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Friday, January 31, 2014

Sec.139, 142 ,144 ,276CC and 278E of the Income Act - Discharge petition under sec. 245(2) Cr.P.C -Criminal prosecution launched for non filing of returns in time and inspite of notice - Best judgment fixing tax - non finalization of accounts are not the good reasons to discharge the accused - burden lies on the accused that due to bonafide reasons , returns not filed - lower court and high court rightly dismissed the discharge petition - apex court dismissed the appeal = Sasi Enterprises … Appellant Versus Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax … Respondent = 2014 (January part) judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41190

Sec.139, 142 ,144 ,276CC and 278E of the Income Act - Discharge petition under sec. 245(2) Cr.P.C -Criminal prosecution launched for  non filing of returns in time and inspite of notice - Best judgment fixing tax - non finalization of accounts are not the good reasons to discharge the accused - burden lies on the accused that due to bonafide reasons , returns not filed - lower court and high court rightly dismissed the discharge petition -
apex court dismissed the appeal = 

 Notice under Section 142(1)(i)
      was issued to A-2 calling for return of income on 18.1.1994.  The said
      notice was served on her  on  19.1.1994.   Reminders  were  issued  on
      10.2.1994, 22.8.1994 and 23.8.1995.   No return was filed as  required
      under Section 139(4) before 31.3.1995.   The Department  on  31.7.1995
      issued notice under Section  142(1)(ii)  calling  for  particulars  of
      income and other details for completion of  assessment.   Neither  the
      return of  income  was  filed  nor  the  particulars  of  income  were
      furnished. Best judgment assessment under  Section  144  was  made  on
      9.2.1996 on a total income of Rs.1,04,49,153/- and tax  determined  at
      Rs.46,68,676/- and demand of Rs.96,98,801/-, inclusive of interest  at
      Rs.55,53,882/- was raised after adjusting pre-paid tax of Rs.5,23,756/-
      .  The Department then issued show-cause notice for prosecution  under
      Section 276CC on  14.6.1996.   Later,  sanction  for  prosecution  was
      accorded by the Commissioner of Income Tax on 3.10.1996.


      7.    A-3 also failed to file the return  of  income  as  per  Section
      139(1) for the assessment  year  1993-94  before  the  due  date  i.e.
      31.8.1993.  Notice under Section 142(1)(i) was issued to  A-3  calling
      for filing of return of income on  8.11.1995.    Further,  notice  was
      also  issued  under  Section  142(1)(ii)  on  21.7.1995  calling   for
      particulars of income and other details for completion of  assessment.
       Neither the return of income was filed nor the particulars of  income
      were furnished.   Best judgment assessment under Section 144 was  made
      on 8.2.1996 on a total income of Rs.70,28,110/- and tax determined  at
      Rs.26,86,445/-.   The total tax payable, inclusive of interest due was
      Rs.71,19,527/-.  After giving effect to the appellate order, the total
      income was revised by  Rs.19,25,000/-,  resulting  in  tax  demand  of
      Rs.20,23,279/-, inclusive of interest  levied.   Later,  a  show-cause
      notice for prosecution under  Section  276CC  was  issued  to  A-3  on
      7.8.1996.   A-3  filed  replies  on  24.11.1996  and  24.3.1997.   The
      Commissioner of  Income  Tax  accorded  sanction  for  prosecution  on
      4.8.1997.=

Proceedings  giving
      rise to these appeals originated from  the  complaints  filed  by  the
      Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax, Chennai, before  the  Additional
      Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (Egmore), Chennai, for the  willful  and
      deliberate failure to file returns for the assessment  years  1991-92,
      1992-93 and hence committing offences punishable under Section 276  CC
      of the Income Tax Act, 1961 (for short “the  Act”).   Complaints  were
      filed on 21.8.1997 after getting the sanction from the Commissioner of
      Income Tax, Central II, Chennai under Section 279(1) of the Income Tax
      Act.  Appellants filed two discharge petitions  under  Section  245(2)
      Cr.P.C., which were dismissed by  the  Chief  Metropolitan  Magistrate
      vide order dated 14.6.2006.  Appellants preferred Crl. R.C. Nos.781 to
      786 of 2006 before the High Court of Madras which  were  dismissed  by
      the High Court vide its common order dated 2.12.2006,  which  are  the
      subject matters of these appeals.=             
(1)   Whether an assessee  has  the  liability/duty  to  file  a
           return under Section 139(1) of  the  Act  within  the  due  date
           prescribed therein?
           (2)   What is the  effect  of  best  judgment  assessment  under
           Section 144 of the Act and will it nullify the liability of  the
           assessee to file its return under Section 139(1) of the Act?
           (3)   Whether non-filing of return under Section 139(1)  of  the
           Act, as well as non-compliance  of  the  time  prescribed  under
           Sections 142 and 148 of the Act are grounds  for  invocation  of
           the provisions of Section 276CC of the Act?
           (4)   Whether the pendency of the appellate proceedings relating
           to  assessment  or  non-attaining  finality  of  the  assessment
           proceedings is a bar in initiating prosecution proceedings under
           Section 276CC due to non-filing of returns?
           (5)   What is the scope of Section 278E of the Act, and at  what
           stage the presumption can be drawn by the Court?

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.

Section 278E deals with the presumption as to  culpable   mental
      state,  which  was  inserted  by  the  Taxation  Laws  (Amendment  and
      Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1986.  The  question  is  on  whom  the
      burden lies, either on the prosecution or the assessee, under  Section
      278E to prove whether the assessee has or has  not  committed  willful
      default in filing the returns. Court in a prosecution of offence, like
      Section 276CC has to presume the existence of mens rea and it  is  for
      the accused to prove the  contrary  and  that  too  beyond  reasonable
      doubt.  Resultantly, the appellants have to  prove  the  circumstances
      which prevented them from filing the returns as per Section 139(1)  or
      in response to notices under Sections 142 and 148 of the Act.


      31.   We, therefore, find no reason to interfere with the order passed
      by the High Court.  The appeals, therefore, lack merits and  the  same
      are dismissed and the Criminal Court is directed to complete the trial
      within four months from the date of receipt of this Judgment.

