Case Title: Prashant Chandra Versus Harish Gidwani Deputy Commissioner Of Income Tax Range 2
The Allahabad High Court ordered that the applicant outstanding balance on the web portal should be removed immediately following the judgment; however, the authorities allowed the balance to remain on the web portal for seven months, clearly in violation of the judgment.
FACTS OF THE CASE
A fine of Rs. 100 has been imposed by Justice Irshad Ali’s single bench. 25,000 and a one-week sentence of simple confinement on the defendant, who was the Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax. The defendant would spend one more day in simple confinement if they failed to comply. Under Section 12 of the 1971 Contempt of Courts Act, the applicant/assessee has filed a contempt application claiming willful and deliberate disobedience to a Division Bench of the Court’s March 31, 2015 judgment and order.
In the writ petition, the applicant challenged a notice for the assessment year 2012–13 issued by the respondent/Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax Lucknow in accordance with Section 143(2) of the Income Tax Act, 1961. The applicant argued that the notice had been issued in excess of the respondent’s jurisdiction and was de hors the provisions of Section 124.
The Assessing Officer’s judgment notice stated that it was overturned on the grounds of lack of jurisdiction, and that any subsequent orders should also be overturned. The petitioner argued that the outstanding notice for the assessment year 2011–12 became operative on the web portal for seven months, tarnishing the applicant’s reputation, and that the Assessing Officer must ensure that the entry that is currently there is deleted as soon as the judgment and order dated 31.03.2015 is passed. The Income Tax Authority’s action was an intentional and willful disobedience to the judgment.
The court decided that because it would undermine the administration of justice if any court’s order could be disregarded without consequence, it is in the public interest to punish civil contempt.
According to the court, “unnecessarily mens rea is not required to be proven in a case of contempt, but in the present case the violation is willful, deliberate, and coupled with intention and motive to harass the applicant.”
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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY AJAY ADITHIYAA.