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Vindhya Metal Corporation and ors. Vs. Commissioner of Income-tax and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectDirect Taxation
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Misc. Writ Petition No. 99 of 1982
Judge
Reported in(1983)36CTR(All)238; [1985]156ITR233(All)
ActsIncome Tax Act, 1961 - Sections 132 and 132A
AppellantVindhya Metal Corporation and ors.
RespondentCommissioner of Income-tax and ors.
Appellant AdvocateR.K. Gulati, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateM. Katju, Adv.
Excerpt:
- - railway police, moghal sarai, on december 25, 1981. on the following day, namely, january 14, 1982, a notice was served upon rajendra kumar pandey as well by the ito, a' ward, mirzapur, to explain the nature of possession and the source of acquisition of rs. 5. when filed, the petition contained the prayers primarily for quashing the order of attachment of money of january 4, 1982, and the authorisation of search warrant as well as the notices dated january 13 and 14, 1982, together with the proceedings in pursuance thereof apart from a direction for return of the sum of rs. ..the deponent had satisfied himself regarding existence of conditions precedent to issuing of a warrant of requisition under section 132a(1). enquiries made by the iac, varanasi, and report to the deponent had.....mehrotra, j. 1. while travelling from mirzapur to calcutta by the kalka mail, one vinod kumar jaiswal was detained at moghal sarai by the govt. railway police and an attache case containing a sum of rs. 4,63,000 was seized from him on suspicion that the money was stolen property or had been obtained through some other offence. vinod kumarjaiswal was charged under section 411, ipc, read with sections 41 and 102, cr. pc, before the railway magistrate at moghalsarai. this was on december 25, 1981. the station officer-in-charge of govt. railway police, moghal sarai, sent an intimation to the i.t. authorities at varanasi on december 26, 1981, about the seizure of money. on december 26 itself, vinod kumar was produced before a magistrate at mirzapur. the then iac, varanasi, intimated the cit,.....
Judgment:

Mehrotra, J.

1. While travelling from Mirzapur to Calcutta by the Kalka Mail, one Vinod Kumar Jaiswal was detained at Moghal Sarai by the Govt. Railway Police and an attache case containing a sum of Rs. 4,63,000 was seized from him on suspicion that the money was stolen property or had been obtained through some other offence. Vinod KumarJaiswal was charged under Section 411, IPC, read with Sections 41 and 102, Cr. PC, before the Railway Magistrate at Moghalsarai. This was on December 25, 1981. The Station Officer-in-charge of Govt. Railway Police, Moghal Sarai, sent an intimation to the I.T. authorities at Varanasi on December 26, 1981, about the seizure of money. On December 26 itself, Vinod Kumar was produced before a Magistrate at Mirzapur. The then IAC, Varanasi, intimated the CIT, Allahabad, on December 29, about the fact of possession of the aforesaid amount by Sri Vinod Kumar and also that he did not have any papers or documents regarding the ownership or possession of the amount. The Commissioner was informed by the IAC that no person by the name of Vinod Kumar Jaiswal was borne on the General Index Register of Income-tax assesses of the ITO at Mirzapur. The Commissioner issued a requisition under Section 132A(1), I.T. Act, 1961, (for brief, 'the Act') to the Station Officer-in-charge, Govt. Railway Police, Moghal Sarai, requiring him to hand over the seized sum of money to the ITO (Sri S.N. Kapoor), who had been authorised by a warrant of authorisation to receive it.

2. The IAC of Varanasi authorised search of the residential premises of Rajendra Kumar Pandey, a partner of M/s. Vindhya Metal Corporation, Imamganj, Mirzapur, which is the first petitioner in this writ petition in consequence of a survey under Section 133A of the Act, which was authorised by the ITO,' A' Ward, Mirzapur, for the search of the business premises of the Corporation on December 29, 1981. The search warrant was issued on the view that Rajendra Kumar Pandey was concealing the real books of account, cash, bullion, jewellery and other valuables which he would not have produced in response to a summons under Section 131 and a notice under Section 142(1) of the I.T. Act. It is said by the petitioner that on December 29, 1981 itself, an I.T. Inspector had visited the premises of the petitioner and had found entered in the books of account that the aforesaid sum of Rs. 4,63,000 had been handed over to Vinod Kumar Jaiswal, who was the nephew of the third petitioner, Santosh Kumar Gupta (Jaiswal), for being carried to Calcutta in connection with the business of the petitioners and a sum of Rs. 17,353 was the cash balance. On December 30, 1981, this sum was carried away by the search party along with the books of account.