2014  (January part) judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41190
K.S. RADHAKRISHNAN, A.K. SIKRI
                                                    REPORTABLE


                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA


                       CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION


                        CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.61 OF 2007




      Sasi Enterprises                             … Appellant


                                   Versus


      Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax         … Respondent


                                    WITH


                   CRIMINAL APPEAL NOs.62, 63 & 64 OF 2007




                               J U D G M E N T






      K.S. Radhakrishnan, J.






      1.    We are concerned with four Criminal Appeals No.61 to 64 of 2007,
      out of which two Criminal Appeals No.61 of 2007 and 63 of 2007  relate
      to M/s Sasi Enterprises, a registered partnership firm, of  which  Ms.
      J. Jayalalitha and Mrs. N. Sasikala are partners, which relate to  the
      assessment years 1991-92 and 1992-93  respectively.   Criminal  Appeal
      Nos.62 and 63 of  2007  relate  to  J.  Jayalalitha  and  N.  Sasikala
      respectively for the assessment years  1993-94.    Proceedings  giving
      rise to these appeals originated from  the  complaints  filed  by  the
      Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax, Chennai, before  the  Additional
      Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (Egmore), Chennai, for the  willful  and
      deliberate failure to file returns for the assessment  years  1991-92,
      1992-93 and hence committing offences punishable under Section 276  CC
      of the Income Tax Act, 1961 (for short “the  Act”).   Complaints  were
      filed on 21.8.1997 after getting the sanction from the Commissioner of
      Income Tax, Central II, Chennai under Section 279(1) of the Income Tax
      Act.  Appellants filed two discharge petitions  under  Section  245(2)
      Cr.P.C., which were dismissed by  the  Chief  Metropolitan  Magistrate
      vide order dated 14.6.2006.  Appellants preferred Crl. R.C. Nos.781 to
      786 of 2006 before the High Court of Madras which  were  dismissed  by
      the High Court vide its common order dated 2.12.2006,  which  are  the
      subject matters of these appeals.


      2.    M/s Sasikala Enterprises was formed as a partnership firm  by  a
      deed dated 06.02.1989 with N.  Sasikala  and  T.V.  Dinakaran  as  its
      partners, which was later reconstituted with  effect  from  04.05.1990
      with J. Jayalalitha and N. Sasikala as partners.   The  firm  did  the
      business through two units, namely, M/s Fax  Universal  and  M/s  J.S.
      Plan Printers, which, inter alia, included the business in running all
      kinds of motor cars, dealing  in  vehicles  and  goods  etc.   In  the
      complaint E.O.C.C. No.202 of 1997 filed before the Chief  Metropolitan
      Magistrate, Egmore, M/s  Sasi  Enterprises  was  shown  as  the  first
      accused (A-1) and J. Jayalalitha and N. Sasikala were shown  as  (A-2)
      and (A-3) respectively, who were stated to be responsible for the day-
      to-day business of the firm during the assessment  years  in  question
      and were individually, jointly  and  severally  made  responsible  and
      liable for all the activities of  the  firm.  Partnership  deed  dated
      04.05.1990  itself  stated  that  the  partners,  A-2  and   A-3   are
      responsible and empowered to operate  bank  accounts,  have  full  and
      equal rights in the management of the firm in its business activities,
      deploy funds for the business of the  firm,  appoint  staff,  watchman
      etc. and to represent the firm before income tax, sales tax and  other
      authorities.


      3.    M/s Sasi Enterprises, the firm, did not file any returns for the
      assessment year 1991-92 and  1992-93,  for  which  the  firm  and  its
      partners are being prosecuted under Section 276 CC  of  the  Act.   J.
      Jayalalitha and N. Sasikala did not file returns  for  the  assessment
      year 1993-94 and hence they are being prosecuted for that  breach  (in
      their individual capacity) separately but not for the assessment years
      1991-92 or 1992-93 and their returns have  been  filed  as  individual
      assessee by them for the assessment years 1991-92 and 1992-93,  though
      belatedly on 20.11.1994 and 23.02.1994 respectively.  In those returns
      it was mentioned that accounts of the firm had not been finalized  and
      no returns of the firm had been filed.


      4.    The Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax in his complaint stated
      that the firm through its partners ought to  have  filed  its  returns
      under Section 139(1) of the Act for the assessment year 1991-92 on  or
      before 31st August, 1991 and for the assessment  year  1992-93  on  or
      before 31st August, 1992 and  A-2  in  her  individual  capacity  also
      should have filed her return for the year 1993-94 under Section 139(1)
      on or before 31.08.1993 and A-3 also ought to have  filed  her  return
      for the assessment year 1993-94 on or before 31st August, 1993, as per
      Section 139(1) of the Act.  The accused persons, it was  pointed  out,
      did not bother to  file  the  returns  even  before  the  end  of  the
      respective assessment years, nor had they  filed  any  return  at  the
      outer statutory limit prescribed under Section 139(4) of the Act  i.e.
      at the end of March of the assessment year.  It was also  pointed  out
      that a survey was conducted in respect of the firm under Section  133A
      on 25.08.1992 and following that a notice under Section 148 was served
      on the partnership firm on 15.2.1994 to file the return of income  tax
      for the years in question.   Though notice was served on 16.2.1994, no
      return was filed within the  time  granted  in  the  notice.   Neither
      return was filed, nor particulars of the income were  furnished.   For
      the assessment year 1991-92, it was stated that pre-assessment  notice
      was served on  18.12.1995,  notice  under  Section  142(1)(ii)  giving
      opportunities was also issued on 20.07.1995. The department  made  the
      best judgment assessment for the assessment year 1991-92 under Section
      144 on a total income of  Rs.5,84,860/-  on  08.02.1996  and  tax  was
      determined as Rs.3,02,434/- and demand notice  for  Rs.9,95,388/-  was
      issued as tax and interest payable on 08.02.1996.


      5.    For the assessment year 1992-93, the  best  judgment  assessment
      under Section 144 was made on 9.2.1996 on the firm on a  total  income
      of Rs.14,87,930/- and tax determined at Rs.8,08,153/-, a demand notice
      was issued towards the tax and interest payable.


