Case Law: Sushila Devi vs. CIT (Delhi High Court)

Strictures: Department’s recalcitrance to release the assessee’s seized jewellery, even though it is so small as to constitute “stridhan” and even though no addition was sustained in the assessee’s hands, is not “mere inaction” but is one of “deliberate harassment”

This court is of opinion that the respondent’s recalcitrance is not mere inaction; it is one of deliberate harassment. Unarguably, the first round of assessment proceedings culminated in no addition of the jewellery or its value in the hands of the petitioner’s husband. The matter ought to have rested there, because the further proceedings were at the behest of the petitioner’s husband who was aggrieved by the additions made (and not aggrieved by the decision on issues in his favour). The ITAT’s decision to proceed de novo, nevertheless strengthened the respondents’ obduracy and hardened their resolve not to release the jewellery. The de novo order did not result in any addition on that aspect at all; still the respondents cling to another ingenious argument- that till the petitioners’ husband’s tax demands are satisfied, they can detain the jewellery



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