to it under Section 35(2A) of the Act.
For the aforesaid reasons, we find no fault in the view taken by the High Court while answering the questions referred to it. Accordingly, the appeal is dismissed however without any order as to costs.









IN THE HIGH COURT OF GUJARAT AT AHMEDABAD
SPECIAL CIVIL APPLICATION NO. 15475 of 2015
==========================================================
MANISHKUMAR PRAVINBHAI KIRI....Petitioner(s)
Versus
ASST. COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX....Respondent(s)
Date : 11/01/2016

The petitioner is a Director of the company. His principal
source of income is salary. For the assessment year 2008-09, the
petitioner filed his return of income disclosing the receipt of
salary of Rs. 35,08,064/-. The department also issued intimation
under Section 143(1) of the Act. However, the Assessing Officer issued impugned notice dated 31.03.2015 seeking to reopen
such assessment, for which, she had recorded the
following reasons:
“In this case, the assessee has not filed the Return of Income
for the year under consideration.
As per information generated from form 26AS of this circle, it
is seen that assessee is one of the beneficiary recipient of the
income in the nature of salary amounting to Rs. 36,00,000/-
and during the year assessee has purchased immovable
property of Rs. 70,00,000/- but no return of Income has been
filed by the assessee.
Therefore, it is prima facie evident that income in the nature of
salary, amounting to Rs. 36,00,000/- as reflected in its form
26AS & for which no return of Income has been filed till date,
has escaped assessment for assessment year under
consideration in the spirit of provisions of section 147(a) of the
Income Tax Act, 1961. I have reasons to believe that it is a fit
case for reopening of the assessment by invoking the provisions
of section 147 of the I.T.Act,1961.”

Learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that the reasons
recorded for issuing notice that, no return was filed, was
absolutely incorrect. The petitioner filed the return which fact even now respondent accepts. In the affidavit-in-reply,
however, it is asserted that the assessee was required to file the
return with the present respondent. Instead, he had filed such
return before ITO Ward No. 4(2) which is re-numbered as Ward
No. 2(1)(2) of Ahmedabad. In such affidavit, it is further stated
that the assessee had also not disclosed the fact regarding the
source of Rs. 70 lacs and the income of deemed dividend under
Section 2(22)(e) of the Act. Counsel submitted that the return was filed before the same
authority where it was done in the earlier years. As per the then
prevailing norms of filing tax returns manualy, the department
would accept the return of a Director only before the same
authority where the company has filed the return. The reason,
that no return was filed, therefore, was wholly erroneous. Even
if the return was filed before the wrong authority, it would not
become the nonest return or non return in eye of law. On the other hand learned counsel Ms. Bhatt for the department
submitted that, when the return was filed before the wrong
authority, correct Assessing Officer had no occasion to apply
her mind. The notice for re-opening is, therefore, valid. In any
case, no scrutiny assessment was originally carried out.

 Further,
the return filed by the petitioner was acknowledged and
intimation under sub-section (1) of Section 143 was issued.
Such being the facts, it cannot be stated that the petitioner had
filed no return. The very foundation for issuing notice,
therefore, as recorded in the reasons, would be belied. Other
than recording that no return was filed such reasons recorded
that as per the Form 26AS, it was noticed that the petitioner has
received salary income of Rs. 36 lacs and had also purchased
immovable properties worth Rs. 70 lacs. When the ground of non filing of the return disappears and as
can be seen from the return, there was fully disclosure about the
salary income of the petitioner, the reasons recorded by the
Assessing Officer become completely invalid. Her attempt now
to rope in the question of deemed dividend cannot be permitted
since the validity must be judged on the basis of reasons
recorded and not on the basis of extraneous material.
In the result, impugned notice is quashed


 IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI
12.
W.P.(C) 1569/2015 & CM No.2800/2015