      6.    We may indicate, so far as A-2 is concerned, the  due  date  for
      filing of return of income as per Section 139(1) of the  Act  for  the
      assessment year 1993-94 was 31.8.1993.  Notice under Section 142(1)(i)
      was issued to A-2 calling for return of income on 18.1.1994.  The said
      notice was served on her  on  19.1.1994.   Reminders  were  issued  on
      10.2.1994, 22.8.1994 and 23.8.1995.   No return was filed as  required
      under Section 139(4) before 31.3.1995.   The Department  on  31.7.1995
      issued notice under Section  142(1)(ii)  calling  for  particulars  of
      income and other details for completion of  assessment.   Neither  the
      return of  income  was  filed  nor  the  particulars  of  income  were
      furnished. Best judgment assessment under  Section  144  was  made  on
      9.2.1996 on a total income of Rs.1,04,49,153/- and tax  determined  at
      Rs.46,68,676/- and demand of Rs.96,98,801/-, inclusive of interest  at
      Rs.55,53,882/- was raised after adjusting pre-paid tax of Rs.5,23,756/-
      .  The Department then issued show-cause notice for prosecution  under
      Section 276CC on  14.6.1996.   Later,  sanction  for  prosecution  was
      accorded by the Commissioner of Income Tax on 3.10.1996.


      7.    A-3 also failed to file the return  of  income  as  per  Section
      139(1) for the assessment  year  1993-94  before  the  due  date  i.e.
      31.8.1993.  Notice under Section 142(1)(i) was issued to  A-3  calling
      for filing of return of income on  8.11.1995.    Further,  notice  was
      also  issued  under  Section  142(1)(ii)  on  21.7.1995  calling   for
      particulars of income and other details for completion of  assessment.
       Neither the return of income was filed nor the particulars of  income
      were furnished.   Best judgment assessment under Section 144 was  made
      on 8.2.1996 on a total income of Rs.70,28,110/- and tax determined  at
      Rs.26,86,445/-.   The total tax payable, inclusive of interest due was
      Rs.71,19,527/-.  After giving effect to the appellate order, the total
      income was revised by  Rs.19,25,000/-,  resulting  in  tax  demand  of
      Rs.20,23,279/-, inclusive of interest  levied.   Later,  a  show-cause
      notice for prosecution under  Section  276CC  was  issued  to  A-3  on
      7.8.1996.   A-3  filed  replies  on  24.11.1996  and  24.3.1997.   The
      Commissioner of  Income  Tax  accorded  sanction  for  prosecution  on
      4.8.1997.


      8.    We may incidentally also point out, the final  tax liability  so
      far as the firm is concerned,  was  determined  as  Rs.32,63,482/-  on
      giving effect to the order of the Income  Tax  Appellate  Tribunal  (B
      Bench), Chennai dated 1.9.2006 and after giving credit of pre-paid tax
      for the assessment year 1991-92.   For the assessment year 1992-93 for
      the firm, final tax liability  was  determined  at  Rs.52,47,594/-  on
      giving effect to the order of the Income  Tax  Appellate  Tribunal  (B
      Bench), Chennai dated 1.9.2006 and after  giving  credit  of  pre-paid
      tax.  So far as A-2 is concerned,  for  the  assessment  year  1993-94
      final tax liability was determined at Rs.12,54,395/- giving effect  to
      the order of Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (B  Bench),  Chennai  dated
      11.10.2008 after giving credit to pre-paid tax.   So  far  as  A-3  is
      concerned, for the assessment year 1993-94, final  tax  liability  was
      determined as Rs.9,81,870/- after giving effect to the order of Income
      Tax Appellate Tribunal (B Bench), Chennai dated  14.9.2004  and  after
      giving credit to pre-paid tax.


      9.    We have already indicated, for not filing of returns and due  to
      non-compliance of the various statutory  provisions,  prosecution  was
      initiated under Section 276CC of  the  Act  against  all  the  accused
      persons and the complaints were filed on 21.08.1997 before  the  Chief
      Metropolitan Magistrate, which the High Court by  the  impugned  order
      has permitted to go on.


      10.   Shri Shekhar Naphade, learned senior counsel appearing  for  the
      appellants, submitted that the High Court did not appreciate the scope
      of Section 276CC of the Act.  Learned senior counsel pointed out  that
      once it is established that on the  date  of  the  complaint  i.e.  on
      21.08.1997 the assessment had not  attained  finality,  the  complaint
      became pre-mature as on the date of the complaint and no  offence  had
      taken place and all the ingredients of offence under  Section  276  of
      the Act were not satisfied.  Learned senior counsel pointed  out  that
      unless and until it is shown that  failure  to  file  the  return  was
      willful or deliberate, no prosecution under  Section  276CC  could  be
      initiated.  Learned senior counsel  pointed  out  that  in  fact,  the
      second accused in her individual return had disclosed  that  the  firm
      was doing the business and that it  had  some  income  and  hence,  it
      cannot be said that A-2 had concealed the fact that the firm  had  any
      intention  to  evade  tax  liability.   Learned  senior  counsel  also
      submitted that whether the assessee had committed any offence  or  not
      will depend upon the final assessment  of  income  and  tax  liability
      determined by the appropriate authority and not on the assessment made
      by the assessing officer.  Placing reliance on the proviso to  Section
      276CC  learned  senior  counsel  submitted  that,  that  is  the  only
      interpretation that could be given to Section 276CC.   In  support  of
      his contention reliance was placed on the Judgment of  this  Court  in
      Commissioner of Wealth Tax, Gujarat v. Vimlaben Vadilal  Mehta  (Smt.)
      (1983) 4 SCC 692, Commissioner of Wealth Tax,  Gujarat,  Ahmedabad  v.
      Vadilal Lallubhai & Ors. (1983) 4 SCC 697 and State of H.P. and others
      v. Gujarat Ambuja Cement Ltd. and another (2005) 6 SCC 499.  Referring
      to Section 278E of the Act, learned senior counsel submitted that till
      the assessment does not attain finality, Section 276CC is not complete
      and the presumption under Section  278E  is  not  attracted.   Learned
      senior counsel also submitted that the High Court has wrongly  applied
      the principles laid down by this Court  in  Prakash  Nath  Khanna  and
      another v. Commissioner of Income Tax and another (2004) 9 SCC 686, in
      any view, which calls for  reconsideration.   Learned  senior  counsel
      submitted that the said Judgment deals with the factum of  proviso  to
      Section 276CC of the Act which lays down that there is no  offence  if
      the tax amount does not exceed Rs.3,000/-.


