Commissioner Of Income Tax Xiii vs Radhey Shyam Bansal on 30 May, 2011

Delhi High Court
Commissioner Of Income Tax Xiii vs Radhey Shyam Bansal on 30 May, 2011
Author: Dipak Misra,Chief Justice
*       IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI


                                         Judgment reserved on: 23rd May, 2011

%                                     Judgment pronounced on: 30th May, 2011


+ 1. ITA No.582/2008

        THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX XIII ..... Appellant
                     Through: Mr.Sanjeev Sabharwal, Adv.

                         versus

        RADHEY SHYAM BANSAL                    ..... Respondent

Through: Mr. Salil Kapoor, Mr. Sanat Kapoor
and Mr.Anikit Gupta, Advs.

2. ITA No.398/2008

THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX ….. Appellant
Through: Mr.Sanjeev Sabharwal, Adv.

versus

ONE-UP SHARES & STOCK BROKING P. LTD… Respondent
Through: Ms. Kavita Jha, Adv.

3. ITA No.578/2008

THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX XIII ….. Appellant
Through: Mr.Sanjeev Sabharwal, Adv.


                         versus

ITA 582/2008 with connected matters                                   Page 1 of 47
         MANOJ BANSAL                                           ..... Respondent

Through: Mr. Salil Kapoor, Mr. Sanat Kapoor
and Mr.Anikit Gupta, Advs.

4. ITA No.583/2008

THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX XIII ….. Appellant
Through: Mr.Sanjeev Sabharwal, Adv.


                         versus

        SUKESH KUMAR GUPTA                                     ..... Respondent
                    Through:                 Mr. Salil Kapoor, Mr. Sanat Kapoor
                                             and Mr.Anikit Gupta, Advs.

5.      ITA No.287/2009

        THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX           ..... Appellant

Through: Ms. Prem Lata Bansal, Sr. Adv. with
Mr. Ruchir Bhatia, Adv.


                         versus

        SUDHIR DHINGRA                                         ..... Respondent
                     Through:                Mr. Salil Kapoor, Mr. Sanat Kapoor
                                             and Mr.Anikit Gupta, Advs.

6.      ITA No.355/2009

        THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX         ..... Appellant
                     Through: Ms. Suruchi Aggarwal, Adv.

                         versus




ITA 582/2008 with connected matters                                   Page 2 of 47
         GULSHAN KUMAR LUTHRA                   ..... Respondent

Through: Mr. Salil Kapoor, Mr. Sanat Kapoor
and Mr.Anikit Gupta, Advs.

7. ITA No.402/2009

THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX ….. Appellant
Through: Mr. Chandramani Bhardwaj, Adv.


                         versus

        SUKESH KUMAR GUPTA                              ..... Respondent
                    Through:          Mr. Salil Kapoor, Mr. Sanat Kapoor
                                      and Mr.Anikit Gupta, Advs.

8.      ITA No.670/2009

        THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX         ..... Appellant

Through: Mr. Chandramani Bhardwaj, Adv.


                         versus

        ANIL KUMAR BANSAL                               ..... Respondent
                     Through:         None.

9.      ITA No.711/2009

THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX XIII ….. Appellant
Through: Mr. Chandramani Bhardwaj, Adv.


                         versus

        SADHU RAM AGGARWAL                     ..... Respondent

Through: Mr. Salil Kapoor, Mr. Sanat Kapoor
and Mr.Anikit Gupta, Advs.

ITA 582/2008 with connected matters Page 3 of 47

10. ITA No.857/2009

THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX VIII ….. Appellant
Through: Mr. Chandramani Bhardwaj, Adv.

                versus

        H.P. GOEL                                    ..... Respondent
                                  Through:   None.

11.     ITA No.1075/2009

THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX XIII ….. Appellant
Through: Mr. Chandramani Bhardwaj, Adv.


                         versus

        BHARAT BHUSHAN JAIN                          ..... Respondent
                    Through:                 None.

12.     ITA No.1279/2009

        THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX         ..... Appellant
                     Through: Mr.Sanjeev Sabharwal, Adv.

                         versus

        S.P. BHAGAT AND SONS HUF                 ..... Respondent

Through: Mr. Salil Kapoor, Mr. Sanat Kapoor
and Mr.Anikit Gupta, Advs.

13. ITA No.149/2010

THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX ….. Appellant
Through: Mr.Sanjeev Sabharwal, Adv.

versus
ITA 582/2008 with connected matters Page 4 of 47
SMT. BADAMI DEVI BAFNA ….. Respondent
Through: Dr. Rakesh Gupta, Mr. Ashwani
Tanjeja, Ms. Poonam Ahuja & Mr.
Johnson Bora, ADvs.

14. ITA No.154/2010

THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX XIII ….. Appellant
Through: Mr. Abhishek Maratha, Adv.

versus

CHAMUNDA SECURITIES PVT. LTD. ….. Respondent
Through: None.

15. ITA No.748/2010

THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX XIII ….. Appellant
Through: Mr. Abhishek Maratha, Adv.


                         versus

        VEENA GUPTA                                  ..... Respondent
                                  Through:   None.

16.     ITA No.279/2010

THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX XIII ….. Appellant
Through: Ms. Prem Lata Bansal, Sr. Adv. with
Mr. Ruchir Bhatia, Adv.

                versus

        SANJAY RAI CHOWDHARY                    ..... Respondent
                     Through: Dr. Rakesh Gupta, Mr. Ashwani
                              Tanjeja, Ms. Poonam Ahuja & Mr.
                              Johnson Bora, ADvs.

ITA 582/2008 with connected matters                         Page 5 of 47
 17.     ITA No.1145/2010

        THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX           ..... Appellant

Through: Ms. Prem Lata Bansal, Sr. Adv. with
Mr. Ruchir Bhatia, Adv.


                         versus

        RASHMI MONGA                                    ..... Respondent
                    Through:          Mr. Salil Kapoor, Mr. Sanat Kapoor
                                      and Mr.Anikit Gupta, Advs.

18.     ITA No.196/2010

        THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX         ..... Appellant
                     Through: Mr.Sanjeev Sabharwal, Adv.

                         versus

        MS. ANU AGGARWAL                                ..... Respondent
                     Through:         None.

19.     ITA No.655/2010

        THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX         ..... Appellant
                     Through: Mr.Sanjeev Sabharwal, Adv.

                         versus

        GOLDEDGE ESTATES AND
        INVESTIMENTS LTD.                       ..... Respondent
                     Through: Dr. Rakesh Gupta, Mr. Ashwani
                              Tanjeja, Ms. Poonam Ahuja & Mr.
                              Johnson Bora, ADvs.


ITA 582/2008 with connected matters                            Page 6 of 47
 20.     ITA No.1420/2010

        THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX         ..... Appellant
                     Through: Ms. Suruchi Aggarwal, Adv.