 DUSHYANT KUMAR JAIN

 15.01.2016
12. One of the main points urged in the present petition is that the reopening the assessment sought to be made under Section 148 of the Act is bad in law since the notice dated 14th March, 2014 for AY 2007-08 had been issued and the reasons for re-opening had been recorded by the ITO Ward 39(2), who was not the AO as far as the Petitioner was concerned for the AY in question. As far as the second impugned notice dated 23rd June, 2014 is concerned it was issued by the AO of the Petitioner but well beyond the period of limitation in terms of Section 149(1)(b) of the Act which expired on 31st March, 2014.
13. In the counter affidavit filed on behalf of the Respondent, the above objections are sought to be met by stating in para nos.7 and 8 as under:
“7. It is pertinent to mention that the notice u/s.148 of the Act was a valid notice and was issued as per the procedure laid down in the I.T. Act, 1961. The notice u/s 148 was issued by the ITO Ward No.39(2) New Delhi on 14.3.2014 who was the legitimate Assessing Officer as far as the jurisdiction is concerned. As per Section 2(7A) of the Act, the Assessing Officer means the Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax, Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax, Additional Commissioner of Income Tax or Deputy Director of Income Tax or the Income Tax Officer who is vested with the relevant jurisdiction by virtue of direction or orders issued under sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) of Section 120 or any other provision of the Income Tax Act, and the Additional Commissioner or Additional Director or Joint Commissioner or Joint Director who is directed under clause (b) of Sub-section (4) of that section to exercise or perform all or any of the powers and functions conferred on, or assigned to, an Assessing Officer under the Act. The ITO Ward No.39(2) New Delhi has issued the notice u/s 148 after recording the reasons for reopening. A copy of the said reasons was also sent to the Assessee along with the notice. 8. Subsequently the file was transferred to Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax Circle 39(1) New Delhi as the income was more than Rs.20 lakhs, and the Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax Ward 39(1) had again issued the notice dated 23.6.2014 under section 148.”
14. It is further averred in the counter affidavit that the grounds urged by the Assessee are ‘frivolous’ ‘untenable’ and ‘unsustainable’.
15. What is evident from the counter affidavit filed by the Respondent is a clear admission that the officer who issued the notice dated 14th March, 2014, and recorded the reasons for re-opening the assessment, i.e. the ITO Ward 39(2) was not the AO of the Assessee. That single fact in itself vitiates the reopening of the assessment. What is also evident is that, perhaps realising the error, a subsequent notice dated 23rd June 2014 under Section 148 was issued by the AO of the Assessee. However, it was beyond the deadline of 31st March, 2014 under Section 149(1)(b) of the Act.
16. The reasons given by the Department in its counter affidavit do not in any way explain the patent illegality in invoking the powers under Section 148 of the Act for reopening the assessment of the Assessee for AY 2007-08. The mere fact that the definition of an AO in terms of Section 2(7-A) of the Act al includes a DCIT and other superior officers or an ITO of some other ward who may be vested with the relevant jurisdiction by virtue of orders issued under Section 120 (1) or Section 120 (2) of the Act will not make a difference to the above legal position. The reason is not far to seek. It is only the AO who has issued the original assessment order dated 13th April 2009 for AY 2007-08 under Section 143 (3) of the Act who is empowered to exercise powers under Section 147/148 to re-open the assessment. This is because he alone would be in a position to form reasons to believe that some income of that particular AY has escaped assessment. This again cannot be based on a mere change of opinion. Further, in terms of Section 151 of the Act such a move will have to have the prior approval of the CIT. Under the scheme of the Act, if a superior officer forms an opinion that the original assessment order is prejudicial to the interests of the Revenue, recourse can be had to Section 263 of the Act. In any event the question of an ITO who is not the AO who passed the original assessment order under Section 143 (3) of the Act for particular AY, exercising the powers under Sections 147/148 of the Act to re-open that assessment does not arise.

IN THE HIGH COURT OF GUJARAT AT AHMEDABAD
SPECIAL CIVIL APPLICATION NO. 13374 of 20
==========================================================
NADIM DILIPBHAI PANJVANI....Petitioner(s)
Versus
INCOM TAX OFFICER WARD-3, OR HIS SUCESSORS TO
OFFICE....Respondent(s)
Date : 11/01/2016