      11.   Shri Sidharth Luthra, learned Additional  Solicitor  General  of
      India, appearing for the Revenue, on the other  hand,  submitted  that
      Section 139 of the Act placed a statutory mandate on every  person  to
      file an income tax return in the prescribed form and in the prescribed
      manner before the due date i.e. 31st August of the relevant assessment
      year.  Learned ASG submitted that on breach of Section 139(1)  of  the
      Act, cause of action to prosecute the assessee arises subject to other
      ingredients of Section 276CC of the Act. Learned ASG pointed out  that
      what is relevant  in  the  proceedings,  is  not  only  the  due  date
      prescribed in Section 139(1) of the  Act,  but  also  time  prescribed
      under Section 142 and 148 of the Act, by which  further  opportunities
      have been given to file the return in the prescribed time.   In  other
      words, Section 276CC, according to  the  learned  ASG,  applies  to  a
      situation where assessee has failed to file the return  of  income  as
      required under Section 139 of the Act or in response to notices issued
      to the assessee under Section 142 or Section 148 of the Act.   Learned
      ASG also submitted that the scope  of  proviso  to  Section  276CC  to
      protect the genuine assessees who either file their  return  belatedly
      but  within  the  end  of  the  assessment  year  or  those  who  paid
      substantial amount of their tax dues by pre-paid taxes.   Considerable
      reliance was placed on the Judgment of  this  Court  in  Prakash  Nath
      Khanna and another (supra).  Reliance was also placed on the  Judgment
      of this Court in Maya Rani Punj (Smt.) v. Commissioner of Income  Tax,
      Delhi (1986) 1 SCC 445.


      12.   Learned ASG also explained the scope of Section 278E by  placing
      reliance on P.R. Metrani v.  Commissioner  of  Income  Tax,  Bangalore
      (2007) 1 SCC 789, Kumar Exports v. Sharma Carpets (2009)  2  SCC  513,
      and submitted that pendency of the  appellate  proceedings  is  not  a
      relevant factor  in  relation  to  prosecution  under  Section  276CC.
      Reference was also made to Ravinder Singh v. State of Haryana (1975) 3
      SCC 742 and Standard Chartered  Bank  and  others  v.  Directorate  of
      Enforcement and others (2006) 4 SCC 278.  Learned ASG  submitted  that
      the  Judgment  in  Prakash  Nath   Khanna   (supra)   calls   for   no
      reconsideration, as the same has been uniformly applied by this  Court
      as well as by the various High Courts.  Learned ASG also  pointed  out
      that the appellants have been indulging  in  litigative  exercises  by
      which they could hold up the proceedings for almost  two  decades  and
      that  the  trial  court  has  rightly  rejected  the  application  for
      discharge, which was affirmed by the High Court and the same calls  no
      interference by this Court.


      13.   We may formulate the questions that arise for our consideration,
      which are as under:
           (1)   Whether an assessee  has  the  liability/duty  to  file  a
           return under Section 139(1) of  the  Act  within  the  due  date
           prescribed therein?
           (2)   What is the  effect  of  best  judgment  assessment  under
           Section 144 of the Act and will it nullify the liability of  the
           assessee to file its return under Section 139(1) of the Act?
           (3)   Whether non-filing of return under Section 139(1)  of  the
           Act, as well as non-compliance  of  the  time  prescribed  under
           Sections 142 and 148 of the Act are grounds  for  invocation  of
           the provisions of Section 276CC of the Act?
           (4)   Whether the pendency of the appellate proceedings relating
           to  assessment  or  non-attaining  finality  of  the  assessment
           proceedings is a bar in initiating prosecution proceedings under
           Section 276CC due to non-filing of returns?
           (5)   What is the scope of Section 278E of the Act, and at  what
           stage the presumption can be drawn by the Court?


      14.   We may, at the outset, point out that the appellants had earlier
      approached this Court and filed SLP(C)  Nos.3655-3658  of  2005  which
      were disposed of by this Court directing the trial court to dispose of
      the petition for discharge within a period of two months by its  order
      dated 03.03.2006.  Learned Chief Metropolitan Magistrate rejected  the
      petitions vide its order dated  14.06.2006.   Though  the  High  Court
      affirmed the said order vide  its  judgment  dated  02.12.2006,  these
      appeals were kept pending before this Court over  six  years  for  one
      reason or another.


      15.   We are, in these appeals, concerned with the  question  of  non-
      filing of returns by the appellants for the assessment  year  1991-92,
      1992-93 and 1993-94.  Each and every order passed by  the  revenue  as
      well as by the Courts were taken up before the higher  courts,  either
      through appeals, revisions or  writ  petitions.  The  details  of  the
      various proceedings in respect of these appeals are given in paragraph
      30 of the written submissions filed by the revenue, which reveals  the
      dilatory tactics adopted in these  cases.    Courts,  we  caution,  be
      guarded against those persons who prefer to see it  as  a  medium  for
      stalling all legal processes.  We do not propose to delve  into  those
      issues further since at this stage we are concerned with answering the
      questions which have been framed by us.


