SC pulls up I-T Dept for causing delay in high-stake matters

The Supreme Court today pulled up the Income Tax Department for inordinate delay in moving courts in high-stake matters, involving crores of rupees, saying that it has become a trend that requires an inquiry.

Last Updated: Jul 08, 2010, 22:22 PM IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today pulled
up the Income Tax Department for inordinate delay in moving
courts in high-stake matters, involving crores of rupees,
saying that it has become a trend that requires an inquiry.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia asked
Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium to look into such cases,
in which the Revenue Department approached high courts and the
apex court after a considerable delay.

"Some investigation must be done on your part as to
why delay happens in such types of matters," the bench said.

The court made these remarks while hearing a batch of
tax matters. It noticed that the issue was brought before it
after the expiry of the limitation period.

The bench was hearing a batch of five matters in which
the revenue department had filed an appeal in the Bombay High
Court against the order of the income tax appeallate tribunal
after a delay of 1,000 days, and in the apex court after 300
days` delay.

"Most of the cases in which the stakes are high, the
Income Tax Department is filing appeal by causing long delay.
This has become a trend," the bench, also comprising Justices
K S Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar, said.

Additional Solicitor General Bishwajit Bhattacharya,
who was appearing in the matter, shared the concern of the
bench.

The anguished bench, however, said, "Merely showing
concern will not do. Some action has to be taken."

"This is a fit case where investigation is called
for," it said.

The Solicitor General, who was present in the courtroom,
assured the Bench that some action will be taken. "We will do
the investigation and action will follow," he said.

He said he himself will write to the Revenue Secretary
and the Chairman of the CBDT for taking steps to streamline
the process.

The court, however, said, "This is what has been
happening throughout."

The bench gave examples of some high-profile cases in
which the matters were brought in a belated manner.

It said that in the case of stock broker Harshad Mehta,
which involved withdrawal of public money, the revenue
department took seven years to bring it to the court.

PTI