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SRI. FATHERAJ SINGHVI AND OTHERS Versus UNION OF INDIA AND OTHERS

2016 (9) TMI 964 - KARNATAKA HIGH COURT

Late filing fee under Section 234E - Constitutional validity of Section 234E - exercise of power under Section 200A - Held that:- The intimation given in purported exercise of power under Section 200A are in respect of fees under Section 234E for the period prior to 1.6.2015. As such, it is on account of the intimation given making demand of the fees in purported exercise of power under Section 200A, the same has necessitated the appellant-original petitioner to challenge the validity of Section .....

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34E can be said as without any authority of law and the same are quashed and set aside to that extent. - As such, as recorded earlier, it is on account of the intimation received under Section 200A for making computation and demand of fees under Section 234E, the same has necessitated the appellant to challenge the constitutional validity of Section 234E. When the intimation of the demand notices under Section 200A is held to be without authority of law so far as it relates to computation an .....

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e set aside, so far as it relates to computation and intimation for payment of fee under Section 234E, the appellant-petitioners would not press the challenge to the constitutional validity of Section 234E of the Act. But, they submitted that the question of constitutional validity of Section 234E may be kept open to be considered by the Division Bench and the Judgment of the learned Single Judge may not conclude the constitutional validity of Section 234E of the Act. - Under these circumsta .....

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234E as they relate to for the period of the tax deducted prior to 1.6.2015 are set aside. It is clarified that the present judgment would not be interpreted to mean that even if the payment of the fees under Section 234E already made as per demand/intimation under Section 200A of the Act for the TDS for the period prior to 01.04.2015 is permitted to be reopened for claiming refund. The judgment will have prospective effect accordingly. It is further observed that the question of constitutional .....

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VOCATE FOR THE RESPONDENT : SRI.K.V.ARAVIND, ADVOCATE As in all appeals, common Judgment and the order of the learned Single Judge is under challenge, they are being considered simultaneously. 2. All appeals are directed against the Judgment and the order passed by the learned Single Judge of this Court in the respective main writ petitions whereby the learned Single Judge for the reasons recorded in the order has held Sec.234E of the Income Tax Act, 1961 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act .....

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, there was delay in filing of the return/statements with the details of the persons from whom the TDS was deducted including the details of the persons concerned and the transaction etc. Hence, the respondent-Department issued demand notices under Section 200A of the Act calling upon the respective petitioners to pay late filing fee under Section 234E of the Act in purported exercise of the power under Section 200A of the Act. More or less, under similar circumstances, all the petitioners appro .....

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Tax Department and therefore, the fee provided under Section 234E is lacking the basic element of any services to be rendered to the deductor. As per the petitioners, since the basic requirements are not satisfied for Section 234E, the said Section 234E is ultra vires to the Constitution. It has also been contended by the petitioner in the main petition that the intimation given under Section 200A of the Act by the respondent to the respective petitioners for making demand of levy fee under Sec .....

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ircumstances, the present appeals have been preferred by some of the original petitioners out of the group of the petitioners before this Court. 6. We have heard learned Senior Counsel Mr.Kumar and Mr.A.Shankar, appearing for the appellants and Mr.K.V.Aravind, learned counsel appearing for Income Tax Department. 7. We may at the outset record that, learned counsel appearing for both sides have made submissions which shall be dealt with appropriately at the later stage. But, in order to appreciat .....

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th September - 15th October of the financial year; (iii) 31st December - 15th January of the financial year; and (iv) 31st March - 15th May of the following financial year. 9. It may be recorded that Section 200(3) requiring to file formal TDS statement within the aforesaid each quarter was inserted on 1.4.2005 and at the relevant point of time, Section 272A(2)(k) provided for the penalty of ₹ 100/- per day for each day of default in filing TDS statement and such provision also came to be .....

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statement was inserted. Section 234E for ready reference is reproduced and the same reads as under: Fee for default in furnishing statements. 234E. (1) Without prejudice to the provisions of the Act, where a person fails to deliver or cause to be delivered a statement within the time prescribed in sub-section (3) of section 200 or the proviso to sub-section (3) of section 206C, he shall be liable to pay, by way of fee, a sum of two hundred rupees for every day during which the failure continues. .....