      16.   Section 139 of the Act prior to  1989-90  and  after,  placed  a
      statutory mandate on every person to file an income tax return in  the
      prescribed form and in the prescribed manner.   The  Direct  Tax  Laws
      (Amendment)  Act,  1987  with  effect  from  01.04.1989  made  various
      amendments to the Income Tax Act, by which the assessing  officer  has
      no power to extend the time  for  filing  a  return  of  income  under
      Section 139(1) and to extend the time for filing under Section 139(3),
      a return of loss intended to be carried forward.  The time  prescribed
      for filing a belated return under Section 139(4) or a  revised  return
      under Section 139(5) was reduced to one  year  from  the  end  of  the
      relevant assessment  year.  The  provision  of  Section  139(2)  stood
      incorporated in Section 142(1)(i).  The notice under Section 142(1)(i)
      to furnish a return of income cannot be issued in the  course  of  the
      assessment year itself and  need  not  give  the  person  concerned  a
      minimum period of 30 days for furnishing the return.  When a return is
      furnished pursuant to a notice under Section 142(1)(i), the assessment
      may be made  under  Section  143  without  recourse  to  Section  147.
      Further, with the deletion of Section 271(1)(a), a penalty for failure
      to furnish in due time a return of income  under  Section  139(1),  is
      abolished.   Levy  of  punitive  interest  under  Section  234A   made
      mandatory and the discretion of the assessing  officer  to  reduce  or
      waive the interest was taken away.  Non-compliance with a notice under
      Section 142(1)(i) may attract prosecution under Section 276CC.


      17.   The Income Tax Act, therefore, had stipulated both  the  penalty
      under Section 271(1)(a)  and  prosecution  under  Section  276CC,  the
      former for depriving taxes due to the  exchequer  and  later  for  the
      offence/infraction committed.  As already indicated  by  the  Taxation
      Laws (Amendment) Act, 1989, penalty provision under Section  271(1)(a)
      had been deleted  w.e.f.  01.04.1989  and  a  provision  for  levy  of
      mandatory/compulsory interest  under  Section  234A  of  the  Act  was
      introduced.   But,  legislature  has  never  waived  or  relaxed   its
      prosecuting  provisions  under  Section  276CC  of  the  Act  for  the
      infraction or non-furnishing of return of income.


      18.   Section 139 of the Act, as it stood at the relevant time,  reads
      as under:
           “139. (1) Every person, if his total income or the total  income
           of any other person in respect of which he is  assessable  under
           this Act during the previous year exceeded  the  maximum  amount
           which is not chargeable to income-tax, shall, on or  before  the
           due date, furnish a return of his income or the income  of  such
           other person during the previous year, in  the  prescribed  form
           and verified in the prescribed manner  and  setting  forth  such
           other particulars as may be prescribed.

           Explanation:  In this sub-section, “due date” means-

           (a)   where the assessee is a company, the 30th day of  November
           of the assessment year;

           (b)   where the assessee is a person, other than a company.-

           (i)    in a case where the accounts of the assessee are required
           under this Act or nay other law to  be  audited,  or  where  the
           report of any accountant  is  required  to  be  furnished  under
           section 80HHC or Section 80HHD or in the case of a  co-operative
           society, the 31st day of October of the assessment year:

           (ii)   in a case where the total income referred to in this sub-
           section includes any income from  business  or  profession,  not
           being a case falling under  sub-clause  (i),  the  31st  day  of
           August of the assessment year :

           (iii)   in  any  other  case,  the  30th  day  of  June  of  the
           assessment year.

                       xxx         xxx        xxx

                       xxx         xxx        xxx

           (3)  If any person who has sustained a loss in any previous year
           under the head “Profits and gains of business or profession”  or
           under the head “Capital gains” and claims that the loss  or  any
           part thereof should be carried forward under sub-section (1)  of
           section 72, or sub-section (2) of section 73, or sub-section (1)
           or sub-section (3) of section 74, or sub-section (3) of  section
           74A, he may furnish, within the time allowed  under  sub-section
           (1), a return of loss in the prescribed form and verified in the
           prescribed manner and containing such other particulars  as  may
           be prescribed, and all the provisions of this Act shall apply as
           if it were a return under sub-section (1).

           (4)   Any person who has not furnished a return within the  time
           allowed to him under sub-section (1), or within the time allowed
           under a notice issued under sub-section (1) of section 142,  may
           furnish the return for any previous year at any time before  the
           expiry of one year from the end of the relevant assessment  year
           or  before  the  completion  of  the  assessment,  whichever  is
           earlier:

                       xxx         xxx        xxx

                       xxx         xxx        xxx”



      19.   A plain reading of the above provisions  indicates  that  it  is
      mandatory on the part of the assessee to file the  return  before  the
      due date.  Explanation (a) to the said section defines the  term  “due
      date”, which is 30th November of the assessment year.  The consequence
      of non-filing of return on time has also been stipulated in  the  Act.
      Further a reference to Sections 142  and  148  is  also  necessary  to
      properly understand the scope of Section 276CC.  Relevant  portion  of
      Section 142, as it stood at the relevant time, is quoted below:
           “142. Inquiry before assessment.-  (1) For the purpose of making
           an assessment under this Act, the Assessing Officer may serve on
           any person who has made a return under section 139 or  in  whose
           case the time allowed under sub- section (1) of that section for
           furnishing the return has expired] a notice requiring him, on  a
           date to be therein specified,-


           (i)    where such person has not made a return within  the  time
           allowed under sub-section (1)  of  section  139,  to  furnish  a
           return of his income or  the  income  of  any  other  person  in
           respect of which  he  is  assessable  under  this  Act,  in  the
           prescribed form  and  verified  in  the  prescribed  manner  and
           setting forth such other particulars as may be prescribed, or


                       xxx        xxx        xxx

                       xxx        xxx        xxx”



      20.   Section 148 refers to the  issue  of  notice  where  income  has
      escaped assessment.  Relevant portion of the same  is  also  extracted
      hereinbelow for ready reference:
           “148.  (1)  Before  making  the  assessment,   reassessment   or
           recomputation under section 147,  the  Assessing  Officer  shall
           serve on the assessee a notice requiring him to  furnish  within
           such period,  not  being  less  than  thirty  days,  as  may  be
           specified in the notice, a return of his income or the income of
           any other person in respect of which he is assessable under this
           Act during the  previous  year  corresponding  to  the  relevant
           assessment year, in the prescribed  form  and  verified  in  the
           prescribed manner and setting forth such  other  particulars  as
           may be prescribed; and the provisions of this Act shall, so  far
           as may be, apply accordingly as if such  return  were  a  return
           required to be furnished under section 139.


           (2) The Assessing Officer shall, before issuing any notice under
           this section, record his reasons for doing so.”


