Relief to Vodafone Idea; Bombay HC orders Rs 1,128-cr tax refund to telco

Categories: Income Tax, News

In a relief for Vodafone Idea Ltd, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday ordered Income Tax Department to issue refund of Rs 1,128.47-crore taxes paid in the assessment year 2016-17 along with interest to the telco.

“The Hon’ble Bombay High Court has instructed income tax department to issue the refund of Rs. 1,128.47 crores within 30 days along with applicable interest,” said the telco in a stock exchange filing.

“Writ Petition filed by the Company before Hon’ble High Court of Bombay requesting to process the refund of income-tax as per return of income since Income Tax Department didn’t pass the final assessment order within the time limit prescribed under Section 144C(13) of the Income Tax Act,
1961 has been upheld by the Court vide its order dated November 8, 2023″ said telco.

Spurred by the positive development, Vodafone Idea’s shares over 3.5%.

The bench of Justices KR Shriram and Neela Gokhale said, “We are constrained to observe the complete apathy and negligent approach of the assessing officer concerned in discharging his duties, in accordance with the provisions of Income Tax Act.”

The bench recommended, “A detailed enquiry be initiated on the failure on the part of the Faceless Assessing Officer (FAO) concerned to act in accordance with the provisions of the Act and the lack of diligence on the part of officials concerned and the system itself insofar as it relates to the present assessment.”

The bench added, “Strict action should be taken against persons responsible for the laxity and lethargy displayed which has caused a huge loss to the exchequer and in turn to the citizens of this country. A copy of this order be circulated to the Central Board of Direct Taxes and the Principal Secretary, Ministry of Finance, GOI.”

Vodafone’s grievance was that the FAO failed to pass the final order in terms of the directions of a Dispute Resolution Panel (DRP) within 30 days, the period of limitation prescribed in the Act.

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