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Income Tax Case : SC to hear appeals filed by Rahul, Sonia Gandhi

The Supreme Court Tuesday said it would hear in August the appeals filed by Congress President Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia against the Delhi High Court order allowing re-assessment of their Income Tax for 2011-12 in connection with the National Herald case. A bench comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta granted liberty to the petitioners to approach Delhi Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) for expeditious hearing of pending appeal challenging the retrospective cancellation of registration granted to Young Indian under the I-T Act.

“List the further hearing on this batch of appeals in the week commencing August 19. We grant liberty to the petitioners to approach the ITAT, Delhi, for expeditious hearing and final disposal of appeal…,” the bench said in its order. The Gandhis and senior Congress leader Oscar Fernandes have challenged in the apex court the Delhi High Court’s September 10 verdict which dismissed their plea against the re-assessment of their tax for 2011-12.

During the hearing on Tuesday, the bench initially observed that it can ask the ITAT to expedite the proceedings pending before it in the matter. It said: “You have challenged the cancellation of registration before the tribunal. We may have some difficulty if suppose we say that the cancellation was bad. So proper procedure would be to wait for ITAT order. We will then have the benefit of the tribunal’s order. If you succeed there, then issue of re-opening goes.”

To this, senior advocates P Chidambaram and Kapil Sibal, appearing for the petitioners, said, “Yes, that will be proper”. Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, appearing for the Income Tax department, said that proceedings pending before the ITAT was different from the appeals before the apex court.

“Further hearing in these appeals should not be linked with the outcome of the ITAT,” Jain said. However, the bench told Jain, “Therefore, carefully we have not said that list the matter after decision of ITAT”.

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