3. The Railway Police submitted a final report on January 21, 1982, on its conclusion that the money found in possession of Vinod Kumar in the train did not represent stolen property or property acquired under any offence because the amount belonged to the petitioner firm. Earlier to it, on January 1, 1982, Rajendra Kumar Pandey made an application before the Judicial Magistrate (Railway), Varanasi, praying that the amount whichbelonged to the petitioners and was being carried by Vinod Kumar who was serving as a munim in the firm (Vindhya Metal Corporation), be released to the applicant or else in favour of Vinod Kumar. On January 4, 1982, the ITO, 'F' Ward, Varanasi, requisitioned the aforesaid amount from the Railway Magistrate in pursuance of the authorisation issued by the CIT under Section 132A. On January 13, 1982, an objection to the prayer made by Rajendra Kumar Pandey was filed by the ITO in the court of the Judicial Magistrate in which a direction for delivery of the amount to the Department by the Station Officer, Govt. Railway Police, Moghal Sarai, was sought. The Magistrate decided the matter by a detailed order of February 3, 1982, and, rejecting the objection of the Department, directed return of the amount to Rajendra Kumar Pandey. On February 4, the ITO served a prohibitory order upon the Station House Officer of the Govt. Railway Police, Moghal Sarai, under Section 281B, I.T. Act, after obtainining the approval of the CIT, Allahabad, from making over the amount to Rajendra Kumar Pandey or the Vindhya Metal Corporation. The order dated February 3 was assailed in Criminal Revision No. 177 of 1982, under Section 378, Cr. PC. This court allowed the revision on April 9, 1982, and permitted the I.T. Department to take possession of the sum of Rs. 4,63,000.

4. Meanwhile, on January 13, 1982, the ITO, Mirzapur, called upon the Corporation to explain the nature of possession and the source of acquisition of the assets seized by the Department, namely, cash amounting to Rs. 17,353 on December 30, 1981, and the sum of Rs. 4,63,000 seized by the Govt. Railway Police, Moghal Sarai, on December 25, 1981. On the following day, namely, January 14, 1982, a notice was served upon Rajendra Kumar Pandey as well by the ITO, ' A' Ward, Mirzapur, to explain the nature of possession and the source of acquisition of Rs. 17,353 seized on December 30, 1981. On February 18, 1982, the present petition was filed. This was before the disposal of the criminal revision by this court. The petitioners are the Corporation arid its two partners, Rajendra Kumar Pandey and Santosh Kumar Gupta, while arrayed as respondents are the CIT, Allahabad, and the ITOs of Varanasi and Mirzapur, the first of them being the officer authorised by the CIT.

5. When filed, the petition contained the prayers primarily for quashing the order of attachment of money of January 4, 1982, and the authorisation of search warrant as well as the notices dated January 13 and 14, 1982, together with the proceedings in pursuance thereof apart from a direction for return of the sum of Rs. 17,353 and the documents and books of account seized on December 30, 1981. Later, in January 1983, the petition was sought to be amended and on the basis of the facts brought onrecord through the affidavit filed in support of the amendment application, it was prayed that the order of the CIT dated December 4, 1982, under Section 125(1) of the I.T. Act, transferring the jurisdiction of the petitioner's case to the IAC (Assessment) Range 2, Varanasi, be quashed and the CIT be directed to dispose of the two applications of September 14, 1982, and November 26, 1982, made by the petitioners for dropping the proceedings under Sections 132 and 132A, I.T. Act, 'completing assessment proceedings for the years 1981-82 and 1982-83 expeditiously and objecting to the transfer of the petitioner's case proposed through the notice of the Commissioner dated November 20, 1982, to the IAC (Assessment) 'Range 2, Varanasi, after hearing the petitioners' prayer for a direction for refund of the amount in possession of the Department with interest was also made.

6. The respondents have opposed the prayers made by the petitioners and have shown cause in the form of counter-affidavits sworn by Sarvsri Hira Singh and Bishambhar Nath, the then CIT, Allahabad, Smt. Shalini Sharma, IAC (Assessment) Range 2, Varanasi, and Sri S. N. Kapoor, ITO, ' F' Ward, Varanasi.

7. In his submissions before us, Sri R.K. Gulati, appearing for the petitioners, has confined his case to the validity of the proceedings under Section 132A in respect of the sum of Rs. 4,63,000 and under Section 132 in respect of the sum of Rs. 17,353 and the books of account seized on December 30, 1981, and that too, principally, on the ground that the initiation of these proceedings was without jurisdiction. We now proceed to consider the submissions.

