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Delhi High Court issues notice to Income Tax on showcause against Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal

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The Delhi High Court on Thursday issued notice to the Income Tax department over the showcause notice issued to Rajya Sabha MP and Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal on March 11 in connection with assessment proceedings pending against him.

The Division Bench of Justice Rajiv Shakdher and Justice Tara Vitasta Ganju, while directing the Income Tax authorities not to take action on the showcause notice, observed that since the impugned notice has been challenged on jurisdiction as well as on the breach of principles of natural justice, it would require some amount of deliberation.

The High Court told the IT authorities to file a counter affidavit in the case and listed the matter for further hearing on September 14. 

Telling the concerned officer to first dispose of objections preferred by Sibal against the initiation of proceedings, the Bench directed him to issue a notice to the petitioner indicating the date, venue and time of the hearing. 

The Bench further ordered the officer to pass a speaking order qua the objections preferred by Sibal and furnish a copy of the same to him.

The High Court gave liberty to Sibal that in case he was aggrieved by the decision taken by the concerned authority, he could take recourse to an appropriate remedy.

Sibal has filed six petitions against the notice issued by the IT department under Section 153C of the Income Tax Act, 1961, concerning AY 2013.

Appearing for Sibal, Senior Advocate P. Chidamabaram said the authorities seem to be in a ‘great’ hurry to conclude the assessment proceedings. 

The Senior Advocate contended that a search concerning World Window Group was conducted in May 2018 and in so far as Sibal was concerned, the notice under Section 153C of the Act was issued six years later on May 17, 2021.

The petitioner filed his return on June 16, 2021. A request was made on November 3, 2021 seeking a copy of the satisfaction note and reasons/material based on which notice under Section 153C had been issued. This request was reiterated by the petitioner on March 1, 2023, Chidamabaram submitted.

The High Court observed that the satisfaction note was furnished to Sibal on March 9 this year and material or reasons were furnished to him on March 10.

It further took note of the records which showed that one day later on March 11, a show cause notice under Section 142 (1) of the Act was issued qua the petitioner. The petitioner had filed his objections to the initiation of proceedings under Section 153C of the Act, it noted.

The objections were filed on March 20. The court was told that the officer instead of dealing with the objections, fixed a hearing in respect to show cause notice on March 22. 

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