                         versus

        RAGHUBIR SINGH GARGH                    ..... Respondent
                     Through: Dr. Rakesh Gupta, Mr. Ashwani
                              Tanjeja, Ms. Poonam Ahuja & Mr.
                              Johnson Bora, ADvs.

21.     ITA No.1421/2010

        THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX        ..... Appellant
                     Through: Mr.Abhishek Maratha, Adv.

                         versus

        SECURITIES BROKERS OF INDIA LTD.          ..... Respondent
                      Through: None.

22.     ITA No.550/2010

        THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX           ..... Appellant

Through: Ms. Prem Lata Bansal, Sr. Adv. with
Mr. Ruchir Bhatia, Adv.

versus

VYOM FINANCIAL SERVICES PVT. LTD. ….. Respondent
Through: Mr. Salil Kapoor, Mr. Sanat Kapoor
and Mr.Anikit Gupta, Advs.

ITA 582/2008 with connected matters Page 7 of 47

23. ITA No.554/2010

THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX ….. Appellant
Through: Ms. Prem Lata Bansal, Sr. Adv. with
Mr. Ruchir Bhatia, Adv.

versus

VYOM FINANCIAL SERVICE PVT. LTD. ….. Respondent
Through: Mr. Salil Kapoor, Mr. Sanat Kapoor
and Mr.Anikit Gupta, Advs.

24. ITA No.1313/2010

THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX ….. Appellant
Through: Ms. Prem Lata Bansal, Sr. Adv. with
Mr. Ruchir Bhatia, Adv.



                         versus

        MONIKA SAXENA                                ..... Respondent
                    Through:          None.

25.     ITA No.1326/2010

        THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX           ..... Appellant

Through: Ms. Prem Lata Bansal, Sr. Adv. with
Mr. Ruchir Bhatia, Adv.


                         versus

        MONIKA SAXENA                                ..... Respondent
                    Through:          None.




ITA 582/2008 with connected matters                         Page 8 of 47
 26.     ITA No.777/2010

        THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX           ..... Appellant

Through: Ms. Prem Lata Bansal, Sr. Adv. with
Mr. Ruchir Bhatia, Adv.


                         versus

        GALLRI DEVI                                            ..... Respondent
                                  Through:   None.

27.     ITA No.75/2010

        THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX         ..... Appellant
                     Through: Mr. Abhishek Maratha, Adv.

                         versus

        MADHU GUPTA                                           ..... Respondent
                                  Through:   Mr.Manu K. Giri and Mr.Rajesh
                                             Mahna, Advs.
28.     ITA No.198/2010

        THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX         ..... Appellant
                     Through: Mr.Sanjeev Sabharwal, Adv.

                         versus

        GAURI SHANKAR AGGARWAL                                 ..... Respondent
                    Through: None.

29.     ITA No.237/2010

        THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX        ..... Appellant
                     Through: Mr.Abhishek Maratha, Adv.

ITA 582/2008 with connected matters                                   Page 9 of 47
                          versus

        PRASAD AND CO. PVT. LTD.                  ..... Respondent
                     Through: None.

30.     ITA No.374/2010

        THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX        ..... Appellant
                     Through: Mr.Abhishek Maratha, Adv.

                         versus

M/S SHRI CHAMUNDA SECURITIES PVT. LTD…… Respondent
Through: None.

31. ITA No.212/2011

THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX ….. Appellant
Through: Ms. Prem Lata Bansal, Sr. Adv. with
Mr. Ruchir Bhatia, Adv.

versus

UDDHAN PROPERTIES LTD. ….. Respondent
Through: None.

32. ITA No.53/2009

THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX ….. Appellant
Through: Ms. Suruchi Aggarwal, Adv.


                         versus

        SMT. KULDEEP KAUR                         ..... Respondent
                     Through:         None.

ITA 582/2008 with connected matters                      Page 10 of 47
 33.     ITA No.102/2009

        THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX         ..... Appellant
                     Through: Ms. Suruchi Aggarwal, Adv.

                         versus

        LAKHBIR SINGH (HUF)                                    ..... Respondent
                     Through:                Mr. Salil Kapoor, Mr. Sanat Kapoor
                                             and Mr.Anikit Gupta, Advs.

34.     ITA No.477/2009

        THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX           ..... Appellant

Through: Mr. Chandramani Bhardwaj, Adv.

                versus

        LAJ BHAGAT                                            ..... Respondent
                                  Through:   Mr.Manu K. Giri and Mr.Rajesh
                                             Mahna, Advs.

35.     ITA No.483/2009

        THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX           ..... Appellant

Through: Ms. Prem Lata Bansal, Sr. Adv. with
Mr. Ruchir Bhatia, Adv.


                         versus

        NARENDER UPPAL                                         ..... Respondent
                    Through:                 Mr. Salil Kapoor, Mr. Sanat Kapoor
                                             and Mr.Anikit Gupta, Advs.




ITA 582/2008 with connected matters                                   Page 11 of 47
 36.     ITA No.611/2009

        THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX           ..... Appellant

Through: Ms. Prem Lata Bansal, Sr. Adv. with
Mr. Ruchir Bhatia, Adv.


                         versus

        RAJAT BHANDARI                                 ..... Respondent
                    Through:          Mr.Manu K. Giri and Mr.Rajesh
                                      Mahna, Advs.

37.     ITA No.822/2009

        THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX           ..... Appellant

Through: Ms. Prem Lata Bansal, Sr. Adv. with
Mr. Ruchir Bhatia, Adv.


                         versus

        PARAMJIT SINGH                                  ..... Respondent
                     Through:         Mr. Salil Kapoor, Mr. Sanat Kapoor
                                      and Mr.Anikit Gupta, Advs.

38.     ITA No.996/2009

        THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX           ..... Appellant

Through: Ms. Prem Lata Bansal, Sr. Adv. with
Mr. Ruchir Bhatia, Adv.



                         versus

        ALKA BHANDARI                                   ..... Respondent
                    Through:          Mr. Salil Kapoor, Mr. Sanat Kapoor
                                      and Mr.Anikit Gupta, Advs.
ITA 582/2008 with connected matters                            Page 12 of 47
 39.     ITA No.1064/2009

        THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX           ..... Appellant

Through: Ms. Prem Lata Bansal, Sr. Adv. with
Mr. Ruchir Bhatia, Adv.


                         versus

        V.K. NARANG HUF                                        ..... Respondent
                     Through:                Mr. Salil Kapoor, Mr. Sanat Kapoor
                                             and Mr.Anikit Gupta, Advs.

40.     ITA No.1098/2009

        THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX         ..... Appellant
                     Through: Ms. Suruchi Aggarwal, Adv.