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3) of section 206C which is to be delivered or caused to be delivered for tax deducted at source or tax collected at source, as the case may be, on or after the 1st day of July, 2012. 11. Similarly, Section 271H was inserted with effect from 1.7.2012 providing for imposition of penalty for default in filing TDS statement and also for furnishing of incorrect information in such TDS statement. The proviso was inserted in Section 272A providing for no penalty under the said section will be imposed .....

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e time prescribed in sub-section (3) of section 200 or the proviso to sub-section (3) of section 206C; or (b) furnishes incorrect information in the statement which is required to be delivered or caused to be delivered under sub section (3) of section 200 or the proviso to sub-section (3) of section 206C. (2) The penalty referred to in sub-section (1) shall be a sum which shall not be less than ten thousand rupees but which may extend to one lakh rupees. (3) Notwithstanding anything contained in .....

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r delivering or causing to be delivered such statement. (4) The provisions of this section shall apply to a statement referred to in sub-section (3) of section 200 or the proviso to sub section (3) of section 206C which is to be delivered or caused to be delivered for tax deducted at source or tax collected at source, as the case may be, on or after the 1st day of July, 2012." 12. On 1.6.2015, clauses (c) to (f) came to be substituted under Section 200A providing that the fee under Section .....

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red to in this section as deductor) under section 200, such statement shall be processed in the following manner, namely:- (a) the sums deductible under this Chapter shall be computed after making the following adjustments, namely:- (i) any arithmetical error in the statement; or (ii) an incorrect claim, apparent from any information in the statement; (b) the interest, if any, shall be computed on the basis of the sums deductible as computed in the statement; (c) the fee, if any, shall be comput .....

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e to, him under clause (d); and (f) the amount of refund due to the deductor in pursuance of the determination under clause (d) shall be granted to the deductor:] Provided that no intimation under this sub-section shall be sent after the expiry of one year from the end of the financial year in which the statement is filed. Explanation.-For the purposes of this sub-section, "an incorrect claim apparent from any information in the statement" shall mean a claim, on the basis of an entry, .....

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s required under the said sub-section." 13. When the returns for TDS filed by the respective appellant-petitioners were processed in purported exercise of the power under Section 200A, the amount of fee under Section 234E is computed and determined. The demand is made and the intimation given under Section 200A includes the computation and the determination of the fee payable by the appellant-petitioners. 14. We may now deal with the contentions raised by the learned counsel for the appella .....

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namely all assessment years and the returns prior to 1.6.2015. It was submitted that, when no express authority was conferred by the statute under Section 200A prior to 1.6.2015 for computation of any fee under Section 234E nor the determination thereof, the demand or the intimation for the previous period or previous year prior to 1.6.2015 could not have been made. 15. Whereas, the learned counsel appearing for the respondent-Department made two fold submissions; 16. One was that, by virtue of .....

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(1) (c)(d) (e) and (f) would not result into nullifying the liability to pay fee under Section 234E of the Act. Hence, in his submission, it cannot be said that the demand or the intimation by way of computation of the fee under Section 234E is invalid or unwarranted or is without jurisdiction. 17. The examination of the aforesaid contentions show that, Section 234E has come into force on 1.7.2012. Therefore, one may at the first blush say that, since Section 234E is a charging section for fee, .....

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c. Therefore, if there was failure to submit the statement for TDS as per Section 234E, the fee payable is provided but the mechanism provided was that if there was failure to furnish statements within the prescribed date, the penalty under Section 271H (1) and (2) could be imposed. However, under sub-section (3) of Section 271H, the exception is provided that no penalty shall be levied for the failure referred to under clause (a) of sub-section (1) if the person proves that after paying TDS wit .....

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Section 271H but of course subject to the outer limit of one year as prescribed under sub-section (3) of Section 271H. It can also be said that when the Parliament intended to insert the provisions of Section 234E providing for fee simultaneously the utility of such fee was for conferring the privilege to the defaulter-deductor to come out from the rigors of penal provision of Section 271H. Be it recorded that, prior to Section 271H of the Act inserted in the statute book, the enforceability of .....