Relevant facts may be re-stated. On 25.03.2014, the Income Tax
department seized the cash which was found by the police
authority on 24.03.2014 in the hands of the petitioner. The
petitioner applied for release of such cash under petition dated
14.04.2014 which was filed on 17.04.2014. Despite reminders,
such application came to be decided by the respondent only on
20.07.2015.
As per Section 1 of Section 132B of the Act, thus, the assets
seized under Section 132 or requisitioned under Section 132A
has to be dealt with in the manner provided in Clauses (i) to (iii)
thereof. Principally, under Clause (i), it is provided that the
amount of any existing liability under the Income Tax Act or
the related fiscal statutes and the liability determined on
completion of assessment under Section 153A and the
assessment of the year relevant to the previous year, in which,
search is initiated or requisition is made, or the amount of
liability determined including the penalty and interest would be
recovered out of such assets. Provisio to Clause (i) of Section 1
of Section 132B, however, provides that where the person
concerned makes an application to the Assessing Officer within
thirty days from the end of the month, in which, the asset was
 seized, for release of the asset and the nature and source of
acquisition of any such assets is explained to the satisfaction of
the Assessing Officer, the amount of existing liability referred
to in the said clause may be recovered out of such asset and the
remaining portion, if any, may be released to the person from
whose custody the asset was seized, with the prior approval of
the officer prescribed under the said proviso.
Under Clause (i) of sub-section (1) of Section 132B, any seized
assets would be adjusted towards the recoveries not only against
existing but also liabilities which may crystallize on completion
of the assessment under Section 153A and the assessment of the
relevant year to the previous year, in which, the search is
initiated or the request is made or in the block assessment
proceedings. Such liabilities would not only include the
principal tax but also interest and penalties, if any. However,
under the first proviso to Clause (i) of sub section (1), if the
person concerned makes an application within the prescribed
time and also satisfies the Assessing Officer about the source of
acquisition of such asset, the asset would be adjustable only
against the existing liabilities. In other words, upon the
concerned person applying to the Assessing Officer and
satisfying him about the source of the acquisition of the asset,
the same would be released after adjustment towards existing
liabilities, without waiting for the outcome of the assessment
proceedings under Section 153A of the Act or the assessmen for the year relevant to the previous year, in which, the search
was initiated or a requisition is made or for the block period
referred to under Chapter XIV-B. Further proviso to Clause (i) of sub section (1) of Section 132B
of the Act provides that such asset or any portion thereof, as is
referred to in the first proviso shall be released within a period
of 120 days from the date on which the last of the authorizations
for search under Section 132 or for requisition under Section
132A, as the case may be, was executed. This further proviso,
therefore, has to be viewed and interpreted in the background of
the provisions contained in Clause (i) of sub section (1) of
Section 132B of the Act and the first provisio to the said clause.
The further proviso, thus, requires that such assets or portion
thereof referred to in the first provisio would be released within
the prescribed time. Of course when this further proviso refers
to any portion of the asset, as is referred to in the first proviso, it
necessarily permits the Assessing Officer to apply the assets
against the existing liability or even when not satisfied about the
source of acquisition of the asset to refuse to release the same
till the further liabilities which may arise upon completion of
the assessment under Section 153A of the Act or the assessment
of the year relevant to the previous year, in which, the asset was
seized etc. are completed. To this extent, we fully accept the
stand of the counsel for the revenue that the further proviso
would have to be read in continuation of the first proviso and
therefore would not override the provision of the first proviso which requires the Assessing Officer to release the asset only
upon being satisfied with the source of its acquisition.
However, this further proviso puts a time limit, within which,
such asset must be released. The question of not releasing the
asset would arise only upon the decision on an application that
may have been made by the person concerned is taken by the
Assessing Officer. If no decision is taken, necessarily, the
option of the Assessing Officer to adjust such seized asset
would be confined to the existing liabilities. It is, in this context,
in our opinion, the legislature required the Assessing Officer to
follow the time limit scrupulously. In other words if the person
concerned has made an application for release of the asset
within the prescribed time, the authority can refuse such request
on the ground of not being satisfied about the source of its
acquisition. But if no such decision is taken within the time
envisaged in the further proviso, releasing of the asset becomes
imminent.
Somewhat similar question arose before this Court in case of
Mitaben R. Shah vs. Deputy Commissioner of Income tax and
anr (supra), in which also, the application for release of the
seized assets and books of accounts was decided after expiry of
120 days from the last of the authorizations. We may also refer to the decision of Division Bench of this
Court in case of Cowasjee Nusserwanji Dinshaw vs. Income
Tax Officer reported in 165 ITR page 702, in which, the Court
found that the books and documents of the assessee, which were
seized during search and seizure operation, were retained
beyond a period of 180 days without communicating the
reasons recorded by the Assessing Officer for such purpose.
The Court held that, continued retention of the books and
accounts and seized documents would, therefore, be illegal and
invalid. It can thus be seen that the Courts attach considerable
importance to the time frame provided under Sections 132A and
132B of the Act when it comes to a question of retention of
books of accounts or of seized assets. We cannot read the time limit provided in further proviso to Clause (i) of sub section (1)
of Section 132B of the Act as being merely directory. Any such
view would substantially water down the rigors of the statutory
provisions and would give an unlimited authority to the
Assessing Officer to retain the seized assets awaiting
finalization of future possible liability for indefinite period
without deciding the application of the person concerned who
may be perfectly legitimately in a position to explain the source
of the asset so seized. Facts, noted above, are rather glaring. The application of
the petitioner for the purpose of releasing of the seized asset,
which was made on 17.04.2014, came to be decided only on
20.07.2015 i.e. over one year later. In the meantime, the
petitioner had sent two reminders. Action of the Assessing
Officer cannot be countenanced. Impugned order dated
20.07.2015 is set aside. The seized cash shall be released in
favour of the petitioner alongwith interest as per the statute.