      21.   Sub-section (1) of Section 139, clause (i)  sub-section  (1)  of
      Section 142 and Section 148 are mentioned in Section 276CC of the Act.
       Section 276CC is extracted as under:
           “276CC. Failure to furnish returns  of  income.    If  a  person
           wilfully fails to furnish in due time the return of income which
           he is required to furnish under sub-section (1) of  section  139
           or by notice given  under  clause  (i)  of  sub-section  (1)  of
           section 142 or section 148, he shall be punishable,-


           (i)    in a case where the amount of tax, which would have  been
           evaded if the failure  had  not  been  discovered,  exceeds  one
           hundred thousand rupees, with rigorous imprisonment for  a  term
           which shall not be less than six months but which may extend  to
           seven years and with fine;


           (ii)   in any other case, with imprisonment  for  a  term  which
           shall not be less than three months  but  which  may  extend  to
           three years and with fine:
           Provided that a person shall not be proceeded against under this
           section for failure to furnish in due time the return of  income
           under sub-section (1) of section 139-


           (i)   for any assessment year commencing prior to the 1st day of
           April, 1975 ; or
           (ii)  for any assessment year commencing on or after the 1st day
           of April, 1975 , if-


           (a)  the return is furnished by him before  the  expiry  of  the
           assessment year; or


           (b)   the tax payable by him on the total income  determined  on
           regular assessment, as reduced by the advance tax, if any, paid,
           and any tax deducted at source, does not exceed  three  thousand
           rupees.”




      22.   The constitutional validity of Section 276CC, was upheld by  the
      Karnataka High Court in Sonarome Chemicals Pvt.  Ltd.  and  others  v.
      Union of India and others  (2000) 242 ITR 39  (Kar)  holding  that  it
      does not violate Article  14  of  21  of  the  Constitution.   Section
      punishes the person who “willfully fails  to  furnish  the  return  of
      income in time”.  The explanation  willful  default,  as  observed  by
      Wilber Force J. in Wellington v. Reynold (1962) 40  TC  209  is  “some
      deliberate or intentional failure to do what the tax  payer  ought  to
      have done, knowing that to omit to do so was wrong”.  The assessee  is
      bound to file the return under Section 139(1) of the Act on or  before
      the due date.  The outer limit is fixed for filing of return  as  31st
      August of the assessment year, over and above, in  the  present  case,
      not only return was not filed within the  due  date  prescribed  under
      Section 139(1) of the Act, but also the time prescribed under  Section
      142 and 148 of the Act and the  further opportunity given to file  the
      return in the prescribed time was also not availed of.


      23.   Section 276CC applies to situations where an assessee has failed
      to file a return of income as required under Section 139 of the Act or
      in response to notices issued to the assessee  under  Section  142  or
      Section 148 of the Act.  The  proviso  to  Section  276CC  gives  some
      relief to genuine  assesses.   The  proviso  to  Section  276CC  gives
      further time till the end of the assessment year to furnish return  to
      avoid prosecution.  In other words, even though the due date would  be
      31st August of the assessment year as per Section 139(1) of  the  Act,
      an assessee gets further seven months’ time to complete and  file  the
      return and such a return though belated, may not  attract  prosecution
      of the assessee.  Similarly, the proviso in clause  ii(b)  to  Section
      276CC also provides that if the  tax  payable  determined  by  regular
      assessment has reduced by advance tax paid and tax deducted at  source
      does not exceed Rs.3,000/-, such an assessee shall not  be  prosecuted
      for not furnishing  the  return  under  Section  139(1)  of  the  Act.
      Resultantly, the proviso under Section 276CC  takes  care  of  genuine
      assesses who either file the returns belatedly but within the  end  of
      the assessment year or those who  have  paid  substantial  amounts  of
      their tax dues by pre-paid taxes, from the rigor  of  the  prosecution
      under Section 276CC of the Act.


      24.   Section 276CC, it may be noted,  takes  in  sub-section  (1)  of
      Section 139, Section 142(1)(i) and Section 148.  But, the  proviso  to
      Section 276CC takes in only sub-section (1) of Section 139 of the  Act
      and the provisions of  Section  142(1)(i)  or  148  are  conspicuously
      absent.  Consequently, the benefit of proviso  is  available  only  to
      voluntary filing of return as required under  Section  139(1)  of  the
      Act.  In other words, the proviso would not apply after  detection  of
      the failure to file the  return  and  after  a  notice  under  Section
      142(1)(i) or 148 of the Act is issued calling for filing of the return
      of income.  Proviso, therefore, envisages the filing of  even  belated
      return before the detection or discovery of the failure  and  issuance
      of notices under Section 142 or 148 of the Act.


      25.   We may in this respect also refer to sub-section (4) to  Section
      139 wherein the legislature  has  used  an  expression  “whichever  is
      earlier”.  Both Section 139(1) and Sub-Section (1) of Section 142  are
      referred to in sub-section (4) to  Section  139,  which  specify  time
      limit.  Therefore, the expression “whichever is  earlier”  has  to  be
      read with the time if allowed under sub-section (1) to Section 139  or
      within the time allowed under notice issued under sub-section  (1)  of
      Section 142, whichever is earlier.  So far  as  the  present  case  is
      concerned, it is already noticed that the assessee had not  filed  the
      return either within the time allowed under sub-section (1) to Section
      139 or within the time allowed under notices issued under  sub-section
      (1) to Section 142.


      26.   We have indicated that on failure to file  the  returns  by  the
      appellants, income tax department  made  a  best  judgment  assessment
      under Section 144 of the Act and later show cause notices were  issued
      for initiating prosecution under Section 276CC of the Act.  Proviso to
      Section 276CC nowhere states that the offence under Section 276CC  has
      not been committed by the categories of assesses who fall  within  the
      scope of that proviso, but it is stated that such a person  shall  not
      be proceeded against.   In other words, it only  provides  that  under
      specific circumstances subject to the proviso, prosecution may not  be
      initiated.  An assessee who comes within clause 2(b) to  the  proviso,
      no doubt has also committed the offence under Section  276CC,  but  is
      exempted from prosecution since the tax falls below Rs.3,000/-.   Such
      an assessee may file belated return before the detection and avail the
      benefit of the proviso.  Proviso cannot control the main  section,  it
      only confers some benefit  to  certain  categories  of  assesses.   In
      short, the offence under Section 276CC  is  attracted  on  failure  to
      comply with the provisions of Section 139(1) or failure to respond  to
      the notice issued under Section 142 or Section 148 of the  Act  within
      the time limit specified therein.


