The Madras High Court on Monday refused to quash the show cause notice of the Income Tax department issued against Karti Chidambaram, son of former Union Finance minister P Chidambaram and Sivaganga MP and others, for the assessment years 2014-15 and 2015-16. The charge against Karti was that he had sold 5.11 acres to Agni Estates and Foundations Private Limited and in the deal Rs 6.38 crore had escaped the assessment for 2014-15. The Assessing Officer initiated proceedings against him under Section 148 of the I T Act.
Karti and others involved in the deal sought to quash the proceedings as “illegal, without jurisdiction and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution." Dismissing the petitions, Justice S M Subramaniyan pointed out that the writ petitions were filed challenging the show cause notices issued under Section 153C of the IT Act. “The procedures for assessment/reassessment are yet to commence. The petitioners are expected to avail the opportunity and defend their case in the manner known to law." The judge said the scope of judicial review under Article 226 of the Constitution is to scrutinize the processes and procedures through which a decision is arrived at in consonance with the provisions of the Statutes by the competent authority, but not the decision itself.
In the present case, the competent authority must be allowed to scrutinize the searched and impounded materials and provide an opportunity to the assessees to defend their case. Such an adjudicatory process alone would provide justice to the parties and therefore, this Court is not inclined to interfere at the stage of ‘show cause notice’ as far as the present writ petitions are concerned.
“The factual controversies and intricacies involved are to be adjudicated elaborately for the purpose of culling out the truth and such an adjudication is the dictum of law. Thus, any interference at this stage would cause prejudice to the due process of law to be undertaken by the authorities," the judge said and directed the IT officials to proceed with the assessment/reassessment by following the procedures as contemplated and by affording opportunity to the petitioners and complete the same as expeditiously as possible.