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Herald case: I-T will not effectuate order on assessment of Sonia, Rahul & others for 2011-12

Dec 4, 2018
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that income tax authorities can go ahead with the reassessment of UPA Chief Sonia Gandhi, Congress president Rahul Gandhi and others for the year 2011-2012 in a matter related to National Herald case, but will hold their hands in giving effect to their order.

Noting that it would not be sitting in the post-lunch session, the bench of Justice A.K. Sikri, Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice S. Abdul Nazeer said that the income tax authorities can go ahead with the reassessment of the Congress leaders, pass orders but would refrain from giving effect to it till the next date of hearing On January 8.

“Since the limitation period for completing the assessment is expiring, in the meantime, it would be open to the assessing officer to complete the assessment and pass the assessment order as well. However, till the next date of hearing that would not be given effect”, the court said in its order.

The court further said, “We make it clear that since the matter is still at the preliminary stage and limitation is expiring, aforesaid course of action is adopted without going into the merits of the case.”

The three Congress leaders have moved the top court challenging September 10 Delhi High Court order by which it had dismissed their plea challenging the Income Tax notice seeking tax reassessment for the financial year 2011-2012.

Rahul, Sonia Gandhi and Oscar Fernandes had moved the High Court against Income Tax notice for tax reassessment as they had allegedly not disclosed their income earned through Young Indian Pvt Ltd (YI) for the year 2011-2012.

The Congress leaders have contended that Young India acquired the shares of Associated Journals Limited (AJL) which was running into losses so there was no question of Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and others having shares in Young India (YI) making any profit.

AJL runs newspaper National Herald that was founded by first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru during freedom struggle.

They have also contended that both AJL and YI are registered under Section 25 of the Companies Act and so what get transferred is only the assets of AJL to YI and the same can’t be monetised. Thus, there was question of anyone making monitory gains or anything getting added to their incomes.

They have questioned the issuance of re-assessment notice under Section 148 of the Income Tax Act, contending that in the instant case Section 148 is not attracted as it does not apply at all.

Under Section 148 of the Income Tax Act, tax authorities can issue notice for the assessment of income that might have escaped assessment at the relevant time.