                         versus

        S.S. DHANJAL                                          ..... Respondent
                                  Through:   Mr.Manu K. Giri and Mr.Rajesh
                                             Mahna, Advs.

41.     ITA No.1119/2009

        THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX         ..... Appellant
                     Through: Mr.Sanjeev Sabharwal, Adv.

                         versus

        ANITA AGGARWAL                                         ..... Respondent
                    Through:                 Mr. Salil Kapoor, Mr. Sanat Kapoor
                                             and Mr.Anikit Gupta, Advs.


ITA 582/2008 with connected matters                                   Page 13 of 47
 42.     ITA No.1163/2009

        THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX           ..... Appellant

Through: Ms. Prem Lata Bansal, Sr. Adv. with
Mr. Ruchir Bhatia, Adv.

versus

ASHOK KUMAR AND SONS HUF ….. Respondent
Through: None.

43. ITA No.1318/2009

THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX ….. Appellant
Through: Mr. Chandramani Bhardwaj, Adv.


                         versus

        SUNIL JAIN                                   ..... Respondent
                                  Through:   None.

44.     ITA No.1329/2009

        THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX               ..... Appellant
                     Through: None.

                         versus

        RENU VERMA                                   ..... Respondent
                                  Through:   None.

45.     ITA No.1373/2009

        THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX         ..... Appellant

Through: Mr. Chandramani Bhardwaj, Adv.


ITA 582/2008 with connected matters                          Page 14 of 47
                          versus

        SUNIL JAIN                                          ..... Respondent
                                  Through:   None.


         CORAM:
         HON'BLE THE CHIEF JUSTICE
         HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE SANJIV KHANNA

1. Whether reporters of the local papers be allowed to see the             Yes
   judgment?
2. To be referred to the Reporter or not?                                  Yes
3. Whether the judgment should be reported in the Digest?                  Yes


DIPAK MISRA, CJ


In this batch of appeals under Section 260A of the Income Tax Act,

1961 (for brevity ‗the Act’) preferred by the revenue. ITA No.582/2008,

Commissioner of Income Tax v. Radhey Shyam Bansal has been treated as

the lead case. It is stated that the relevant facts in all appeals are

identical/similar, though details and particulars may be different. Four

questions have been set out as substantial questions of law, but in the course

of hearing, learned counsel appearing for the revenue have stated that the

real questions that emerge for consideration are as follows:

ITA 582/2008 with connected matters Page 15 of 47

―A. Whether the Assessing Officer is bound to record satisfaction

within the meaning of Section 158BD of the Act, during the

process of Assessment of the person searched under Section

158BC of the Act?

B. Whether satisfaction as contemplated in Section 158BD of the

Act has been duly recorded regard being had to be letter dated

15.7.2003 or in the assessment order, wherein undisclosed

income of the respondent-assessee has been reflected and

negation of such satisfaction by the Income Tax Appellate

Tribunal is erroneous and perverse for not accepting such

satisfaction?‖

2. At the very outset, we may set out the facts from ITA No.582/2008

for the sake of clarity and convenience. As is evincible from the narration,

there was a search under Section 132 of the Act in the premises of one

Manoj Aggarwal of Baldev Park, Delhi on 30.8.2000. In the course of the

search, several materials were seized on the basis of which a block

assessment was completed in the case of Manoj Aggarwal under Section

ITA 582/2008 with connected matters Page 16 of 47
158BC of the Act on 29.8.2002. On 15.7.2003, a letter was sent by the

assessing officer of Manoj Aggarwal to the assessing officer of the

respondent – assessee, namely, Radhey Shyam Bansal to the effect that the

said assessee was acting as a mediator in transactions involving substantial

tax evasion by giving bogus accommodation entries to various persons.

3. After receipt of the communication from the assessing officer of

Manoj Aggarwal, the assessing officer of the respondent sent a notice on

22.3.2004 purportedly under Section 158B of the Act. The respondent was

called upon to file a block return within 30 days of the receipt of the notice.

The respondent, as is evident, filed the requisite return for the period from

the assessment year 1991-92 to the assessment year 2001-02 (upto the

30.8.2000, the date of search) in the prescribed form declaring the income at

Rs. Nil as undisclosed income. The assessing officer framed an order of

assessment and determined that there was undisclosed income earned by

way of commission of Rs.50,85,315/-. In addition, he also included

Rs.9,81,29,575/- as unexplained investment under Section 69 of the Act on

protective basis on the footing that the assessee had paid cash to Manoj

Aggarwal.

ITA 582/2008 with connected matters Page 17 of 47

4. Being dissatisfied with the order of assessment, the respondent

preferred an appeal before CIT (Appeals) putting forth number of

contentions including the submission that the notice under Section 158B

was barred by limitation; that the assessing officer assessing the searched

person (Manoj Aggarwal) had not recorded any satisfaction under Section

158BD; that no opportunity to cross-examine the person on the basis of

whose statement allegations were made against him; that no opportunity was

afforded to him to rebut the material collected and utilized against him; and

that the rate of commission adopted by the assessing officer was totally

exaggerated and not based on any material evidence on record.

5. The CIT (A) did not accept the contentions of the respondent –

assessee that no satisfaction was recorded by the assessing officer in the

case of the searched person. The first appellate authority took note of the

fact that the assessing officer assessing Manoj Aggarwal had communicated

vide letter dated 15.7.2003 to the assessing officer having jurisdiction over

the assessee, in which he had mentioned that the diaries seized from the

possession of Manoj Aggarwal which established that the assessee Radhey

Shyam Bansal was a mediator who had provided book entries to various
ITA 582/2008 with connected matters Page 18 of 47
beneficiaries; and that there was evidence of cash amounts were received by

Manoj Aggawal from Radhey Shyam Bansal. On the aforesaid basis, the

CIT(A) came to the conclusion that the communication dated 15.7.2003

amounted to the satisfaction of the assessing officer assessing the searched

person as required by Section 158BD. Be it noted, the other contentions

raised by the respondent were also negatived.

6. Grieved by the aforesaid order of the CIT(A), the respondent –

assessee approached the tribunal in IT(SS) A.No.12/Del/2007 and in the

appeal it was urged that the notice under Section 158BD was not issued

within a reasonable period of time inasmuch as a period of nearly 19 months

had elapsed from the date of completion of block assessment of Manoj

Aggarwal before the notice under Section 158BD issued; that no satisfaction

was recorded by the assessing officer assessing Manoj Aggarwal as required

under Section 158BD of the Act; that the letter dated 15.7.2003 written by

the said assessing officer to the assessing officer having jurisdiction over the

respondent -assessee was written much after the block assessment was

completed in the case of Manoj Aggarwal, which was against the statutory

provision and in any case, no satisfaction was discernible from the said
ITA 582/2008 with connected matters Page 19 of 47
letter; that the order of assessment was vitiated being violative of principle

of natural justice since the assessing officer had collected material behind

the back of the assessee without confronting the assessee with the same for

rebuttal; and that the order of assessment had travelled beyond the seized

materials.