8. Section 132 of the Act enables the CIT and some other officers mentioned therein to authorise entry into and search of any building and seizure of the books of account, money, etc., found there in certain circumstances, while Section 132A permits requisition of books of account, money, etc., by the Commissioner from any officer or authority who may have taken into custody such books, money, etc., under any other law for the time being in force. They also provide in detail the procedure to be followed consequent upon such seizure or requisition and the manner in which the documents or money is to be dealt with. The necessary portions of these provisions which concern us for the disposal of the writ petition, are these :

' Section 132. (1) Where the Director of Inspection or the Commissioner or any such Deputy Director of Inspection or Inspecting Assistant Commissioner as may be empowered in this behalf by the Board, in consequence of information in his possession, has reason to believe that--......

(b) any person to whom a summons or notice as aforesaid has been or might be issued will not, or would not, produce or cause to be produced,any books of account or other documents which will be useful for, or relevant to, any proceeding under the Income-tax Act, 1922 (11 of 1922), or under this Act, or

(c) any person is in possession of any money, bullion, jewellery or other valuable article or thing and such money, bullion, jewellery or other valuable article or thing represents either wholly or partly income or property which has not been, or would not be, disclosed for the purposes of the Indian Income-tax Act, 1922 (11 of 1922), or this Act (hereinafter in this section referred to as the undisclosed income or property),

then,--

(A) the Director of Inspection or the Commissioner, as the case may be, may authorise any Deputy Director of Inspection-Inspecting Assistant Commissioner, Assistant Director of Inspection or Income-tax Officer, or

(B) such Deputy Director of Inspection or Inspecting Assistant Commissioner, as the case may be, may authorise any Assistant Director 'of Inspection or Income-tax Officer,

(the officer so authorised in all cases being hereinafter referred to as the authorised officer) to--

(i) enter and search any building, place, vessel, vehicle or aircraft where he has reason to suspect that such books of account, other documents, money, bullion, jewellery or other valuable article or thing are kept; .........

(iii) seize any such books of account, other documents, money, bullion, jewellery or other valuable article or thing found as a result of such search; .........

(5) Where any money, bullion, jewellery or other valuable article or thing (hereafter in this section and in Sections 132A and 132B referred to as the assets) is seized under Sub-section (1) or Sub-section (1A), the ITO, after affording a reasonable opportunity to the person concerned of being heard and making such enquiry as may be prescribed, shall, within ninety days of the seizure, make an order, with the previous approval of the I AC--...... '

' Section 132A. (1) Where the Director of Inspection or the Commissioner, in consequence of information in his possession, has reason to believe that--......

(c) any assets represent either wholly or partly income or property which has not been, or would not have been, disclosed for the purposes of the Indian Income-tax Act, 1922 (11 of 1922), or this Act by any person from whose possession or control such assets have been taken into custody by any officer or authority under any other law for the time being in force,

then, the Director of Inspection or the Commissioner may authorise any Deputy Director of Inspection, Inspecting Assistant Commissioner, Assistant Director of Inspection or Income-tax Officer (hereafter in this section and in Sub-section (2) of Section 278D referred to as the requisitioning officer) to require the officer or authority referred to in Clause (a) or Clause (b) or Clause (c), as the case may be, to deliver such books of account, other documents or assets to the requisitioning officer.

(2) On a requisition being made under Sub-section (1), the officer or authority referred to in Clause (a) or Clause (b) or Clause (c), as the case may be, of that Sub-section shall deliver the books of account, other documents or assets to the requisitioning officer either forthwith or when such officer or authority is of the opinion that it is no longer necessary to retain the same in his or its custody.........'

9. Both these provisions in Sub-section (1) contemplate that an order of authorisation can be made by the Commissioner or the Assistant Commissioner where--

(i) in consequence of information in his possession,

(ii) he has reason to believe, that

(iii) ............

(a) any person when called upon would not produce or cause to be produced any books of account which will be useful for, or relevant to, any proceeding under the Income-tax Act, 1922, or under the Act,

(b) any person is in possession of money, etc., which represents either wholly or partly income which has not been or would not be disclosed for the purposes of the Income-tax Act, 1922, or of the Act.

10. And, in a case governed by Clause (c) of Section 132A(1), assets have been taken into custody by any officer or authority under any other law from the person who would not have disclosed it for the purposes of the I.T. Act, 1922, or of the exercise of power by the authorising authority is the same in cases governed by either of the two provisions.

