Prosecution u/s 276CC – Whether default is willful or not is a fact to be decided by trial court on the basis of evidence adduced – High Court
ABCAUS Neutral Case Law Citation:
ABCAUS 3685 (2023) (03) HC
In the instant case, the assessee had filed a Petition before the Hon’ble High Court seeking quashing of Criminal Proceedings initiated against him by the Income Tax Department.
Against the Petitioner, the Income tax Department had initiated prosecution under section 276CC of the Income Tax Act, 1961 (the Act) by filing criminal proceedings in the court of the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate.
Section 276CC of the Act provides punishment for the offence of non filing of income tax return (ITR) with penalty and/or imprisonment depending on amount of tax sought to be evaded.
Before the Hon’ble High Court, the Petitioner took the ground that the failure to file ITR was not wilful.
The Hon’ble High Court observed that admitted fact was that the petitioner failed to file Income Tax Return in time for the relevant assessment year. A notice was issued to him under Section 148 of the Act to submit his return. In spite of the receipt of the notice, the Petitioner did not file the ITR. Under these circumstances the prosecution was lodged against him.
The Hon’ble High Court opined that the only specific ground taken by the Petitioner was that the failure was not willful which is a fact to be considered by the trial court on the basis of the evidence adduced before it.
The Hon’ble High Court stated that such disputed question of fact cannot be decided by it in a proceedings under Section 482 of CrPC.
Accordingly, the Hon’ble High Court dismissed the Petition filed by the assessee.
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