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SC fixes March 17 for final hearing on pleas of Sonia, Rahul in IT case

SC fixes March 17 for final hearing on pleas of Sonia, Rahul in IT case

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday fixed March 17 for final hearing on the appeals filed by Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi against the Delhi High Court order allowing re-assessment of their income tax for 2011-12 in connection with the National Herald case.

The top court noted that the proceedings are pending before Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) and it would like to wait till March 17 for the outcome .

A bench of justices D Y Chandrachud and Hrishikesh Roy said that it is listing the matter for final disposal on March 17 as it has been apprised by the petitioners that proceedings are pending before the ITAT.

At the outset, senior advocate P Chidambaram, appearing for Sonia Gandhi and others, said that ITAT has delivered a verdict on the issue but has not dealt with at least six issues.

He said that they have moved the ITAT seeking adjudication of six other issues and the next hearing is scheduled to be held on February 28.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Income Tax department, said that the top court had last year, while asking the petitioners to approach ITAT, said that irrespective of proceedings before the tribunal, this court will go on. He said that November 15 order of ITAT had said that the petitioners were not doing any business.

The top court said that the final orders of ITAT may have a bearing on the case before apex court and therefore it would like to see the outcome of proceedings before the tribunal.

The bench, however, clarified that even if the tribunal does not give its finding on pending issues till March 17, then too it would proceed with hearing of the cases before it.

On November 15, last year, the ITAT had ruled that the withdrawal of income tax exemption to Young Indian, an entity controlled by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, her family and others, by the tax department is correct and it cannot be called a charitable organisation.

On April 23 last year, the top court had granted liberty to Gandhis and others to approach Delhi ITAT for expeditious hearing of pending appeal challenging the retrospective cancellation of registration granted to Young Indian under the I-T Act.

The Gandhis and senior Congress leader Oscar Fernandes have challenged in the apex court the Delhi High Court's September 10, 2018 verdict which dismissed their plea against the re-assessment of their tax for 2011-12.

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