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nspections, etc. 272A. (1) xxxx (2) If any person fails- (a) to comply with a notice issued under sub-section (6) of section 94; or (b) to give the notice of discontinuance of his business or profession as required by sub-section (3) of section 176; or (c) to furnish in due time any of the returns, statements or particulars mentioned in section 133 or section 206 or section 206C or section 285B; or (d) to allow inspection of any register referred to in section 134 or of any entry in such registe .....

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nd pay tax as required by sub-section (2) of section 226; (i) to furnish a statement as required by sub-section (2C) of section 192; (j) to deliver or cause to be delivered in due time a copy of the declaration referred to in sub-section (1A) of section 206C; (k) to deliver or cause to be delivered a copy of the statement within the time specified in sub-section (3) of section 200 or the proviso to sub-section (3) of section 206C; (l) to deliver or cause to be delivered the statements within the .....

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s 206 and 206C and 71[statements under sub-section (2A) or sub section (3) of section 200 or the proviso to sub-section (3) or under sub-section (3A) of section 206C] shall not exceed the amount of tax deductible or collectible, as the case may be: Provided further that no penalty shall be levied under this section for the failure referred to in clause (k), if such failure relates to a statement referred to in sub-section (3) of section 200 or the proviso to sub-section (3) of section 206C which .....

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(3) for filing of the statement by making it penal under Section 272A (2) (k) is done away in view of the insertion of Section 271H providing for penal provision for such failure to submit return. When the Parliament has simultaneously brought about Section 234E, Section 271H and the aforesaid proviso to Section 272A(2), it can be said that, the fee provided under Section 234E is contemplated to give a privilege to the defaulter to come out from the rigors of penalty provision under Section 271 .....

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ce creates a counter benefit or reciprocal benefit in favour of the defaulter in the rigors of the penal provision, the provisions of Section 234E would meet with the test of quid pro quo. 21. However, if Section 234E providing for fee was brought on the state book, keeping in view the aforesaid purpose and the intention then, the other mechanism provided for computation of fee and failure for payment of fee under Section 200A which has been brought about with effect from 1.6.2015 cannot be said .....

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in nature. Further, when any provision is inserted for liability to pay any tax or the fee by way of compensatory in nature or fee independently simultaneously mode and the manner of its enforceability is also required to be considered and examined. Not only that, but, if the mode and the manner is not expressly prescribed, the provisions may also be vulnerable. All such aspects will be required to be considered before one considers regulatory mechanism or provision for regulating the mode and t .....

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payable under Section 234E. Hence, considering the aforesaid peculiar facts and circumstances, we are unable to accept the contention of the learned counsel for respondent-Revenue that insertion of clause (c) to (f) under Section 200A(1) should be treated as retroactive in character and not prospective. 22. It is hardly required to be stated that, as per the well established principles of interpretation of statute, unless it is expressly provided or impliedly demonstrated, any provision of stat .....

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e respective assessment year prior to 1.6.2015. However, we make it clear that, if any deductor has already paid the fee after intimation received under Section 200A, the aforesaid view will not permit the deductor to reopen the said question unless he has made payment under protest. 23. In view of the aforesaid observation and discussion, since the impugned intimation given by the respondent-Department against all the appellants under Section 200A are so far as they are for the period prior to .....

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under Section 200A, the same has necessitated the appellant-original petitioner to challenge the validity of Section 234E of the Act. In view of the reasons recorded by us hereinabove, when the amendment made under Section 200A of the Act which has come into effect on 1.6.2015 is held to be having prospective effect, no computation of fee for the demand or the intimation for the fee under Section 234E could be made for the TDS deducted for the respective assessment year prior to 1.6.2015. Hence, .....

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he demand notices under Section 200A is held to be without authority of law so far as it relates to computation and demand of fee under Section 234E, we find that the question of further scrutiny for testing the constitutional validity of Section 234E would be rendered as an academic exercise because there would not be any cause on the part of the petitioners to continue to maintain the challenge to constitutional validity under Section 234E of the Act. At this stage, we may also record that the .....

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