7. The aforesaid contentions of the assessee-respondent before the

tribunal was resisted by the revenue contending, inter alia, the recording of

satisfaction was in accord with the stipulations enshrined in Section 158BD

of the Act; that the initiation of the proceeding was done within a reasonable

period of time; that the principles of natural justice had been religiously

followed; and that the order of assessment did not suffer from any infirmity.

8. The tribunal, considering the contentions of the learned counsel for

the parties and upon scrutiny of the documents brought on record, posed the

question whether recording of satisfaction by the assessing officer assessing

the person searched under Section 132 of the Act that any undisclosed

income belongs to any person other than the searched person is mandatory

or not. The tribunal relying on the decision in Manish Maheshwari v.

ITA 582/2008 with connected matters Page 20 of 47
Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax & anr., (2007) 289 ITR 341 (SC),

came to hold that no satisfaction had been recorded by the assessing officer

assessing Manoj Aggarwal, as there is no reflection of satisfaction in the

order of assessment, and further the notice dated 22.3.2004 issued under

Section 158BC read with Section 158BD did not refer to any satisfaction of

the assessing officer of Manoj Aggarwal. It is noteworthy that the tribunal

referred to the satisfaction note dated 22.3.2004 which is a note recorded by

the assessing officer of the assessee – respondent but not that of the

assessing officer of Manoj Aggarwal who is the searched person. The

tribunal also referred to the letter dated 15.7.2003 written by DCIT Central,

New Delhi the assessing officer having jurisdiction on Manoj Aggarwal to

the assessing officer of the respondent-assessee and came to hold that the

assessing officer of Manoj Aggarwal could not have made such a

communication after the assessment of the person searched was completed.

Be it noted, to arrive at the said conclusion the tribunal placed reliance on

the decision rendered by the Co-ordinate Bench at Chandigarh in the case of

ACIT, Yamunanagar vs. Kishore Lal Balwant Rai, Jagdhari decided on

29.6.2007. In the view of the tribunal, the assessing officer of Manoj

ITA 582/2008 with connected matters Page 21 of 47
Aggarwal had become functus officio on passing the assessment order and

hence, could not have recorded any satisfaction. After so holding, the

tribunal proceeded to enquire whether the notice under Section 158B

required to be issued within a reasonable time and there was delay rendering

the whole proceeding vulnerable in law. The tribunal took note of the fact

that the block assessment of Manoj Aggarwal was completed on 29.8.2002

but the notice to the respondent-assessee under Section 158BD was issued

only on 22.3.2004, i.e., after 19 months later. The tribunal placing reliance

on the decision in Khandubhai Vasanji Desai and others v. DCIT, (1999)

236 ITR 73 (Gujarat) came to hold that notice was issued well beyond a

reasonable period.

9. Being of the aforesaid view, the tribunal set aside the order of

assessment, which had been concurred with by the first appellate authority,

and allowed the appeal preferred by the assessee.

10. Regard being had to the questions framed, we are only required to

address whether the recording of satisfaction of the assessing officer of

Manoj Aggarwal is mandatory and further whether in the facts and

ITA 582/2008 with connected matters Page 22 of 47
circumstances of the case the satisfaction has been recorded.

11. In the case of Manish Maheshwari (supra), a two-Judge Bench of the

Apex Court dealt with invocation of provision of block assessment against a

person other than the person whose premises were searched under Section

132 of the Act. Their Lordships referred to Section 132 and sub-section

(1A) of Section 132, Rule 112 of the IT Rules, 1962 and came to hold as

follows:

―6. Search and seizure is to be made in terms of r.112
of the IT Rules, 1962. For the purpose of invoking the
said provision, special procedure for assessment is laid
down in Chapter XIV-B, the conditions precedent where
for as laid down must be satisfied. Secs.158BC and
158BD read as under:

―158BC. Procedure for block assessment. – Where
any search has been conducted under s.132 or
books of account, other documents or assets are
requisitioned under s. 132A, in the case of any
person, then:

(a) the AO shall –

(i) in respect of search initiated or books of
accounts or other documents or any assets
requisitioned after the 30th day of June, 1995 but
before the 1st day of January, 1997, serve a notice
to such person requiring him to furnish within such
time not being less than fifteen days;

ITA 582/2008 with connected matters Page 23 of 47

(ii) in respect of search initiated or books of
accounts or other documents or any assets
requisitioned on or after the 1st day of January,
1997 serve a notice to such person requiring him to
furnish within such time not being less than fifteen
days but not more than forty-five days;
as may be specified in the notice a return in the
prescribed form and verified in the same manner as
a return under cl. (1) of sub-s. (1) of s.142, setting
forth his total income including the undisclosed
income for the block period:

Provided that no notice under s. 148 is required to
be issued for the purpose of proceeding under this
Chapter:

Provided further that a person who has furnished a
return under this clause shall not be entitled to file
a revised return;

(b) the AO shall proceed to determine the
undisclosed income of the block period in the
manner laid down in s.158BB and the provisions
of s.142, sub-ss. (2) and (3) of s.143 and s.144
shall, so far as may be, apply;

(c) the AO, on determination of the undisclosed
income of the block period in accordance with this
Chapter, shall pass an order of assessment and
determine the tax payable by him on the basis of
such assessment;

(d) the assets seized under s.132 or
requisitioned under s. 132A shall be retained to the
extent necessary and the provisions of s.132B shall
apply subject to such modifications as may be

ITA 582/2008 with connected matters Page 24 of 47
necessary and the references to ‗regular
assessment’ or ‗reassessment’ in s.132B shall be
construed as references to ‗block assessment’.‖

―158BD. Undisclosed income of any other person –
Where the AO is satisfied that any undisclosed
income belongs to any person, other than the
person with respect to whom search was made
under s.132 or whose books of account or other
documents or any assets were requisitioned under
s.132A, then, the books of account, other
documents or assets seized or requisitioned shall
be handed over to the AO having jurisdiction over
such other person and that AO shall proceed
against such other person and the provisions of this
Chapter shall apply accordingly.‖

7. Condition precedent for invoking a block
assessment is that a search has been conducted under
s.132, or documents or assets have been requisitioned
under s.132A. The said provision would apply in the case
of any person in respect of whom search has been carried
out under s.132A or documents or assets have been
requisitioned under s.132A. Sec. 158BD, however,
provides for taking recourse to a block assessment in
terms of s.158BC in respect of any other person, the
conditions precedent where for are : (i) Satisfaction must
be recorded by the AO that any undisclosed income
belongs to any person, other than the person with respect
to whom search was made under s.132 of the Act; (ii)
The books of account or other documents or assets seized
or requisitioned had been handed over to the AO having
jurisdiction over such other person; and (iii) The AO has
proceeded under s.158BC against such other person.