11. It is settled that the existence or otherwise of the condition precedent to exercise of power under these provisions is open to judicial scrutiny. The absence of the condition precedent would naturally have the effect of vitiating the authorisation made by the Commissioner in either of the two provisions and the proceedings consequent thereto. While the sufficiency or otherwise of the information cannot be examined by the court, the existence of information and its relevance to the formation of the belief can undoubtedly be gone into. Also, whether on the material available with the Commissioner, any reasonable person could have arrived at the conclusion that a search, seizure or requisition should be authorised is a fieldopen to judicial review. (See Chhugamal Rajpal v. Chaliha : [1971]79ITR603(SC) ; Motilal v. Preventive Intelligence Officer : [1971]80ITR418(All) ; Sibal v. CIT ; ITO v. Lakhmani Mewal Das : [1976]103ITR437(SC) ; Manju Tandon (Smt.) v. Kapoor : [1978]115ITR473(All) and Ganga Prasad Maheshwari v. CIT : [1983]139ITR1043(All) .

12. In the instant case, the first in point of time was the authorisation made under Section 132A(1) of the Act by the CIT requisitioning the sum of Rs. 4,63,000 which had been found with Vinod Kumar Jaiswal on December 25, 1981, and which had been seized by the Railway police. Sri Hira Singh, the CIT, who had authorised Sri S.N. Kapoor, ITO, 'F' Ward, Varanasi, in this respect, says this in his counter-affidavit:

' ...it is stated that deponent had received information from the IAC, Varanasi, on December 29, 1981, that a sum of Rs. 4,63,000 had been seized by the G.R.P. authorities from the possession of one Sri Vinod Kumar Jaiswal, son of Shri Hiralal Jaiswal, resident of Imamganj, Durga Devi, Mirzapur. The deponent was also informed that when apprehended by the G.R.P. authorities, the said Vinod Kumar did not have any papers/documents regarding the ownership/possession of the said sum. The IAC also informed the deponent that no person by the name of Vinod Kumar Jaiswal is borne on the General index Register of the income-tax assesses of Income-tax Offices at Mirzapur. In consequence of information thus received, the deponent had reasons to believe that the money seized by G.R.P. authorities represented, either wholly or in part, income which had not been or which would not be disclosed for the purposes of the I.T. Act by the person from whose possession the money has been seized. The deponent, therefore, issued a requisition under Section 132A(1) of the I.T. Act to the Station House Officer, G.R.P., Moghalsarai, requiring him to hand over the seized sum of money to the authorised ITOs......The deponent had satisfied himself regarding existence of conditions precedent to issuing of a warrant of requisition under Section 132A(1). Enquiries made by the IAC, Varanasi, and report to the deponent had clearly shown that the said Sri Vinod Kumar Jaiswal was not having any papers/documents to explain the ownership/possession of the seized sum and he was not assessed to income-tax...it is submitted that all the requirements of Section 132A(1) were duly satisfied before the deponent issued the requisition under the said provision. The facts have already been given above. The deponent is prepared to place the relevant records before this Hon'ble Court. However, the deponent claims privilege under Section 123, Evidence Act, from disclosing these records to the petitioners.'

13. We called for the file containing the order passed by the Commissioner and examined it with the assistance of the learned counsel for the Revenue.It transpired that the information mentioned in para 3 had been given to the Commissioner telephonically and had been recorded on the file, in the form of a note by an ITO attached to the Commissioner as his assistant. The information so recorded was considered by the Commissioner. The facts placed before the Commissioner were that :

(a) a sum of 'Rs. 4,63,000 had been seized by the Government Railway Police from the possession of one Vinod Kumar Jaiswal, resident of Imamganj, Durga Devi, Mirzapur ;

(b) at the time of the seizure by the Railway Police, no papers or documents in regard to the ownership or possession of the amount were in possession of Vinod Kumar Jaiswal, and

(c) no person by the name of Vinod Kumar Jaiswal was borne on the General Index Register of Income-tax assesses of the Income-tax Offices at Mirzapur.

