Sky Light Hospitality case: SC dismisses plea challenging HC order
New Delhi, Apr 6: The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed the petition filed by a hospitality firm linked to Robert Vadra challenging an Income Tax (I-T) department notice to it for re-assessment of its profits from land deals in Haryana and Rajasthan for 2010-11.
The Delhi-based firm, Sky Light Hospitality LLP, had filed an appeal against the February order of the Delhi High Court which had rejected its petition against the I-T notice. After a brief hearing, an apex court bench of justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan refused to interfere with the high court's order by which the firm associated with Vadra was directed to join proceedings before the assessing officer.
The I-T department, in a tax evasion report tabled before the high court, had said it had reasons to believe that over Rs 35 crore, earned by the firm in 2010-11, "had escaped from assessment".
The high court had said, "After going through the reasons, we are satisfied that the 'reasons to believe' show and establish a live link and connect with the inference drawn that income had escaped assessment, which is required for issuance of notice."
In the high court, the firm had challenged the I-T department's notice, contending that the "reasons to believe" were mere reasons to suspect and do not establish that income had escaped assessment. Disagreeing with the firm's contention, the high court had said that "absolute certainty is not required at the time of issue of notice and at the same time, 'reasons to believe' must not be based on mere suspicion, gossip or rumour. The said test and criteria, we have no hesitation in holding, is satisfied in the present case".
"There is evidence and material on record to justify issue of notice," it said.
The high court also said that as long as there was a "honest and reasonable opinion" formed by the assessing officer and the "reasons to believe" are not mere "reasons to suspect", courts should not interject to stop the adjudication process and scrutiny on merits."