The conditions precedent for invoking the provisions of

ITA 582/2008 with connected matters Page 25 of 47
s.158BD, thus, are required to be satisfied before the
provisions of the said chapter are applied in relation to
any person other than the person whose premises had
been searched or whose documents and other assets had
been requisitioned under s.132A of the Act.

8. A taxing statute, as is well-known, must be
construed strictly. In Sneh Enterprises v. Commissioner
of Customs,
(2006) 7 SCC 714, it was held:

―While dealing with a taxing provision, the
principle of ‘strict interpretation’ should be applied.
The Court shall not interpret the statutory
provision in such a manner which would create an
additional fiscal burden on a person. It would
never be done by invoking the provisions of
another Act, which are not attracted. It is also trite
that while two interpretations are possible, the
Court ordinarily would interpret the provisions in
favour of a tax-payer and against the Revenue.‖

9. Yet again in J. Srinivasa Rao v. Govt. of A.P. and
Anr. 2006 (13) SCALE 27, it was held:

―In a case of doubt or dispute, it is well-settled,
construction has to be made in favour of the
taxpayer and against the Revenue.‖

10. In Ispat Industries Ltd. v. Commr. of Customs JT
2006 (12) SC 379 : 2006 (9) SCALE 652, this Court
opined:

“In our opinion if there are two possible
interpretations of a rule, one which subserves the
object of a provision in the parent statute and the
other which does not, we have to adopt the former,
because adopting the latter will make the rule ultra

ITA 582/2008 with connected matters Page 26 of 47
vires the Act.‖

11. Law in this regard is clear and explicit. The only
question which arises for our consideration is as to
whether the notice dated 06.02.1996 satisfies the
requirements of s.158BD of the Act. The said notice does
not record any satisfaction on the part of the AO.
Documents and other assets recovered during search had
not been handed over to the AO having jurisdiction in the
matter.

X X X X

16. As the AO has not recorded its satisfaction, which is
mandatory; nor has it transferred the case to the AO
having jurisdiction over the matter, we are of the opinion
that the impugned judgments of the High Court cannot be
sustained, which are set aside accordingly. The appeals
are allowed. However, in the facts and circumstances of
the case, there shall be no order as to costs.‖

12. On a perusal of the aforesaid decision, it is graphically clear that the

recording of satisfaction by the assessing officer of the searched person is a

condition precedent. Satisfaction must be recorded by the said assessing

officer that any undisclosed income belongs to any person, other than the

person searched. Thereafter the assessing officer of the third person can

proceed against his assessee under Section 158BC. The documents, books

of accounts or assets seized or requisitioned have to be handed over to the

assessing officer of the third person.

ITA 582/2008 with connected matters Page 27 of 47

13. Once, it is held that the recording of satisfaction as per the ratio laid

down in Manish Maheshwari (supra) is a condition precedent, it is to be

seen whether any such satisfaction of the assessing officer of Manoj

Aggarwal is perceivable from the record. Learned counsel for the revenue

has invited our attention to the order of assessment order of Manoj

Aggarwal, the letter issued by the assessing officer dated 15.7.2003 and the

note appended to the assessment order to build the edifice that the

satisfaction was recorded and the tribunal has erroneously come to hold that

there was no satisfaction. Learned counsel for the revenue has criticized the

finding of the tribunal that the assessing officer had become functus officio

after a particular stage. Mr. Salil Kapoor, learned counsel for the

respondent fairly stated that this Court may not address the issue whether

the assessing officer of Manoj Aggarwal had become functus officio or not

and may only dwell upon the issue whether there is recording of satisfaction

on the basis of the material brought on record. It is contended by him that

note dated 29.8.2002 which is purported to have been written by the

assessing officer of Manoj Aggarwal was not relied before the tribunal or by

the CIT(A). Additional/new evidence cannot be produced before the High

ITA 582/2008 with connected matters Page 28 of 47
Court for the first time without any application under Order 41 Rule 27 of

the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. Further this note is an antedated one and

such a finding has been recorded by the tribunal in SMC Share Brokers Ltd.

v. Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax in ITA No.250/Del/2005, (2007)

109 TTJ (Del) 700. Learned counsel would contend that the said order

passed by the tribunal was challenged before this Court, wherein the

Division Bench had dismissed the appeal and the revenue had chosen not to

challenge the finding recorded by the tribunal and, therefore, the said note

cannot be placed reliance upon. This decision of the Division Bench is

reported in Commissioner of Income Tax v. SMC Share Brokers Ltd.

(2007) 288 ITR 345 (Del).

14. To appreciate the controversy, first we shall refer to the order of

assessment framed against the Manoj Aggarwal, the person who has

searched. Learned counsel for the revenue has drawn our attention to

paragraph 2.7 to 2.10 from the order of block assessment order in case of

Manoj Aggarwal which was framed on 29.8.2008. The said paragraphs read

as under:

ITA 582/2008 with connected matters Page 29 of 47

―2.7 Apart from the admission of Sh. Manoj Aggarwal,
the various documents seized during the course of search
details of which are given below further established that
he is a name lender involved in the business of giving
accommodation entries. Sh.Manoj Aggarwal has
accepted all these papers to be related to his business of
accommodation book entries.

2.8 Annexures A-16, A-18 & A-36 seized from the
premises at 5A/12, Ansari Road, Daryaganj, Delhi are
cashbooks of the business of accommodation entries.
These give details of the cash received on the receipts
side and the utilization thereof on the payments side.
2.9 Annexure A-19, A-20 & A-21 seized from the
premises at 5A/12, Ansari Road, Daryaganj, Delhi are
ledger accounts of the mediators through whom the
transactions of accommodation entries has been arranged.
These ledgers give the details of the name of the
mediator, the date on which the cheque is issued, the
name of the beneficiary, the cheque no., the amount
thereof and the bank and branch from which it is issued.
2.10 Various pages of Annexures A-1, A-8, A-10, A-
11, A-12, A-15 & A-36 seized from the premises at
5A/12, Ansari Road, Daryaganj, Delhi, various pages of
Annexure A-1 seized from the residence of Sh. Manoj
Aggarwal at C-25/2, East Baldev Park, Delhi, Annexure
A-2 seized from the office of Sh.Manoj Aggarwal at
7/22, Ansari Road, Daryaganj, Delhi are reconciliation
accounts of the various mediators. These accounts give
the details of the cash received from the mediators and
the details of the cheques issued to the various
beneficiaries.‖

15. On a perusal of the aforesaid, we do not perceive any satisfaction by

ITA 582/2008 with connected matters Page 30 of 47
the assessing officer of Manoj Aggarwal that any undisclosed income

belongs to the respondent assessee. The said satisfaction is not reflected or

stated in the said paragraphs.