Do these facts constitute 'information' and can they be said to be relevant for forming a belief that the amount recovered from Vinod Kumar represented wholly or partly income which had not been or would not have been disclosed for the purpose of the I.T. Act, 1922, or of the Act by Vinod Kumar Jaiswal. These questions are to be answered in the light of the true scope of enquiry permissible on the part of the court in judging whether the condition precedent for exercise of power under Section 132A existed or not in a given case. And the scope, as settled by various pronouncements, clearly includes an enquiry whether, on the facts placed before him, the Commissioner could, as a reasonable person, have arrived at the conclusion that the money represented either wholly or partly income which had not been or would not have been disclosed by Vinod Kumar Jaiswal for purposes of the I.T. Acts. Vinod Kumar Jaiswal, according to the information in possession of the Commissioner, was not borne on the General Index Register of Income-tax assesses of the Income-tax Offices at Mirzapur to which place he belonged. Obviously, therefore, there was no occasion for him to have disclosed the amount as his income in any assessment proceedings under the Act. Without anything more than what was actually there before the Commissioner, how could it have been assumed that he would not have disclosed it for purposes of any proceedings under the Act. There was nothing before the Commissioner to suggest that it was, in fact, wholly or in part, income of any person connected with Vinod Kumar Jaiswal so as to induce a belief that, if called upon, Vinod Kumar Jaiswal would not have disclosed it for the purpose of the Act. The mere fact that Vinod Kumar Jaiswal was in possession of this amount and did not have any documents with himregarding its ownership or possession could not be treated as appears to have been done by the Commissioner as information relatable to a conclusion that it represented income which would not have been disclosed by Vinod Kumar Jaiswal for purposes of the Act. Mere unexplained possession of the amount, without anything more, could hardly be said to constitute information which could be treated as sufficient by a reasonable person, leading to an. inference that it was income which would not have been disclosed by the person in possession for purposes of the Acts. After all, the belief, for purposes of Section 132A, is to be belief entertainable by a reasonable man and is not the belief arbitrarily entertained on material or grounds which will not lead a reasonable man to that belief. There is no doubt, in our mind, that on the information in possession of the Commissioner in the present case, no reasonable person could have entertained a belief that the amount in possession of Vinod Kumar represented income which would not have been disclosed by him for purposes of the Acts. Thus, the condition precedent for the exercise of power under Section 132A was utterly lacking in the present case and the requisition made by the Commissioner was without jurisdiction.

14. It was urged for the Revenue that this court should leave the matter to be determined in proceedings under the Act itself, where the petitioners could, on proof of the fact, that the amount taken into possession from Vinod Kumar Jaiswal belonged to them and did not represent wholly or in part income which would not have been revealed for the purpose of the Act, get redress and more so, when, proceeded the submission, they have laid claim to the amount on the footing that they had secured it by way of loan from various traders and had deputed Vinod Kumar Jaiswal to proceed with it to Calcutta to participate in an auction in connection with their business. We are not inclined to accept the submission, for, we feel that in a case like the present when the action is wholly without jurisdiction and is, consequently, not backed by any authority of law, denial of relief would encourage arbitrary action on the part of the authorities. As consistently held by this court, noticeably in the case of Manju Tandon : [1978]115ITR473(All) , the plea of alternative remedy is of no avail where the action is wholly without jurisdiction and results in infringement of any fundamental right of the petitioners. It is not in dispute in this case that the petitioners are laying claim to the amount being one raised by them for the purpose of their business and the Revenue is holding it back from them directly on the basis of the order of requisition made by the Commissioner under Section 132 A.

15. The direction made on February 4, 1982, under Section 281B of the Act has also been assailed in the writ petition. This was made after the claimof the petitioners for the release of the amount in their favour had been accepted by the Railway Magistrate on February 3, 1982. This court set aside the order of the Magistrate dated February 3, 1982, in Criminal Revision No. 177 of 1982 and permitted the I.T. Department to take possession of the sum of Rs. 4,63,000. The challenge to the validity of the order dated December 4, 1982, was not pressed at the time of hearing of the petition for it was said by Sri R.K. Gulati that he will pursue his remedy separately about it as it may require going into some disputed questions whether its operation was extended beyond the period of six months or not and if so whether it had been done in accordance with law. We have, therefore, refrained from expressing any opinion about this order.

16. The other action in challenge in the present petition relates to the seizure made on December 30, 1981, of some books of account and of the sum of Rs. 17,353 of the petitioner firm from the residence of one of the partners, namely, Rajendra Kumar Pandey. The submission of Sri Gulati in this respect is that the condition precedent for exercise of power by the IAC of authorising the ITO to carry on the search and seizure was not satisfied.

