SC puts plea by Sonia, Rahul for final consideration

March 17 has been set as the date

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta contended that there could be further delays and the tribunal might have certain findings that could further delay the matter indefinitely. (PTI photo)

The Supreme Court on Monday put for final consideration on March 17 a plea by top Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi against the decision by the Income Tax authorities for the re-assessment of tax paid by them for 2011-12, triggered by their acquisitions of shares in the company that run 'National Herald' and other publications.

A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and Hrishikesh Roy deferred its hearing after senior advocates P Chidambaram and Kapil Sibal, appearing for the petitioners, submitted an application under Section 254(2) of the I-T Act related to rectification of the mistake before the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal was coming up for consideration on February 28.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta contended that there could be further delays and the tribunal might have certain findings that could further delay the matter indefinitely.

To this, the bench said we would not let it go on indefinitely and fixed the matter for final consideration on March 17 after Holi vacations.

The income of the top Congress leaders, including Oscar Fernandes, for 2011-12 was sought to be reassessed by the tax department as they "failed" to disclose acquisition of shares in Associated Journal Ltd which runs National Herald.

They challenged the Delhi High Court's order of September 10, 2018 that had refused to give any relief to the leaders.

The petitioners, on their part, had contended the company, Young India with Rahul, Sonia being shareholders, acquired some of the shares in AJL along with debt of over Rs 90 crore, which did not mean that it has given rise to their income. They further maintained that the YI was a Section 25 company which does not make a profit.

The matter has arisen after a private complaint was filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy before a trial court in which the three leaders are out on bail.

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