      27.   We may indicate that the above reasoning has the support of  the
      Judgment of this Court in Prakash Nath Khanna (supra).  When we  apply
      the above principles to the facts of the case in hand, the  contention
      of the learned senior counsel for the appellant  that  there  has  not
      been any willful failure to file their return cannot be  accepted  and
      on facts, offence under Section 276CC of the Act has been made out  in
      all these appeals  and  the  rejection  of  the  application  for  the
      discharge calls for no interference by this Court.


      28.   We also find no basis in the contention of  the  learned  senior
      counsel for the appellant that pendency of the  appellate  proceedings
      is 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  language  of
      Section  276CC,  in  our  view,  is  clear  so  also  the  legislative
      intention.  It is trite law that as already held by this Court  in  B.
      Permanand v. Mohan Koikal (2011) 4 SCC 266 that “the language employed
      in a statute is the determinative factor of  the  legislative  intent.
      It is well settled principle of law that a court cannot read  anything
      into a statutory provision which is plain and unambiguous”.  If it was
      the  intention  of  the  legislature  to  hold  up   the   prosecution
      proceedings till the assessment proceedings are completed  by  way  of
      appeal or otherwise the same would have been provided in Section 276CC
      itself.  Therefore, the contention of the learned senior  counsel  for
      the  appellant  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.


      29.   We are also of the view that 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.


      30.   Section 278E deals with the presumption as to  culpable   mental
      state,  which  was  inserted  by  the  Taxation  Laws  (Amendment  and
      Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1986.  The  question  is  on  whom  the
      burden lies, either on the prosecution or the assessee, under  Section
      278E to prove whether the assessee has or has  not  committed  willful
      default in filing the returns. Court in a prosecution of offence, like
      Section 276CC has to presume the existence of mens rea and it  is  for
      the accused to prove the  contrary  and  that  too  beyond  reasonable
      doubt.  Resultantly, the appellants have to  prove  the  circumstances
      which prevented them from filing the returns as per Section 139(1)  or
      in response to notices under Sections 142 and 148 of the Act.


      31.   We, therefore, find no reason to interfere with the order passed
      by the High Court.  The appeals, therefore, lack merits and  the  same
      are dismissed and the Criminal Court is directed to complete the trial
      within four months from the date of receipt of this Judgment.


                                                              …….………………………J.
                                                (K.S. Radhakrishnan)




                                                              …………………………….J.
                                                (A.K. Sikri)


      New Delhi,
      January 30, 2014.


Sec.302 and sec. 201 of I.P.C. - Circumstantial Evidence - Accused like step father - killed his partner child by administrating poison food - took the boy from school - children supported this fact - last seen theory - took room in a hotel in different name - Hotel persons identified the accused in Identification parade - Handwriting expert proved the writing is that of accused - postmortem of dead body found in hotel reveals that the death was due to poison - chain completed - Apex court dismissed the criminal appeal = N.S.Nagendra …Petitioner Vs. State of Karnataka …Respondent = 2014 (January part) judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41190

    Sec.302 and sec. 201 of I.P.C. Circumstantial Evidence - Accused like step father - killed his partner child by administrating poison food - took the boy from school - children supported this fact - last seen theory - took room in a hotel in different name - Hotel persons identified the accused in Identification parade - Handwriting expert proved the writing is that of accused - postmortem of dead body found in hotel reveals that the death was due to poison - chain completed - Apex court dismissed the criminal appeal =

  whether it is the petitioner who had  taken
the room in the hotel, the hotel register containing the hand-writing and  a
note book containing  the  admitted  hand-writing  of  the  petitioner  were
seized and sent to the hand-writing expert.  As per the report of the  hand-
writing expert, hand-writing in the hotel register  and  that  in  the  note
book are of the same person which clearly connects  it  to  the  petitioner.
Further, mother of the deceased (PW6) admitted  her  relationship  with  the
petitioner.

7.    From the aforesaid testimony, it becomes abundantly clear  that  there
is a complete chain of events, proving the guilt of the  petitioner  and  he
could be the only person who had committed the crime.

8.    As mentioned above, as per the post-mortem report child  has  died  of
poison and the death is homicidal.  The deceased had attended the school  on
16.9.2003.  Therefrom, he was taken away  by  the  petitioner,  as  per  the
unshaken testimony of two school children viz. PW3 and PW4.  The  fact  that
he was taken to the hotel at Rangapatnam the  same  evening,  stands  proved
from the testimony of PW1, supported by the hand writing of the deceased  on
the hotel register, proved through hand writing expert.  The  deceased  was,
thus, last seen in the company of the petitioner.   PW1  also  categorically
stated that the petitioner was seen leaving  the  hotel  at  10.30  p.m  and
whereafter he had not returned.  On next day at 7.30 a.m.  in  the  morning,
the boy was found dead in the room.  All this clearly  proves  beyond  doubt
that it is the petitioner only who committed the murder of the child.   Even
motive stands established which is accepted by the PW6 herself,  namely  her
relationship with the petitioner.  The petitioner wanted  to  ease  out  the
boy who was becoming an eyesore in their relationship.  Pertinently, in  his
statement under Section 313  Cr.P.C.  the  petitioner  has  not  denied  the
seizure of note book and his signature.
9.    Learned counsel for the petitioner  made  desperate  attempt,  but  in
vain, to find certain loopholes in the testimonies of the  witnesses.  After
going through the statements of witnesses and cross-examination, we  are  in
agreement with the judgments of the  courts  below.   There  is  hardly  any
substantial question of law.   This Special Leave  Petition  is,  therefore,
dismissed in limine.   
2014  (January part) judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41190

K.S. RADHAKRISHNAN, A.K. SIKRI
                                            [Non-Reportable]

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                       CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

               SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (Crl.) No. 5369 of 2013

N.S.Nagendra                                              …Petitioner

                 Vs.