16. Presently, we shall proceed to deal with the communication sent by

the assessing officer of Manoj Aggarwal to the assessing officer of the

respondent – assessee. The said letter is dated 15.7.2003. The said letter

indicates that a communication was made by the assessing officer of Manoj

Aggarwal to the assessing officer assessing the respondent-assessee to the

effect that the assessee was acting as a mediator in the transactions

involving substantial tax evasion by giving bogus accommodation entries to

various persons. It is submitted by Mr.Kapoor, learned counsel for the

assessee that the said letter does not remotely suggest any satisfaction. In

fact the revenue has also not treated this letter as recording of satisfaction,

but the letter is a mere communication.

17. The letter/communication dated 15.7.2003 by the assessing of Manoj

Aggarwal to the assessing officer of the respondent assessee reads as

follows:

ITA 582/2008 with connected matters Page 31 of 47

―1) Various diaries have been seized from the
possession of Sh. Manoj Aggarwal which establish that
Radhey Shyam Bansal is a mediator for providing
accommodation book entries by Sh. Manoj Aggarwal.
The quantum of transaction done by him as per these
documents is given in Annexure-A. Photocopies of these
paper are enclosed in Annexure-B.

2) There are evidences of cash having been received
by Mr. Manoj Aggarwal from Radhey Shyam Bansal.
The summary of the amounts so received as per various
seized documents is given in Annexure-C. The
photocopies of these documents are provided as per
Annexure-D.‖

18. Before we advert to and analyse whether the letter dated 15.7.2003

really conveys satisfaction as is understood in the anatomical base of the

provision and also under the backdrop of terms satisfaction mean in law we

think it appropriate to refer to Section 158BD of the Act. The said provision

has already been reproduced in the decision in Manish Maheshwari (supra).

19. On a plain reading of the aforesaid provision, it is vivid that for the

purpose of initiation of block assessment proceeding against a third person

in respect of whom search has not been conducted certain conditions

precedents are to be followed and they are mandatory. They have to be

ITA 582/2008 with connected matters Page 32 of 47
construed and complied absolutely strictly. The first pre-condition as the

provision envisages is that the assessing officer of the person searched has

to be satisfied that some undisclosed income belongs to a third person.

Thus, the relevant expressions pertaining to condition precedent are

―undisclosed income‖ and ―which belongs to a person other than the person

searched‖. As in the case at hand, we are actually concerned with the

satisfaction we think it appropriate to refer to the said terms, namely,

―undisclosed income‖ which have been defined in Section 158-B(b) which

reads as follows:

―158-B. Definitions.–In this Chapter, unless the context
otherwise requires,–

(b) ―undisclosed income‖ includes any money,
bullion, jewellery or other valuable article or thing or any
income based on any entry in the books of account or
other documents or transactions, where such money,
bullion, jewellery, valuable article, thing, entry in the
books of account or other document or transaction
represents wholly or partly income or property which has
not been or would not have been disclosed for the
purposes of this Act [, or any expense, deduction or
allowance claimed under this Act which is found to be
false].‖

ITA 582/2008 with connected matters Page 33 of 47

20. The aforesaid definition is on a broad canvass. It not only includes

income which has not been disclosed but income which would not have

been disclosed by a third person. It must be income and can be money,

bullion, jewellery or valuable articles or thing which has not been disclosed

by the third person and would not have been disclosed by the third person

under the Act. It can include entry in the books of account or document or

transaction which represents wholly or partly income or profit which has not

been disclosed or would not have been disclosed under the Act by the third

person. After amendment of Section 158B(b) by Finance Act 2002 with

retrospective effect from 1st July, 1995, it can also include an expense,

deduction or allowance which is found to be false.

21. The word ‗satisfaction’ has not been defined in the Act. The

‗satisfaction’ by its very nature must precede before the papers/documents

are sent by the Assessing Officer of the person searched to the Assessing

Officer of the third person. Mere use or mention of the word ‗satisfaction’

in the order/note will not meet the requirement of concept of satisfaction as

used in Section 158BD. The satisfaction has to be in writing and can be

gathered from the assessment order, if it is so mentioned/recorded, or from

ITA 582/2008 with connected matters Page 34 of 47
any other order, note or record maintained by the Assessing Officer of the

person searched. The word ―satisfaction‖ refers to the state of mind of the

Assessing Officer of the person searched, which gets reflected in a tangible

shape/form when it is reduced into writing. It is the conclusion drawn or the

finding recorded on the foundation of the material available. The word

‗satisfied’ occurs in many a statute and has its connotation. The term ―is

satisfied‖ means simply makes up its mind [per Lord Pearson in Blyth v.

Bivth (1966) 1 ALL E.R. 524 (541)]. Dixon J. has defined it as ‗actual

persuasion’. It fundamentally means a mind not troubled by doubt or to

adopt the language of Smith J. ‗a mind which has reached a clear

conclusion’ (see Angland v. Payne (1944) N.Z.L.R. 610 (626). The

Assessing Officer is satisfied when he makes his mind or reaches a clear

conclusion when he takes a prima facie view that the material available

establishes ‗undisclosed income’ of a third party. Assessing Officer must

reach a clear conclusion that good ground exists for the Assessing Officer

of the third person to initiate proceedings as material before him shows or

would establish ‗undisclosed income’ of a third person. At this stage, as the

proceedings are at the very initial state, the ‗satisfaction’ neither is required

ITA 582/2008 with connected matters Page 35 of 47
to be firm or conclusive. The ‗satisfaction’ required is to decide whether or

not block assessment proceedings are required to be initiated. But

‗satisfaction’ has to be founded on reasonableness. It cannot be capricious

satisfaction. Though, it is a subjective satisfaction, it must be capable of

being tested on objective parameters. The opinion though tentative,

however, cannot be a product of imagination or speculation. It cannot be

spacious or mercurial. It should not be a mere pretence and should be made

in good faith rather than suspicion. Reliability, credibility or for that matter

what weight has to be attached to the material, depends upon the subjective

satisfaction of the Assessing Officer but definitely it is subject to scrutiny

whether the satisfaction has a rational nexus or a relevant bearing to the

formation of satisfaction and is not extraneous or irrelevant. The

satisfaction must reflect rational connection with or relevant bearing

between the material available and undisclosed income of the third person.

The rational connection postulates and requires satisfaction of the Assessing

Officer that a third person has ‗undisclosed income’ on the basis of evidence

or material before him. The material itself should not be vague, indefinite,

distinct or remote. If there is no rational or intangible nexus between the

ITA 582/2008 with connected matters Page 36 of 47
material and the satisfaction that a third person has ‗undisclosed income’,

the conclusion would not deserve acceptation. Then the satisfaction is

vitiated. It is to this limited extent that the satisfaction can be gone into and

examined. The satisfaction though subjective, must meet the aforesaid

criteria.

