Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Officer can have a Camp Office at taxpayer's house to examine him on oath after search and seizure


In the appellate proceedings, the Single Judge held that the Assessing Officer was not vested with the power to have a camp office at the residence of the assessee and get his attendance in connection with the proceedings under the Act and, therefore, the impugned notice issued under section 131 was one without authority of law.

The Karnataka High Court held as under:

1)  Sub-section (1) of section 131 confers the power on the authorities the powers of a Court under the Code of Civil Procedure in respect of matters mentioned in the said provision. One such provision is enforcing the attendance of any person including any officer of a banking-company and examining him on oath.

2)  Sub-section (1A) vests an officer to exercise the power conferred under section 131(1) even before initiating any proceedings with respect to such person under the provisions of the Act.

3)   Once such power is vested, the authorized officer has an option to summon the person to appear before him at his office or he can go to the place of such person and examine him on oath. The said provision enables the authorized officer to enforce attendance if the person is not willing to appear before him.

4)  The examination of such person on oath may be at the place of the authorized officer or at the place of person who has to be examined.

5)  Nothing could be read out of that phrase 'camp at your residence'. All that it means is, as he has already entered the premises of the residence, in order to comply with the legal requirement, he has served summons on him calling upon him to depose. To show the place where he should depose, the phrase, 'camp at your residence' is mentioned.

6) In that view of the matter, the Single Judge was not justified in his view that the authorized officer has no right to enter the premises of the residence. The observation of the Single Judge that the authorized officer has trespassed into the house of the assessee and it deserves to be prosecuted before the competent criminal Court, has no legal basis. - Dy. DIT(I) v. Prakash V. Sanghvi [2015] 64 221 (Karnataka)

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