State of Karnataka                                        …Respondent

                        J U D G M E N T

A.K.SIKRI,J.

1.    The petitioner is convicted for the offences punishable under  Section
302 and 201 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) by the trial court.  For  offence
under Section 302 IPC, he is sentenced  to  undergo  life  imprisonment  and
also imposed a fine of Rs.2,000/-.  For  committing  offence  under  Section
201 IPC, the petitioner is sentenced  to undergo rigorous  imprisonment  for
7 years and also to pay a fine of Rs.500/-.  Both the sentences are  ordered
to  be  run  concurrently.   The  petitioner  appealed  to  the  High  Court
challenging the conviction.  However, the  High  Court  has  dismissed  said
appeal maintaining the  conviction  and  sentence  of  the  petitioner  vide
impugned judgment dated 12th January 2010.  Not  satisfied  and  undeterred,
present Special Leave Petition is filed  questioning  the  validity  of  the
conviction, as indicted above.

2.    The charge against  the  petitioner  was  of  murdering  a  boy  named
Madhusudhan (hereinafter referred to as ‘deceased’) aged about 12 years  who
was studying in a Boarding School at Bellur, Karnataka.  His mother was  one
Smt.Sujatha (PW6) who is the wife  of  PW9.   It  appears  that  because  of
strained relations developed between Sujatha and her  husband,  her  husband
had deserted her about 7 years prior to the incident.   The  petitioner  had
developed  intimacy  with  Sujatha  and  were  in  a  live-in  relationship.


3.    As per the prosecution story, the accused found the deceased to be  an
impediment in his relationship with Sujatha.  On the  fateful  day  i.e.  on
16.9.2003 he went to the school of the deceased and took the  deceased  with
him from Bellur to a hotel at Srirangapatnam.  He hired a room in the  lodge
giving his name K.Raju, resident of Rajajinagar, Bangalore  and  signed  the
hotel register in the said name.  The deceased and accused  stayed  in  room
No.12 in that  lodge.   The  allegation  of  the  prosecution  is  that  the
petitioner administered poisonous food to the  child,  who  after  consuming
the said food, died.  The petitioner left the hotel at around at 10.30  p.m.
 On the next morning at about 7.30 a.m., the  Manager  of  the  hotel  (PW1)
found through window of the room that the child was lying on the floor.   He
lodged the complaint whereupon police came.  After the door of the room  was
broken open, it was found that child was lying dead.

4.    The cause of death, as per the  post-mortem  report,  was  respiratory
failure on account of consumption of zinc phosphate/poison.  The  death  was
described as homicidal.  The petitioner  was  arrested  on  5.11.2003  after
investigation.  Challan  was  filed;  the  petitioner  was  charged  of  the
offence under Section 302 and 201, IPC; prosecution evidence led;  statement
of the petitioner under Section 313,Cr.P.C.  recorded;  the  petitioner  did
not produce any defence witness; and after hearing  the  matter  verdict  of
guilt against the petitioner was returned by the learned Sessions Judge  and
he was convicted in the manner described above. This has been upheld by  the
High Court.

5.    We may record that after the accused was arrested on 5.11.2003 he  was
identified by PW1 in the identification parade which was conducted  by  I.O.
(PW13). The prosecution had  produced  two  school  children  as  witnesses,
namely PW3 and PW4 who deposed to the effect  that  after  the  school,  the
deceased was taken away by  the  petitioner  on  16.9.2003.   PW1,  who  had
identified the petitioner, stated in his  deposition,  that  the  petitioner
had come to the hotel on 16.9.2003  around  at  5.30  p.m.  along  with  the
deceased and took room No.12.  He also signed  the  hotel  register  stating
his name to be K.Raju.

6.    In order to find out as to whether it is the petitioner who had  taken
the room in the hotel, the hotel register containing the hand-writing and  a
note book containing  the  admitted  hand-writing  of  the  petitioner  were
seized and sent to the hand-writing expert.  As per the report of the  hand-
writing expert, hand-writing in the hotel register  and  that  in  the  note
book are of the same person which clearly connects  it  to  the  petitioner.
Further, mother of the deceased (PW6) admitted  her  relationship  with  the
petitioner.

7.    From the aforesaid testimony, it becomes abundantly clear  that  there
is a complete chain of events, proving the guilt of the  petitioner  and  he
could be the only person who had committed the crime.

8.    As mentioned above, as per the post-mortem report child  has  died  of
poison and the death is homicidal.  The deceased had attended the school  on
16.9.2003.  Therefrom, he was taken away  by  the  petitioner,  as  per  the
unshaken testimony of two school children viz. PW3 and PW4.  The  fact  that
he was taken to the hotel at Rangapatnam the  same  evening,  stands  proved
from the testimony of PW1, supported by the hand writing of the deceased  on
the hotel register, proved through hand writing expert.  The  deceased  was,
thus, last seen in the company of the petitioner.   PW1  also  categorically
stated that the petitioner was seen leaving  the  hotel  at  10.30  p.m  and
whereafter he had not returned.  On next day at 7.30 a.m.  in  the  morning,
the boy was found dead in the room.  All this clearly  proves  beyond  doubt
that it is the petitioner only who committed the murder of the child.   Even
motive stands established which is accepted by the PW6 herself,  namely  her
relationship with the petitioner.  The petitioner wanted  to  ease  out  the
boy who was becoming an eyesore in their relationship.  Pertinently, in  his
statement under Section 313  Cr.P.C.  the  petitioner  has  not  denied  the
seizure of note book and his signature.
9.    Learned counsel for the petitioner  made  desperate  attempt,  but  in
vain, to find certain loopholes in the testimonies of the  witnesses.  After
going through the statements of witnesses and cross-examination, we  are  in
agreement with the judgments of the  courts  below.   There  is  hardly  any
substantial question of law.   This Special Leave  Petition  is,  therefore,
dismissed in limine.
                                                            ………………………………….J.
                    (K.S.Radhakrishnan)

                                                           …………………………………..J.
                                           (A.K.Sikri)
New Delhi,
January                               29,                               2014