17. Smt. Shalini Sharma, IAC (Assessment) Range 2, Varanasi, has sworn a counter-affidavit in which she has stated that :

' No proceeding under Section 132 was initiated by the IAC, Varanasi, in the case of the petitioners' firm. The survey under Section 133A, I.T. Act, 1961, was authorised by the, ITO, A Ward, Mirzapur, for survey of business premises of M/s. Vindhya Metal Corporation, petitioner 1, on December 29, 1981. The proceedings under Sections 133A and 132 are different proceedings. A consequential search was authorised by the IAC, Varanasi, of residential premises of Sri Rajendra Kumar Pandey, petitioner No. 2. The search warrant was issued after recording the reasons and belief that Sri Rajendra Kumar Pandey is concealing real books of account, cash, bullion, jewellery and other valuables which he would not produce in response to summons under Section 131 and a notice under Section 142(1), I.T. Act....'

18. The then CIT (Sri Hira Singh) mentioned in his counter-affidavit that the warrants of authorisation under Section 132(1) were issued by the IAC, Varanasi, on the basis of information in his possession and since he had not been made a party to the writ petition, the allegations made in para. 26 of the writ petition that the IAC, Varanasi, did not believe that the money in question belonged to the petitioners and, as such, there could be no ground whatsoever for his belief as required under Section 132 to carry out a search of the petitioner's premises and that the search, ifnecessary could only be carried on in the premises of Vinod Kumar Jaiswal deserved to be ignored. In reply to this allegation, it has been asserted in the rejoinder affidavit sworn by Rajendra Kumar Pandey that at the time when the writ petition was filed, he was under a bona fide impression and belief that the search warrant had been issued by the Commissioner and it was on that account that he did not implead the IAC as a party to the writ petition. Further, he was making an application to implead the said officer as a respondent to the writ petition. Such an application was also made. The counter-affidavit sworn by Smt. Shalini Sharma is in reply to the affidavit of the petitioners filed in support of the amendment application. It appears that there is some confusion about the nature of proceedings taken on December 30, 1981. While the petitioners have described the proceedings as one initiated under Section 132(1) by the IAC, Vara-nasi, the case set up in the counter-affidavit of Smt. Shalini Sharma is that on December 29, 1981, the ITO, 'A' Ward, Mirzapur, authorised a survey of the business premises of M/s. Vindhya Metal Corporation under Section 133A and it was in pursuance thereof that a consequential search was authorised by the IAC of Varanasi of the residential premises of R. K. Pandey. This search warrant, according to the counter-affidavit, was issued after recording the reasons and belief that R. K. Pandey was concealing real books of account, cash, bullion, jewellery and other valuables which would not be produced in response to summons under Section 131 and notice under Section 142(1) of the Act. The counter-affidavit was sworn on February 15, 1983. In the rejoinder affidavit sworn in the month of February itself, R. K. Pandey pointed out that, in that event, the respondents were not entitled to retain the money with them and further that they were not entitled to remove any books of account from the premises and retain them. The respondents did not, at the time of the hearing of the petition, make any attempt to justify the stand contained in the counter-affidavit of Smt. Shalini Sharma. No counter-affidavit was sworn by the IAC who authorised the search and seizure made on December 30, 1981. The CIT naturally could not say anything about the circumstances in which the authorisation resulting in the action taken on December 30, 1981, was made. There is, therefore, no material on the record of the writ petition to sustain the action taken on December 30, 1981. In these circumstances, we are not called upon to express any opinion on the question whether the action was justifiable on the footing that it had been taken in pursuance of an authorisation made by the IAC or under Section 132(1) of the Act. However, we may observe in passing that on the allegation made in the writ petition that the books of account had been seen by an Income-tax Inspector on December 29, 1981, and that they contained an entry about the amount of Rs. 4,63,000 as well as about the cash balance of Rs. 17,353, it would bedifficult to take the view that the authorisation could be made on December 30, 1981, under Section 132(1), on the basis that in consequence of information in his possession, the IAC could have reason to believe that the books of account or documents relevant to any proceedings under the Act would not be produced or cause to be produced by the petitioners or that they were in possession of any money which represented either wholly or partly income which had not been or would not be disclosed by them for that purpose. In any case, on the pleadings of the parties in the writ petition, it is obvious that the seizure of the books of account and the sum of Rs. 17,353 by the respondents was without the authority of law. The petitioners, therefore, would be entitled to relief in that regard as well.

19. The petition succeeds and is allowed. The authorisation made by the CIT under Section 132A and the proceedings in consequence thereof are quashed. The action of the respondents in seizing the books and documents as well as the sum of Rs. 17,353 on December 30, 1981, also being contrary to law, they are directed to return the same to the petitioners forthwith.

20. The petitioners would be entitled to their costs.


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