Thursday, 8 October 2015

ITAT Takes Contra View On Non-Applicability Of S. 14A/ Rule 8D To Shares Bought From Own Funds And Held As Stock-In-Trade

HDFC Bank Limited vs. DCIT (ITAT Mumbai)

S. 14A/ Rule 8D: (i) Presumption laid down in HDFC Bank 366 ITR 505 (Bom) and Reliance Utilities 313 ITR 340 (Bom) that investments in tax-free securities must be deemed to have come out of own funds and (ii) Law laid down in India Advantage (Bom) that s. 14A and Rule 8D does not apply to securities held as stock-in-trade cannot be applied as both propositions are contrary to Godrej & Boyce 328 ITR 81 (Bom)

In our view, it was incumbent on the parties to have brought its’ decision in the case of Godrej & Boyce to the notice of the Hon’ble Court in HDFC Bank Ltd.. We are conscious that we are deciding an appeal in the case of the same assessee. So, however, we are deciding a purely legal issue, i.e., whether, in view of the statutory presumption cast by section 14A, a non obstante provision, a presumption on facts could obtain, or that the assessee shall have to establish the same with reference to its accounts, in terms of section 14A(2) r/w s. 14A(3), leading to a satisfaction or otherwise of the assessing authority, arrived at objectively, only to find the earlier decision in Godrej & Boyce (supra) as having addressed the said issue. Further, that the facts in Reliance Utilities and Power Ltd., which was even otherwise in respect of allowance of expenditure u/s.36(1)(iii) – a provision which does not mandate any apportionment per se, stood established, with in fact the said decision having been considered in Godrej & Boyce. As such, there being no estoppel against law, we consider ourselves as legally justified in following the said decision by the Hon’ble jurisdictional High Court, address as it does, in our opinion, the issue at hand, and is thus squarely applicable, even as found in Dhanuka & Sons (supra), D. H. Securities (P) Ltd. (supra); and Damani Estates & Finance (P.) Ltd. (supra). These also constitute the binding reasons for not following the decision by the tribunal in Dy. CIT (OSD) vs. Shri Durga Capital Ltd. (in ITA No. 7405/Mum/2011 dated 03.08.2015/copy on record), also relied upon before us, in-as-much as we find no statement of law ascribed to India Advantage Securities Ltd. (supra); the Hon’ble Court therein holding the appeal before it to not raise any substantial question of law. Further, there is, no reference to the binding decision by the Hon’ble jurisdictional High Court in Godrej & Boyce (supra), or by the tribunal in D. H. Securities (P) Ltd. (supra) as well as Damani Estates & Finance (P.) Ltd. (supra), explaining the said decision, as well as its bearing on the decision by the larger bench of the tribunal in Daga Capital Management Pvt. Ltd. (infra), in Shri Dura Capital Ltd

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