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2016 (7) TMI 209 - KERALA HIGH COURT

2016 (7) TMI 209 - KERALA HIGH COURT - [2016] 387 ITR 299 - Constitutional validity of the amendment to Section 133(6) - right to privacy - it was contended that, the Co-operative Banks are not expected to give out the details of its customers even under the Right to Information Act, the attempt to elicit such details through a notice issued under Section 133(6) is totally vitiated and arbitrary. - Held that:- The learned single Judge in its decision [2015 (1) TMI 1121 - KERALA HIGH COURT] after .....

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ther right to privacy is a fundamental right or only a legal right as recognized in the Law of Torts is itself pending consideration before a Constitution bench of the Apex Court having been referred for an authoritative pronouncement by a three member bench in Justice K.S.Puttuswamy v. Union of India [2015 (8) TMI 526 - SUPREME COURT]. Even if it is a necessary corollary to the right to life, such a right would be subject to the reasonable restrictions which could be imposed by the State in exe .....

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information under its fiscal administration. - writ petition dismissed - Decided against the assessee. - We do not find any ground to interfere with the decision of the learned single Judge in exercise of appellate jurisdiction through this intra court appeal filed under Section 5 of the Kerala High Court Act. These appeals therefore fail. - W.A.Nos.524, 828, 2582 of 2015, 99,100,153,154 & 155 of 2016 - Dated:- 24-5-2016 - THOTTATHIL B.RADHAKRISHNAN, Ag.C.J. AND ANU SIVARAMAN, J. FOR THE AP .....

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roviso thereto. The relevant provision of the I.T.Act reads as follows:- Section 133: Power to call for information The Assessing officer, the Deputy Commissioner (Appeals), the Joint Commissioner or the Commissioner (Appeals) may, for the purposes of this Act,- xxx xxxx xxxx xxx (6) require any person, including a banking company or any officer thereof, to furnish information in relation to such points or matters, or to furnish statements of accounts and affairs verified in the manner specified .....

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oner, the Director and the Commissioner: Provided further that the power in respect of an inquiry, in a case where no proceeding is pending, shall not be exercised by any income- tax- authority below the rank of Director or Commissioner without the prior approval of the Director or, as the case may be, the Commissioner. 2.The contentions of the appellants who are Service Cooperative Banks and its members who maintained deposits are to the effect that the provisions under challenge in the writ pe .....

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ision was to get details of financial transactions which could be associated with black money. Aggrieved thereby, the appellants have preferred this appeal. 3.Heard Sri.V.G.Arun, Sri Mathew B Kurian, Sri O.D.Sivadas and Sri.P.I.Georgekutty, learned counsel for the appellants and Sri. Christopher Abraham, learned standing counsel appearing for the Revenue. 4.Learned counsel for the appellants would contend that right to privacy is a necessary corollary of the right to life and human dignity and c .....

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onstrued by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in DBS Financial Pvt.Ltd. vs. Smt.M.George [1994 207-ITR 1077] and it had been held that demand for addresses of all credit card holders whose account showed an annual expenditure of over ₹ 5000/- cannot be sustained as there were no proceedings pending against such persons. It is therefore contended that by adding the word 'inquiry' in the section and introducing a new proviso, the ambit of the section has been widened so as to include a r .....

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not expected to give out the details of its customers even under the Right to Information Act, the attempt to elicit such details through a notice issued under Section 133(6) is totally vitiated and arbitrary. 5.Learned counsel appearing for the Revenue, on the other hand, would submit that the provision is a part of the direct taxing system of the nation and the intention of Section 133 (6) and other like provisions in the Act is to gather information which could be crucial for the nation' .....

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deposit of ₹ 5 lakhs and interest income exceeding ₹ 10,000/-. It is submitted by the learned counsel for the appellants that the said circular has subsequently been modified and the limit of deposit stands enhanced to ₹ 25 lakhs. The attempt is evidently to gather information about funds deposited in Co-operative Banks to verify the sources thereof. This is evidently intended in the best national interest. 6.The learned counsel appearing for the Revenue would further submit th .....

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by Sri.Christopher Abraham, learned counsel appearing for the Revenue that the general guidelines for considering the constitutionality of a law have been laid down by the Apex Court over the years. It is stated that the general rule of constitutional law is to support the presumption of constitutionality of a statute. In support of this proposition, the learned counsel would place reliance on the decision in Kedar Nath v. State of Bihar [AIR 1962 SC 955]. It is submitted that the Hon'ble S .....

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ater latitude that laws touching civil rights such as freedom of speech, religion etc. Reliance is placed on the decisions of the larger Bench of the Apex Court in R.K.Garg v. Union of India [AIR 1981 SC 2138] and Government of Andhra Pradesh and others v. P.Laxmi Devi [(2008)4 SCC 720]. 8. It is submitted by the learned counsel for the Revenue that an earlier challenge raised against notices under Section 133(6) issued to Co-operative Credit Societies had earlier been repelled by this Court whi .....

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any to furnish information in respect of such points of matters as may be useful or relevant and it is not necessary that any inquiry should have commenced before Section 133(6) could have been invoked. It is submitted that the learned single Judge has considered all the aspects of the matter as raised and argued before him and that there is no error of law in the impugned judgment justifying the invocation of the appellate jurisdiction of the Division Bench under Section 5 of the Kerala High Co .....

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