22. While defining the scope and ambit of Section 158BD of the Act, we

have followed the rationale and judgments of the Supreme Court under

Section 147 of the Act. Section 158BD uses the word ‗satisfaction’, while

Section 147 uses the words ‗reason to believe’. But the underline role of the

Assessing Officer and the principle, requirement or pre-conditions are the

same.

23. In view of the aforesaid legal position we can now examine the letter

dated 15th July, 2003 which was communicated by the Assessing Officer of

the searched assessee to the assessing officer of the respondent. The

question is whether the aforesaid letter can be regarded as ―satisfaction‖ as

required under Section 158BD, i.e. satisfaction of the Assessing Officer of

Manoj Aggarwal that there is material that the respondent assessee had

ITA 582/2008 with connected matters Page 37 of 47
undisclosed income. The first paragraph of the aforesaid letter states that the

diary seized from the possession of Manoj Aggarwal establishes that the

respondent assessee had acted as a mediator for providing accommodation

book entries by Manoj Aggarwal. The second sentence in the first

paragraph states that the quantum of transactions as shown in the documents

were enclosed as Annexure-A and the photocopies of the papers were

enclosed as Annexure-B. The second paragraph states that there was

evidence that cash was received by Manoj Aggarwal from the respondent

and the summary of the amounts received as per the seized documents was

given in Annexure C and the photocopies of the documents were annexed as

Annexure-D. It is accepted that Annexures A, B, C & D, referred to in this

letter were not filed before the tribunal and have not been produced before

us. It is conceded by the learned counsel for the revenue that they are also

not available on the file of the Assessing Officer of the respondent. There is

no explanation forthcoming with regard to the aforesaid annexures. It is

well nigh impossible to know their content. The first paragraph of the letter

dated 15th July, 2003 states that the respondent-assessee had acted as a

mediator i.e. they had introduced Manoj Aggarwal with other persons to

ITA 582/2008 with connected matters Page 38 of 47
whom accommodation book entries were provided by Manoj Aggarwal.

There is no allegation in the first paragraph that the respondent assessee was

provided with accommodation book entries or the amounts belong to the

respondent assessee. Book entries were provided to third parties. It is not

stated in this ‗satisfaction note’ that Manoj Aggarwal or third parties had

paid any amount towards commission for acting as a mediator. There is no

such allegation or statement in the ‗satisfaction note’. The second paragraph

does create some doubt but what is relevant and important is the fact that in

the first paragraph, it is accepted by the Assessing Officer of Manoj

Aggarwal that the respondent assessee was merely acting as a mediator and

nothing more. The second paragraph of the letter states that there was

evidence that cash was received by Manoj Aggarwal from the respondent

assessees. What was the evidence and material was not brought on record

before the tribunal or even before us. The said material is not mentioned in

the assessment order. It cannot be ‗ipse dixit’ without material or evidence

to satisfy the concept of requirement as engrafted under Section 158BD.

What was the material was neither highlighted before the tribunal nor before

us. Thus, the appellant-revenue has not discharged the onus that there was

ITA 582/2008 with connected matters Page 39 of 47
valid satisfaction as required under Section 158 BD. Therefore, the

irresistible conclusion is the pre-requisite of ―satisfaction‖ as engrafted

under Section 158B for the purpose of initiation of block assessment

proceeding is non-existent or absent.

24. The last plank of submission of learned counsel appearing for the

revenue was a note that was recorded by the assessing officer of the Manoj

Aggarwal on the date of assessment. It is contended by Ms. Prem Lata

Bansal, learned senior counsel, Mr.Sanjeev Sabharwal, Ms. Suruchi

Aggarwal, Mr. Chandramani Bhardwaj, learned counsel for the revenue that

though the said note was not filed before the tribunal but the same should be

treated as a part of evidence on record and dealt with it. Whether that could

have been taken as an additional evidence under Order 41 Rule 27 of the

Code of Civil Procedure though such an application has not been filed. The

same is not necessary in view of the finding recorded by the tribunal in

SMC Share Brokers Ltd.(supra) in. In the said case, i.e., ITA

No.250/Del/2005, the tribunal expressed the view that a satisfaction note by

the assessing officer of the searched person recording undisclosed income of

any person within the meaning of Section 158BD could be validly recorded
ITA 582/2008 with connected matters Page 40 of 47
after completion of assessment of the searched person. In that context, the

tribunal held the only requirement is that the satisfaction must be in writing.

In the said case, the tribunal was dealing with the search carried out on the

premises of Manoj Aggarwal on 3.8.2000. The present case also relates to

the said search. It is noteworthy the departmental representative in the case

of SMC Share Brokers Ltd. (supra) had pressed into service the note dated

29.8.2002 which has been sought to be pressed into service by the learned

counsel for the revenue herein. The tribunal while dealing with the said

note dated 29.8.2002 expressed their views as follows:

―14.3 As per the Departmental Representative, the
satisfaction for initiating proceedings under Section
158BD was recorded by the AO making assessment in
the case of Shri Manoj Aggarwal and M/s Friends
Portfolio (P) Ltd. on 29th Aug., 2002 also i.e. on the date
of passing assessment order dt. 29th Aug., 2002 itself.
However, the learned Counsel for the assessee has
seriously challenged the genuineness and the authenticity
of this note. According to him, this note is antedated. He
tried to substantiate his argument by demonstrating that if
the satisfaction note was recorded on 29th Aug., 2002
then there would have been no necessity to further record
the satisfaction again on 26th Nov., 2002. He also
pointed out that from the contents and language of the
alleged satisfaction note dt. 29th Aug., 2002, it is evident
that this note is subsequently prepared. He submitted that
if the satisfaction was recorded on 29th Aug., 2002, the
ITA 582/2008 with connected matters Page 41 of 47
notice should also have been issued on that date itself or
just thereafter.

14.4 The learned Departmental Representative, on the
other hand, maintained that the AO had made this note on
29th Aug., 2002.

15. We have carefully considered the entire material
on record and the rival submissions. With this note, a list
of beneficiaries has been appended. The name of assessee
appears at item No. 69, which is as under:

                69    SMC             17, Netaji   Friends     30000000   The assessee has taken
                      Sharebrokers    Subhash      Portfolio              bogus       accommodation
                      Ltd.            Marg,        (P) Ltd.               entry through M/s Friends
                                      Daryaganj,                          Portfolio (P) Ltd. and
                                      New                                 hence satisfaction note in
                                      Delhi-02                            this regard has been
                                                                          recorded in the case of this
                                                                          company and proposal for
                                                                          centralization of this case
                                                                          in this circle has been
                                                                          approved for taking up
                                                                          proceedings u/s 158BD.

