SC : J. Jayalalitha liable for prosecution for non-filing of I-T return
IT : J. Jayalalitha liable for prosecution for non-filing of return
• Pendency of the appellate proceedings is not a relevant factor for not initiating prosecution proceedings under section 276CC of the Act. Section 276CC contemplates that an offence is committed on the non-filing of the return and it is totally unrelated to the pendency of assessment proceedings except for second part of the offence for determination of the sentence of the offence, the department may resort to best judgment assessment or otherwise to past years to determine the extent of the breach.
• The contention that no prosecution could be initiated till the culmination of assessment proceedings, especially in a case where the appellant had not filed the return as per section 139(1) of the Act or following the notices issued under section 142 or section 148 does not arise.
• The declaration or statement made in the individual returns by partners that the accounts of the firm are not finalized, hence no return has been filed by the firm, will not absolve the firm in filing the 'statutory return under section 139(1) of the Act. The firm is independently required to file the return and merely because there has been a best judgment assessment under section 144 would not nullify the liability of the firm to file the return as per section 139(1) of the Act. Appellants' contention that since they had in their individual returns indicated that the firm's accounts had not been finalized, hence no returns were filed, would mean that failure to file return was not willful, cannot be accepted.