Tax Relief For Congress: No Coercive Action During Polls

The Income Tax Department won't take any coercive steps against the Congress to recover Rs 3,500 crore until the second week of June in view of the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. For now, however, the Congress has reason to feel relieved.

Apr 1, 2024 - 13:32
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Tax Relief For Congress: No Coercive Action During Polls

The Income Tax Department won't take any coercive steps against the Congress to recover Rs 3,500 crore until the second week of June in view of the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the Supreme Court today. The Court will hear the case on July 24.

For now, however, the Congress has reason to feel relieved. The party had approached the Supreme Court after it received notices from the Income Tax department, seeking payment of tax dues amounting to a whopping ₹ 3,567 crore. The Opposition party has accused the ruling BJP of "tax terrorism" and alleged the Income Tax department's move was an attempt to choke it financially in the run-up to polls. The party has said this was disrupting the level-playing field for the polls and also urged the Election Commission to intervene.

When the case came up before a bench led by Justice BV Nagarathna today, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the central agency will take no coercive action against the Opposition party during polls. When the court asked if the Centre is pausing the tax demand, Mr Mehta replied, "No, we are just saying that we will not take any action till the election."

The Solicitor General said that the party has paid some Rs134 crore in tax dues this year, and "now we have raised Rs 1700 crore more". Since elections are going on. We are not going to press for recovering (Rs 3,500 crore) at this point of time. Please have this on the second week of June," he urged.

The case pertains to a petition filed by Congress in 2018 challenging a Delhi High Court order allowing the Income Tax Department to reassess their income tax for the assessment years 2011-2012.

In response to the Solicitor General's statement, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who appeared on behalf of Congress, said he was "shocked and rendered speechless". To this, Justice BV Nagarthana observed, "You (Congress) shouldn't perceive negative about someone all the time."

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