The Delhi High Court has granted interim relief to NDTV, which has been served Income Tax notice of Rs. 428 crore and has been asked to pay up the amount “immediately now”, observed that no coercive action should be taken against the media house.
“The requirement that it (tax) should be paid ‘immediately now’, the petitioner would be subjected to hardship and prejudice if such an interim order is not passed,” a bench of Justice S Muralidhar and Justice Pratibha M Singh said.
The bench also issued notice to the I-T Department on NDTV’s plea against the July 26 order, while claiming that the same was issued without jurisdiction.
Appearing for NDTV, senior advocate Harish Salve contended that the order raising the tax demand and the show cause notice for penalty proceedings was issued on the same date, making both ex-facie illegal and unsustainable in law.
He also contended that the order of July 26 passed by the I-T department is an “appeal effect order” passed consequent to the order of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal dated July 14.
The Centre challenged the maintainability of NDTV’s petition.
“The court notices that the Show Cause Notice and the impugned ‘appeal effect order’ both dated July 26, 2017, were dispatched on the same day… The demand of Rs. 4,28,93,32,540 for AY 2009-10 was, in fact, quantified only by the appeal effect order passed on that very day. That sum could not therefore, be said to have not been paid as of that date when clearly the appeal effect order was being dispatched together with the show cause notice,” the court said, while putting the query to the I-T Department.
To this, Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, appearing for I-T department, said, “The I-T department will not give effect to Show Cause Notice dated July 26 insofar as it proposes to initiate penalty proceedings against the petitioner for alleged failure to pay the demand raised by the impugned appeal effect order pertaining to AY 2009-10.”
His statement was taken on record. The matter will now be heard on August 21.