The last sentence in the above note indicates that the
proposal for centralization of this case in this circle has
been approved for taking up proceedings under Section
158BD. The learned Counsel pointed out before us that
no such approval was taken before 29th Aug., 2002.
According to him, the proposal is dt. 19th Sept., 2002,
i.e. after the date of the office note. The office note
cannot, therefore, mention any event, which has occurred
later on, i.e., after 29th Aug., 2002. The fact that the
proposal itself is dt. 19th May, 2002 could not be
controverted by the learned Departmental Representative.

16. On going through the alleged office note available
on pp. 202 to 226, it is found that the office note has been
allegedly signed on 29th Aug., 2002 that is the date on
ITA 582/2008 with connected matters Page 42 of 47
which the assessment order in the case of M/s Friends
Portfolio (P) Ltd. was completed. On closer scrutiny of
the facts and circumstances mentioned above including
the fact regarding the mention of satisfaction note in the
case of “this company” and proposal for centralization of
the case in the circle in which the cases of searched
persons fell, as referred to above, and also in view of the
circumstances relating to this issue, we find force in the
submissions of the learned Counsel for the assessee made
before us and conclude that no satisfaction note was
prepared on 29th Aug., 2002 and this note has been
prepared even after 26th Nov.,. 2002. Our reasons for
holding so are as under:

(i) Had the satisfaction been recorded on 29th Aug.,
2002, there would have been no necessity to record
another satisfaction on 26th Nov., 2002. The note refers
to the “satisfaction recorded in the case of this company”
which reference is to the satisfaction dt. 26th Nov., 2002
and hence this note has been prepared subsequent to
satisfaction note dt. 26th Nov., 2002.

(ii) Had the satisfaction note been recorded on 29th Aug.,
2002 then the record pertaining to the other person not
searched should have been transferred to the AO of the
present assessee who was a different officer at that time
than the officer of the searched person.

(iii) The alleged satisfaction makes mention of the
proposal and approval regarding centralization of the
case. This proposal is dt. 19th Nov., 2002 and is
subsequent to the alleged note which fact proves the
contention of the learned Counsel for the assessee that
the notice (sic-note) is antedated.

ITA 582/2008 with connected matters Page 43 of 47

(iv) There is a detailed note by the AO, a copy of which
has been filed at p. 33 of the paper book. The concluding
observations of the AO in this note are as under:

―In view of the facts mentioned above and the
block assessment orders of Sh. Manoj Aggarwal
and M/s Friends Portfolio (P) Ltd., undisclosed
income has arisen in the hands of M/s SMC Share
Brokers Ltd. which has been found during the
course of search and seizure operations in the case
of Shri Manoj Aggarwal and his associate
concerns. Thus, proceedings under Section 158BD
are applicable in this case.‖

The date below the signatures of the AO is not legible in
this copy. Therefore, the learned Departmental
Representative was asked during the course of hearing of
the case to verify the date of this note. On verification
from the record, she informed that the note is dt. 26th
Nov., 2002. This fact has been recorded by the Bench on
p. 33 itself.

17. In view of the above, it is clear that on or before
29th Aug., 2002, the AO of M/s Friends Portfolio (P)
Limited and that of Shri Manoj Aggarwal did not record
any satisfaction. The note dt. 29th Aug., 2002 is,
therefore, not to be taken for recording satisfaction
required under Section 158BC/158BD.‖

25. We will be failing in our duty, if we do not take note of some more

facts. In the said case, there was another satisfaction note dated 26.11.2002

and referring to the said note the tribunal in SMC Share Brokers Ltd.

(supra) has held as follows:

ITA 582/2008 with connected matters Page 44 of 47

―20.1 The next plea of the assessee is that the satisfaction
note makes no reference to the seized material and thus
the proceedings under Section 158BD judged from the
satisfaction note cannot be justified. We do not find force
in this submission also. The satisfaction note dt. 26th
Nov., 2002, referred to above, is a detailed one. We have
also reproduced the concluding observations of the AO,
which indicate that he applied his mind before recording
the satisfaction. It may be pointed out that the satisfaction
note is not required to contain each and every minute
detail and to refer to each and every material relevant for
making assessment under Section 158BD. Thus, the
argument that since, in the satisfaction note, there is no
reference to seized material, the assessment made on the
basis of such satisfaction note cannot be legally
sustained, is not acceptable.‖

26. Eventually, in the said case, as no cross-examination of Manoj

Aggarwal was permitted, the appeal preferred by the assessee, apart from

other grounds, was allowed.

27. The said order was assailed before this Court in ITA No.1221/2006

wherein this Court opined as follows:

―4. The Tribunal held that the Assessing Officer was
functioning as a quasi judicial authority and was under an
obligation to adhere to the principles of natural justice.
Several requests were made by the assessed, but Manoj
Aggarwal was not made available for cross-examination.

ITA 582/2008 with connected matters Page 45 of 47

On this basis, the Tribunal set aside the block assessment
and that is why the Revenue is before us in an appeal
under Section 260A of the Act.

5. Learned Counsel for the Revenue relied upon One-
up Shares and Stock Brokers P. Ltd. vs. R. R. Singh, CIT
(2003) 183 CTR (Bom) 254 : (2003) 262 ITR 275 (Bom)
to contend that the statement of Manoj Aggarwal had
evidentiary value, as observed by the Bombay High
Court. There is no doubt that the statement of Manoj
Aggarwal had evidentiary value but weight could not be
given to it in proceedings against the assessed without it
being tested under cross-examination. In the absence of
the statement being tested, it cannot be said that it should
be believed completely to the prejudice of the assessed.
Under the circumstances, we do not think that the
judgment relied upon by learned Counsel carries him any
further.

6. We are of the opinion that the Tribunal was right
in its view that in the absence of Manoj Aggarwal being
made available for cross-examination, despite repeated
requests by the assessed, his statement could not be relied
upon to his detriment.‖

28. It is rightly submitted by learned counsel for the respondent-assessee

that the said finding of the tribunal has been given the stamp of approval by

the High Court. Learned counsel for the revenue would contend that the

appeal was preferred on a limited scope. We need not delve into that

inasmuch as the said finding of the tribunal has gone unchallenged and

ITA 582/2008 with connected matters Page 46 of 47
hence, we cannot rely on the said note dated 29th August, 2002 to come to a

conclusion that there was recording of satisfaction. The said note stands

discredited in the case of SMC Share Brokers Ltd. (supra). The said

finding is a finding of fact. We cannot, therefore, for the first time take the

said note into consideration.

29. In view of the aforesaid analysis, while we do not find there is any

substantial question of law involved in the present batch of appeals,

however, conclusion of the tribunal that the forming of an opinion has to be

along with the framing of assessment inasmuch as the assessing officer after

said date becomes functus officio is kept open to be addressed in an appeal

where the said issue is required to be dealt with.

30. Resultantly, the appeals, being devoid of merit, stand dismissed

without any order as to costs.

CHIEF JUSTICE

SANJIV KHANNA, J.

MAY 30, 2011
dk

ITA 582/2008 with connected matters Page 47 of 47

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *