w w w . L a w y e r S e r v i c e s . i n



Commissioner of Income Tax v/s Hewlett Packard Global Soft Ltd.


Company & Directors' Information:- B N GLOBAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U15400PB2014PTC038543

Company & Directors' Information:- HEWLETT-PACKARD INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED [Amalgamated] CIN = U25202DL1988PTC033828

Company & Directors' Information:- K V GLOBAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U24100DL2014PTC263567

Company & Directors' Information:- GLOBAL CORPORATION LIMITED [Active] CIN = L74999DL1992PLC048880

Company & Directors' Information:- T & I GLOBAL LTD. [Active] CIN = L29130WB1991PLC050797

Company & Directors' Information:- K G GLOBAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74999DL2000PTC104788

Company & Directors' Information:- A. V. GLOBAL CORPORATION PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U63090DL2007PTC159315

Company & Directors' Information:- A N GLOBAL LIMITED [Active] CIN = U92110MH1985PLC035269

Company & Directors' Information:- D S GLOBAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74899DL1995PTC071516

Company & Directors' Information:- A B C GLOBAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51909PB2011PTC035103

Company & Directors' Information:- I A T GLOBAL COMPANY PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U24116DL1997PTC084916

Company & Directors' Information:- J D GLOBAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51909DL1997PTC091270

Company & Directors' Information:- B N G GLOBAL INDIA LIMITED [Active] CIN = U52590DL2011PLC225377

Company & Directors' Information:- N K COMPANY (GLOBAL) PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U52390WB2010PTC153624

Company & Directors' Information:- K B K GLOBAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U24296DL2016PTC290487

Company & Directors' Information:- M & D GLOBAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U31101UP1974PTC003937

Company & Directors' Information:- V R GLOBAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U45200WB2007PTC120797

Company & Directors' Information:- M M GLOBAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U29120WB1986PTC041280

Company & Directors' Information:- R V GLOBAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74990MH2009PTC195301

Company & Directors' Information:- M M C GLOBAL INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U11200MH2010PTC206910

Company & Directors' Information:- S R GLOBAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51109WB1997PTC084553

Company & Directors' Information:- H V GLOBAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U18101DL2000PTC103960

Company & Directors' Information:- R P GLOBAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U74990MH2009PTC193409

Company & Directors' Information:- M S GLOBAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U70100MH2008PTC213273

Company & Directors' Information:- R S V GLOBAL LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51909DL1994PLC059032

Company & Directors' Information:- S V H SOFT PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U72900DL1999PTC100422

Company & Directors' Information:- N B GLOBAL (INDIA) PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U15122UP2012PTC051614

Company & Directors' Information:- C L SOFT PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U72200TG2000PTC034995

Company & Directors' Information:- D SOFT INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U72300TN2002PTC048782

Company & Directors' Information:- A I SOFT PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U72100KA1991PTC011568

Company & Directors' Information:- Q SOFT INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U99999MH2001PTC130725

Company & Directors' Information:- A M GLOBAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74999MH2015PTC261061

Company & Directors' Information:- M N T SOFT PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U72200TG2013PTC087421

Company & Directors' Information:- L S A GLOBAL INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED [Under Process of Striking Off] CIN = U74900TG2015PTC098308

Company & Directors' Information:- R L GLOBAL INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U52300HP2014PTC000764

Company & Directors' Information:- G R GLOBAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U70102KA2013PTC069586

Company & Directors' Information:- H. E. GLOBAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U72901GJ2016PTC092866

Company & Directors' Information:- C P SOFT PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U74999TG2000PTC035803

    IT Appeal No. 812 of 2007

    Decided On, 30 October 2017

    At, High Court of Karnataka

    By, THE HONOURABLE DR. JUSTICE VINEET KOTHARI
    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE A.S. BOPANNA & THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE B. VEERAPPA

    For the Appearing Parties: K.V. Aravind, T. Suryanarayana, Advocates.



Judgment Text

Vineet Kothari, J.

1. The following questions have been referred on 10th April, 2017 by the Division Bench of this Court for answer by Full Bench :

"(i) Whether in the facts and in the circumstances of the case, Tribunal was justified in holding that interest from fixed deposits, accrued interest on fixed deposits, interest received from Citibank, Hong Kong and interest on staff loans should be treated as business income of the assessee even though the assessee is not carrying any banking/financial activity ?

(ii) Whether the AO was correct in holding that the interest income cannot be held to be derived from eligible business of the assessee (software development) for the purpose of claiming deduction under section 10A of the IT Act, 1961 ?"

2. The conflict of opinion of the two Division Benches has resulted in the aforesaid reference to the Full Bench. The earlier view was taken in favour of the assessee by the first Division Bench in IT Appeal No. 428 of 2007 (CIT & Anr. v. Commissioner of Income Tax v. Motorola India Electronics (P) Ltd.) on 11th Dec., 2013 [reported at (2014) 265 CTR (Kar) 94 : (2014) 98 DTR (Kar) 81- Ed]. The subsequent Division Bench taking a different view on 10th April, 2014 in the present IT Appeal No. 812 of 2007 referred the aforesaid questions of law for consideration by the Full Bench.

3. The first Division Bench in its decision dated 11th Dec., 2013 held that the respondent-assessee, a 100 per cent Export Oriented Unit (EOU) which is exporting software like the respondent-assessee in the present case was entitled to 100 per cent deduction under section 10A of the IT Act, 1961 ('Act' for short) in respect of the interest income earned by it during the relevant assessment year from Exchange Earner's Foreign Currency (EEFC) account and the same would be construed as "business income of the assessee derived from the undertaking" within the meaning of section 10A of the Act. The Division Bench held that the profits of the business of the undertaking includes the profits and gains from export of the articles as well as all other incidental incomes derived from the business of the undertaking and what is exempted under section 10A/10B of the Act is not merely profits and gains from the export of articles but also the income from the business of the undertaking.

4. The Division Bench held that the assessee-M/s Motorola India Electronics (P) Ltd. was a 100 per cent EOU which has exported software and earned the income and a portion of that income is deposited in EEFC account and yet another portion of the amount was invested within the country by way of fixed deposits and yet another portion was invested by way of loans to the sister concerns and on which the assessee derived interest or the consideration received from sale of import entitlements which was permissible in law and therefore the interest received and the consideration received by the sale of import entitlements was to be construed as income of the business of the undertakings and the Division Bench held that there is a direct nexus between this income and the income of the business of the undertaking, though it does not partake the character of a profit and gains from the sale of articles but it is the income which is derived from the consideration realised from export of articles. The assessee was thus held entitled to 100 per cent deduction for the asst. yr. 2001-02 under section 10A/10B of the Act.

5. However, the subsequent Division Bench took a different view on 10th April, 2014 in the present IT Appeal No. 812 of 2007 and relying upon certain Supreme Court decisions referred therein, held that the undertaking/assessee could have more sources of income other than the profits and gains as are derived by them from the export of articles or things or computer software and such undertakings contemplated under section 10A(1) of the Act are entitled to seek benefit of deduction only in respect of the profit derived from export of articles or things or computer software.

6. The subsequent Division Bench further held that the expression "total turnover of the business carried on by the undertaking" would mean only the turnover of the export business of the undertaking and not any other activity from the undertaking which earns profit, which could be a part of total income of the assessee. The Division Bench, therefore, proceeded to take a view that the respondent-assessee/undertaking, M/s Hewlett Packard Globalsoft (P) Ltd. which invested its surplus funds in banks and received interest thereon and also interest on the staff loans, such interest earned by the undertaking/assessee had no direct nexus with the business of the undertaking and in other words the business of the undertaking as contemplated under section 10A of the Act is only the export of articles or things or computer software and interest on surplus amount in bank deposit or loans to staff could not have any nexus with the business of the undertaking as contemplated under section 10A(4) of the Act.

7. The Division Bench, therefore, held that they were unable to agree with the view taken by the earlier Division Bench in the case of respondent-assessec-Motorola India Electronics (P) Ltd. (supra) and thus the matter was required to be referred to the Full Bench for its opinion.

8. We have heard the learned counsel, Mr. K.V. Aravind for the Revenue and Mr. T. Suryanarayana for the respondent-assessee.

9. The scheme of the IT Act is that the said Act is divided into Chapters XXIII, comprising of section 1 to section 298 and Fourteen Schedule to the Act. We are mainly concerned with Chapter II (Basis of Charge-s. 4 to section 9A); Chapter III (Incomes which do not form part of total income-s. 10 to section 13B) Chapter IV (Computation of total income, providing for different Heads of Income-Part-D-Profits and Gains of Business or Profession-(s. 28 to section 44DB) and Chapter VI-A (Deductions to be made in computing Total Income, Part A-General, comprising of sections 80A to 80B and Part B-Deductions in respect of certain payments, comprising of section 80C to 80GGC and Part C-Deductions in respect of certain incomes-comprising of section 80H to section 80TT.

10. Out of this broad scheme of the Act, since the cited cases before us mostly pertain to Part C of Chapter VI-A which deals with the deductions to be made in computing total income under sections 80-H, 80HH, 80HHC etc, we would deal with these provisions when relevant case law are discussed by us.

11. As against the Chapter VI-A relating to deductions from gross total income as provided in Chapter VI-A of the Act, sections 10A and 10B contained in Chapter III of the Act provide for exemptions or 100 per cent deduction in Chapter III which deals with "Incomes which do not form part of the total income" and section 10A deals with "Special provisions in respect of the newly established undertakings in Free Trade Zone, (FTZ) etc." and section 10AA deals with "Special provisions in respect of newly established units in Special Economic Zones (SEZs)" and section 10B deals with "Special provisions in respect of newly established 100 per cent Export Oriented Units (100 per cent EOUs)".

12. Before coming to the crux of the controversy, let us have a look at the brief factual background of the respondent-assessee for the asst. yr. 2001-02 in question.

13. The respondent-assessee during the relevant year operated four units set up under the scheme formulated by the Government in the name of Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) for 100 per cent export of the computer software units. The Government of India to promote the fast growing industry of software and software technology in our country, made a special provision for providing incentive in the form of tax exemption by inserting section 10A in Chapter III of the Act which provision is quoted herein-below and the same provided for a 100 per cent deduction of profits and gains derived by an undertaking from the export of articles or things or computer software for a period of ten consecutive assessment years from the beginning of its setting up, if such undertaking begins to manufacture or produce such articles or things or computer software in its export undertaking. The said provision was substituted by Finance Act, 2000, w.e.f. 1st April, 2001 in place of the earlier section 10A, which was inserted by Finance Act, 1981.

14. Section 10B of the Act was also substituted by the Finance Act, 2000, w.e.f. 1st April, 2001 in place of earlier provisions of section 10B of the Act inserted by Finance Act, 1988 w.e.f. 1st April, 1989 and it provided for such 100 per cent deduction of profits and gains derived by a 100 per cent export oriented undertaking set up in specified zones like STPI etc. from the export of articles or things or computer software for a period of ten consecutive assessment years, beginning with the assessment year relevant to the previous year in which the undertaking begins to manufacture or produce such articles.

15. There is no dispute of facts before us as found by the Tribunal with the respondent-assessee, as a 100 per cent EOU had four units set up in the Software Technology Park of India (STPI) Scheme and it had no other units from which it carried on any other activity other than the 100 per cent export of software projects during the asst. yr. 2001-02 under consideration.

16. The assessee earned during the said asst. yr. 2001-02, interest income of 4,68,037 on the short-term deposits made by it to the tune of 6,46,88,606 out of its surplus funds temporarily parked in the current account held in CITI Bank, Hong Kong and also earned interest of 6,02,309 from the advances of loans to its staff members. The deduction in respect of both the said interest income was claimed as a 100 per cent deduction under section 10A of the Act during the said relevant year as income from "profits and gains" of export business. But, the assessing authority under the Act held that such interest income was not entitled to 100 per cent deduction under section 10A of the Act, but such interest income was taxable under section 56 of the Act, as 'Income from other sources' and that is the bone of contention between the assessee and the Revenue before us.

17. The learned counsel for the Revenue, Mr. Aravind relying upon the following judgments under sections 80HH, 80HHC and 80-1 of the Act which scheme of deductions under Chapter VI-A of the Act is different from the scheme of exemptions from tax under sections 10A and 10B in Chapter III of the Act, submitted that the interest income derived by the respondent-assessee cannot be said to be "profits and gains" as derived by an undertaking from the export of articles and therefore such interest income earned from banks and staff loans has to be taxed under section 56 of the Act as "income from other sources" and 100 per cent deduction treating them as "profits and gains of business" is not allowable under section 80A of the Act.

18. The relevant extracts of the judgments mainly relied upon by the learned counsel for the Revenue are quoted below for ready reference.

19. In Pandian Chemicals Ltd. v. Commissioner of Income Tax (2003) 183 CTR (SC) 99 : (2003) 262 ITR 278 (SC), the Hon'ble Supreme Court dealing with a controversy with regard to interest on deposits with Electricity Board held that the same could not be treated as 'profits and gains derived from industrial undertaking" for the purposes of section 80HH of the Act. The relevant paras 4 and 6 of the judgment are quoted below for ready reference.

"4. Section 80HH of IT Act grants deduction in respect of profits and gains derived from' an industrial undertaking. The contention of the appellant before us is that interest earned on the deposit made with the Electricity Board (assessee) for the supply of electricity to the appellant's industrial undertaking should be treated as income derived from the industrial undertaking within the meaning of section 80HH. It is submitted that without the supply of electricity the industrial undertaking could not run and since electricity was an essential requirement of the industrial undertaking, the industrial undertaking could not survive without it. It is further pointed out that for the purpose of getting this essential input, the statutory requirement was that the deposit must be made as a precondition for the supply of electricity. Consequently, according to the appellant, the interest on the deposit should be treated as income derived from the industrial undertaking within the meaning of section 80HH.

5..........

6. The word derived' has been construed as far back in 1948 by the Privy Council in Commissioner of Income Tax v. Raja Bahadur Kamakhaya Narayan Singh & Ors. (1948) 16 ITR 325 (PC) when it said :

The word derived is not a term of art. Its use in the definition indeed demands an enquiry into the genealogy of the product. But the enquiry should stop as soon as the effective source is discovered. In the genealogical tree of the interest land indeed appears in the second degree, but the immediate and effective source is rent, which has suffered the accident of non-payment. And rent is not land within the meaning of the definition.'

This definition was approved and reiterated in 1955 by a Constitution Bench of this Court in the decision of Mrs. Bacha F. Guzdar v. Commissioner of Income Tax (1955) 27 ITR 1 (SC). It is clear, therefore, that the words derived from' are section 80HH of the IT Act, 1961 must be understood as something which has direct or immediate nexus with the appellant's industrial undertaking. Although electricity may be required for the purposes of the industrial undertaking, the deposit required for its supply is a step removed from the business of the industrial undertaking The derivation of profits on the deposit made with Electricity Board cannot be said to flow directly from the industrial undertaking itself."

20. In Liberty India v. Commissioner of Income Tax (2009) 225 CTR (SC) 233 : (2009) 28 DTR (SC) 73 : (2009) 317 ITR 218 (SC), the Hon'ble Supreme Court dealing with the controversy of profit from Duty Exemption Payback Scheme (DEPB), duty drawback incentives dealing with deduction under 80-IB of the Act held that the profit derived on sale of such DEPB and Duty Draw Back Entitlements by the assessee could not be said to be profits and gains "derived from" which are "ancillary" as compared with the words "attributable to" and therefore such profits on sale of DEPB/duty drawback Entitlements was not deductible under section 80-IB of the Act. The relevant discussion as found in para 16 of the judgment is quoted below for ready reference.

"16. DEPB is an incentive. It is given under Duty Exemption/Remission Scheme. Essentially, it is an export incentive. No doubt, the object behind DEPB is to neutralize the incidence of customs duty payment on the import content of export product. This neutralisation is provided for by credit to customs duty against export product. Under DEPB, an exporter may apply for credit as percentage of FOB value of exports made in freely convertible currency. Credit is available only against the export product and at rates specified by DGFT for import of raw materials, components, etc. DEPB credit under the scheme has to be calculated by taking into account the deemed import content of the export product as per basic customs duty and special additional duty payable on such deemed imports. Therefore, in our view, DEPB/duty drawbacks are incentives which flow from the schemes framed by Central Government or from section 75 of the Customs Act, 1962, hence, incentive profits are not profits derived from the eligible business under section 80-IB. They belong to the category of ancillary profits of such undertakings."

21. Likewise, in Commissioner of Income Tax v. Sterling Foods (1999) 153 CTR (SC) 439 : (1999) 237 ITR 579 (SC) again the Hon'ble Supreme Court in a ease arising under section 80HH of the Act held that the nexus between the sale consideration of import entitlements and the industrial undertakings was not direct but only incidental and therefore the same would not constitute "profits and gains" derived from assessee's industrial undertaking for the purpose of computing deduction under section 80HH of the Act. The observations made in para 9 of the judgment are quoted below :

"9. We do not think the source of the import entitlements can be said to be the industrial undertaking of the assessee. The source of the import entitlements can in the circumstances, only be said to be the export promotion scheme of the Central Government where-under the export entitlements become available. There must be, for the application of the words derived from', a direct nexus between the profits arid gains and the industrial undertaking. In the instant case the nexus is not direct but only incidental. The industrial undertaking exports processed sea food. By reason of such export, the export promotion scheme applies.

Thereunder, the assessee is entitled to import entitlements, which it can sell. The sale consideration therefrom cannot, in our view, be held to constitute a profit and gain derived from the assessee's industrial undertaking."

22. In The Totgars Co-operative Sale Society Ltd. v. Income Tax Officer (2010) 229 CTR (SC) 209 : (2010) 35 DTR (SC) 25 : (2010) 322 ITR 283 (SC), which judgment was relied upon by the Division Bench of this Court for the later years also while deciding IT Appeal No. 100066 of 2016 (Principal Commissioner of Income Tax v. Totagars Co-operative Sale Society) on 16th June, 2017 [reported at (2017) 297 CTR (Kar) 158 : (2017) 154 DTR (Kar) 25-Ed.], the Hon'ble Supreme Court held that the profits and gains of business attributable to one of the activities specified in section 80P(2)(a) of the Act which gave 100 per cent deduction from tax to the co-operative societies engaged in specified types of activities did not include the interest earned by it by investing surplus funds in short-term deposits and Government securities which would be taxable under section 56 of the Act as "income from other sources". The relevant extract of the Supreme Court judgment is quoted below for ready reference.

"To say that the source of income is not relevant for deciding the applicability of section 80P would not be correct because weightage has to be given to the words 'the whole of the amount of profits and gains of business' attributable to one of the activities specified in section 80P(2)(a). An important point needs to be mentioned. The words 'the whole of the amount of profits and gains of business' emphasise that the income in respect of which deduction is sought must constitute the operational income and not the other income which accrues to the society. In this particular case, the evidence shows that the assessee-society earns interest on funds which are not required for business purposes at the given point of time. Therefore, on the facts and circumstances of this case, such interest income falls in the category of 'other income' which has been rightly taxed by the Department under section 56. The Totgars Cooperative Sale Society Ltd. v. Income Tax Officer (2010) 228 CTR (Kar) 526 affirmed.

Assessee, a co-operative society, being engaged in providing credit facilities to its members and marketing the agricultural produce of the members, interest earned by it by investing surplus funds in short-term deposits and Government securities fell under the head Income from other sources' taxable under section 56 and it cannot be said to be attributable to the activities of the society and, therefore, the interest income did not qualify for deduction under section 80P(2)(a)(i)."

23. The Division Bench following the aforesaid judgment later again held that the said judgment of the Hon'ble Supreme Court will apply to the same assessee even for subsequent assessment years despite the amendment in law and even if the interest income was earned by the assessee co-operative society from the deposits made with the co-operative banks and not with the other scheduled or nationalised banks as was done in the earlier years involved before the Hon'ble Supreme Court and such 100 ner cent deduction would not be available to the assessee society even with reference to section 80P(2)(a) or (d) of the Act for those subsequent assessment years as well.

24. Before adverting to the judgments cited by the learned counsel for the respondent-assessee and his contentions in brief, let us extract the relevant portion of the section 10A applicable in the facts and circumstances of the present case to its relevant extent herein-below.

10A. Special provision in respect of newly established undertakings in free trade zone, etc.- (1) Subject to the provisions of this section, a deduction of such profits and gains as are derived by an undertaking from the export of articles or things or computer software for a period of ten consecutive assessment years beginning with the assessment year relevant to the previous year in which the undertaking begins to manufacture or produce such articles or things or computer software, as the case may be, shall be allowed from the total income of the assessee : (2) This section applies to any undertaking which fulfils all the following conditions, namely :

(i) it has begun or begins to manufacture or produce articles or things or computer software during the previous year relevant to the assessment year-

(a) commencing on or after the 1st day of April, 1981, in any free trade zone; or

(b) commencing on or after the 1st day of April, 1994, in any electronic hardware technology park, or, as the case may be, software technology K park;

(c) commencing on or after the 1st day of April, 2001 in any Special 1 Economic Zone;

(ii) it is not formed by the splitting up, or the reconstruction, of a business already in existence :

Provided that this condition shall not apply in respect of any undertaking which is formed as a result of the re-establishment, reconstruction or revival by the assessee of the business of any such undertakings as is referred to in section 33B, in the circumstances and within the period K specified in that section; (iii) it is not formed by the transfer to a new business of machinery or plant previously used for any purpose.

(4) For the purposes of sub-ss. (1) and (1A). the profits derived from export of articles or things or computer software shall be the amount which bears to the profits of the business of the undertaking, the same proportion as the export turnover in respect of such articles or things or computer software bears to the total turnover of the business carried on by the undertaking."

25. The learned counsel for the respondent-assessee, Mr. T. Suryanarayana submitted that the entire profits and gains of the undertaking of the respondent-assessee who was exclusively engaged in the business of manufacture and export of Software Programmes and projects was entitled to exemption or 100 per cent deduction under section 10A of the Act as the entire income earned by such undertaking including the interest earned from banks and staff loans which was just incidental to the normal business activity of export of software and such interest would also therefore constitute part of the profits and gains of the undertaking and would be entitled to such exemption.

26. The learned counsel for the respondent-assessee also urged that in fact, the question of applying the formula under section 10A(4) for giving proportionate deduction would not arise in such circumstances where the assessee was engaged wholly in 100 per cent export of its Software programmes and would not apply to exclude such exemption in respect of the interest income because the interest income of the undertaking does not form part of 'total turnover of the assessee' in contra-distinction with 'export turnover of the assessee' because the assessee is engaged in 100 per cent export of articles and the assessee admittedly satisfies all other relevant conditions for applicability of section 10A of the Act to the respondent assessee.

27. He submitted that the judgment of the Division Bench in the case of Motorola India Electronics (P) Ltd. (supra) of this Court which has been differed with by the subsequent Division Bench giving rise to the present Reference to the Full Bench gives the correct interpretation of section 10A/10B of the Act and the same has been consistently followed at later stages by the other High Courts.

28. The learned counsel for the respondent-assessee relied upon the following decisions in this regard.

29. In Riviera Home Furnishing v. Addl. CIT (2016) 138 DTR (Del) 149 : (2016) 65 taxmann.com 287 (Del), the Division Bench of Delhi High Court dealing with a case of EOU, for the asst. yr. 2008-09, in respect of interest received by an assessee on fixed deposit receipts (FDRs) which were under lien with bank for facilitating Letter of Credit and Bank Guarantee facilities held that such interest received on FDRs would qualify for deduction under section 10B of the Act. The relevant paras 9 and 15 of the said decision are quoted below.

"9. The question as to what can constitute as profits and gains derived by a 100 per cent EOU from the export of articles and computer software came for consideration before the Karnataka High Court in Commissioner of Income Tax v. Motorola India Electronics (P) Ltd. (2014) 98 DTR (Kar) 81 : (2014) 265 CTR (Kar) 94 : (2014) 46 taxmann.com 167 (Kar). The said appeal before the Karnataka High Court was by the Revenue challenging an order passed by the Tribunal which held that the interest payable on FDRs was part of the profits of the business of the undertaking and therefore includible in the income eligible for deduction sections 10A and 10B of the Act. There the assessee had earned interest on the deposits lying in the EEFC account as well as interest earned on inter-corporate loans given to sister concerns out of the funds of the undertaking. There was a restriction on the assessee in that case from making pre-payment of its External Commercial Borrowings ('ECB'). It could repay only to the extent of 10 per cent of the outstanding loan in a year. This made the assessee temporarily park the balance funds as deposits or with various sister-1 concerns as inter corporate deposits until the date of repayment. The assessee contended that the interest derived from the business of the industrial undertaking was eligible for exemption within the meaning of section 10B and applied the formula under section 10B(4) of the Act for determining the profits from exports. The assessee's contention that the expression "profits of the business of the undertaking" in section 10B(4) was wider than the expression "profits and gains derived by" the assessee from a 100 per cent EOU occurring in section 10B(1) was accepted by the Tribunal. The Tribunal noticed that unlike section 80 HHC, where there was an express exclusion of the interest earned from the 'profits of business of undertaking', there was no similar provision as far as sections 10A and 10B were concerned.

15. In the considered view of the Court, the submissions made on behalf of the Revenue proceed on the basic misconception regarding the true purport of the provisions of Chapter VI-A of the Act and on an incorrect understanding of Section 80A(4) of the Act. The opening words of section 180A(4) read Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in section 10A or section 10AA or section 10B or section 10BA or in any provisions of this Chapter '. What is sought to be underscored, therefore, is that section 80A, and the other provisions in Chapter Vl-A, are independent of sections 10A and 10B of the Act. It appears that the object of section 80A(4) was to ensure that a unit which has availed of the benefit under section 10B will not be allowed to further claim relief under section 80-LA or 80-IB r/w section 80A(4). The intention does not appear to be to deny relief under s. ] 10B(1) r/w section 10B(4) or to whittle down the ambit of those provisions as is sought to be suggested by Mr. Manchanda. Also, he is not right in contending that the decisions of the High Courts referred to above have not noticed the decision of the Supreme Court in Liberty India (supra). The Karnataka High Court in Commissioner of Income Tax v. Motorola India Electronics (P) Ltd. (supra) makes a reference to the said decision. That decision of the Karnataka High Court has been cited with approval by this Court in Hritnik Exports (supra) and Universal Precision Screws (supra). In Hritnik Exports (supra) the Court quoted with approval the observations of the Special Bench of the Tribunal in Maral Overseas Ltd. (supra) that 's. 10A/10B of the Act is a complete code providing the mechanism for computing the profits of the business' eligible for deduction under section 10B of the Act. Once an income forms part of the business of the income of the eligible undertaking of the assessee, the same cannot be excluded from the eligible profits for the purpose of computing deduction under section 10B of the Act."

30. The said judgment, in our opinion, rightly distinguishes the judgments on the interpretation of sections 80HH, 80-IA etc. under Chapter VI-A of the Act in view of section 80A(4) of the Act which, with a non-obstante clause which starts with "Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in section 10A or section 10AA or section 10B or section 10BA or in any provisions of this chapter" proceeds to enumerate the various deductions under Chapter VI-A of the Act.

31. Similarly, the Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court in Commissioner of Income Tax v. Hindustan Gum & Chemicals Ltd. (2017) 152 DTR (Cal) 84 : (2016) 72 taxmann.com.90 (Cal) again held that interest earned on surplus business funds deposited with banks for short periods will be part of profits of business for the purposes of section 10B of the Act. The relevant portion of the judgment in para 3 relied upon in the decision of the Division Bench of this Court in the case of Motorola India Electronics (P) Ltd. (supra) is quoted below for ready reference.

"3. A bare reading of sub-section (1) suggests that 100 per cent export-oriented undertakings are entitled to a deduction of profits and gains derived from the export of articles for a period of 10 years. The aforesaid entitlement is, however, subject to the provisions of section 10B. In other words, subject to the provisions contained in the other parts of the section 10B, the benefit is available to an assessee. It was not disputed that the only relevant provision to be taken into account is sub-section (4) which we already have quoted. Sub-section (4) provides the quantum of deduction which can be availed by an assessee. The quantum of deduction is dependent upon the total turnover of the business of the undertaking and the export turnover of the undertaking. Once these two figures are available, one has to divide the total turnover by the export turnover in order to work out the percentage of the export turnover, vis-a-vis the total turnover. Suppose total turn over is Rs. 100 and total export turn over is for Rs. 10, then the export turnover is 10 per cent of the total turnover. Then one has to find out the total profit of the business of the undertaking. Suppose the total profit of the business of the undertaking is Rs. 100, in that case, deduction available to the assessee under section 10 sub-section (1) of section 10B shall be 10 per cent of Rs. 100, i.e. to say Rs. 10. This is the formula which has been provided by sub-section (4) for the purpose of working out the benefit or deduction under sub-section (1). Total turnover shall naturally include receipt on account of interest. The legislature does not appear to have provided for excluding the amount of interest from the total turnover as has been done in the case of section 80HHC by Expln. (baa) of subsection (4C) thereof. In that case, 90 per cent of the income arising out of interest has to be excluded from the profits of the business for the purpose of arriving at deduction available under section 80HHC. But an identical provision is not there. Therefore, that provision cannot be imported by implication. The submission that the amount earned from interest was not intended to be taken into account for the purpose of giving benefit under sub-section (1) of section 10B may be correct. But the amount of deduction available to a 100 per cent export oriented undertaking is necessarily dependent upon the formula provided in sub-section (4). There is, as such, no scope for any controversy that part of the money was earned from interest and not from export. This question came up before the Karnataka High Court and was answered in the case of Commissioner of Income Tax v. Motorola India Electronics (P) Ltd. (2014) 98 DTR (Kar) 81 : (2014) 265 CTR (Kar) 94 : (2014) 46 taxmann.com 167 as follows:

'In the instant case, the assessee is a 100 per cent EOU, which has exported software and earned the income. A portion of that income is included in EEFC account. Yet another portion of the amount is invested within the country by way of fixed deposits, another portion of the amount is invested by way of loan to sister-concern which is deriving interest or the consideration received from sale of the import entitlement, which is permissible in law. Now the question is whether the interest received and the consideration received by sale of import entitlements is to be construed as income of the business of the undertaking. There is a direct nexus between this income and the income of the business of the undertaking. Though it does not partake the character of profits and gains from the sale of an article, it is the income which is derived from the consideration realised by export of articles. In view of the definition of income from profits and gains incorporated in sub-section (4), the assessee is entitled to the benefit of exemption of the said amount as contemplated under section 10B of the Act. Therefore, the Tribunal was justified in extending the benefit to the aforesaid amounts also. We do not find any merit in these appeals. Therefore, the first substantial question of law raised in IT Appeal No. 428 of 2007 is answered in favour of the Revenue and against the assessee and the first substantial question of law in IT Appeal No. 447 of 2007. Is answered in favour of the assessee and against the Revenue.

In the light of the aforesaid findings, the second question of law in both the appeals do not arise for consideration'."

32. The Division Bench of Bombay High Court in Commissioner of Income Tax v. Symantee Software India (P) Ltd. rightly held, in our opinion, that the provisions of Chapter VI-A in the context of 'deductions' cannot be allowed to be telescoped in section 10A and the deduction under section 10A has to be given effect to at the prior stage of computing the profits and gains of the business, whereas Chapter VI-A comes in for application after the gross total income is determined by adding the income under various independent heads of income in Chapter IV comprising of sections 14 to 59 of the Act.

33. The relevant extract from paras 19 to 21 of Bombay High Court decision is also quoted below for ready reference.

"19. There is some substance in the contention of Mr. Kaka that if the deduction shall be allowed from the total income of the assessee in the manner set out by section 10A and the computation is also provided in that provision itself namely sub-section (4), then there is a complete Code which is evolved and formulated by the legislature.

20. In relation to this, we also find support in the judgment of this Court in the case of Black & Veatch Consulting (P) Ltd. This Court has observed and held as under :

'Sec. 10A is a provision which is in the nature of a deduction and not an exemption. This was emphasized in a judgment of a Division Bench of this Court, while construing the provisions of section 10B, in Hindustan Unilever Ltd. v. Dy. CIT (2010) 38 DTR (Bom) 91 : (2011) 237 CTR (Bom) 287 : (2010) 325 ITR 102 (Bom), at. para 24. The submission of the Revenue placed its reliance on the literal reading of section 10A under which a deduction of such profits and gains as are derived by an undertaking from the export of articles or things or computer software for a period of ten consecutive assessment years is to be allowed from the total income of the assessee. The deduction under section 10A, in our view, has to be given effect to at the stage of computing the profits and gains of business. This is anterior to the application of the provisions of section 72 which deals with the carry forward and set off of business losses. A distinction has been made by the legislature while incorporating the provisions of Chapter VI-A. Section 80a(1) stipulates that in computing the total income of an assessee, there shall be allowed from his gross total income, in accordance with and subject to the provisions of the chapter, the deductions specified in sections 80C to 80U. Section 80B(5) defines for the purposes of Chapter VI-A 'gross total income' to mean the total income computed in accordance with the provisions of the Act, before making any deduction under the chapter. What the Revenue in essence seeks to attain is to telescope the provisions of Chapter VI-A in the context of the deduction which is allowable under section 10A, which would not be permissible unless a specific statutory provision to that effect were to be made. In the absence thereof, such an approach cannot be accepted. In the circumstances, the decision of the Tribunal would have to be affirmed since it is plain and evident that the deduction under section 10A has to be given at the stage when the profits and gains of business are computed in the first instance.

21. Therefore, when this Court has held that Chapter VI-A provides for deduction to be made in computing the total income and section 80HH deals with deduction in respect of profit and gains from the newly established undertaking or hotel business in backward areas, then the attempt of the Revenue to telescope Chapter VI-A in the context of the deduction, which is permissible under section 10A falling in Chapter III, cannot be countenanced."

34. We are of the considered opinion that the above-referred decisions relied upon by the learned counsel for the Revenue, Mr. Aravind do not cover the cases under sections 10A and 10B of the Act which are special provisions and complete code in themselves and deal with profits and gains derived by the assessee of a special nature and character like 100 per cent Export Oriented Units (EOUs.) situated in Special Economic Zones (SEZs), STPI, etc., where the entire profits and gains of the entire undertaking making 100 per cent exports of articles including software as is the fact in the present case, the assessee is given 100 per cent deduction of profits and gains of such export business and therefore incidental income of such undertaking by way of interest on the temporarily parked funds in banks or even interest on staff loans would constitute part of profits and gains of such special undertakings and these cases cannot be compared with deductions under sections 80HH or 80-IB in Chapter VI-A of the Act where an assessee dealing with several activities or commodities may inter alia earn profits and gains from the specified activity and therefore in those cases, the Hon'ble Supreme Court has held that the interest income would not be the income "derived from" such undertakings doing such special business activity.

35. The scheme of deductions under Chapter VI-A in sections 80HH, 80HHC, 80-IB, etc. from the 'gross total income of the undertaking', which may arise from different specified activities in these provisions and other incomes may exclude interest income from the ambit of deductions under these provisions, but exemption under section 10A and 10B of the Act encompasses the entire income derived from the business of export of such eligible undertakings including interest income derived from the temporary' parking of funds by such undertakings in banks or even staff loans. The dedicated nature of business or their special geographical locations in STPI or SEZs. etc. makes them a special category of assessees entitled to the incentive in the form of 100 per cent deduction under section 10A or 10B of the Act, rather than it being a special character of income entitled to deduction from gross total income under Chapter VI-A under section 80HH, etc. The computation of income entitled to exemption under section 10A or 10B of the Act is done at the prior stage of computation of income from profits and gains of business as per sections 28 to 44 under Part-D of Chapter IV before 'gross total income' as defined under section 80-B(5) is computed and after which the consideration of various deductions under Chapter VI-A in section 80HH etc. comes into picture. Therefore analogy of Chapter VI deductions cannot be telescoped or imported in section 10A or 10B of the Act. The words derived by an undertaking' in section 10A or 10B are different from 'derived from' employed in section 80HH etc. Therefore all profits and gains of the undertaking including the incidental income by way of interest on bank deposits or staff loans would be entitled to 100 per cent exemption or deduction under sections 10A and 10B of the Act. Such interest income arises in the ordinary course of export business of the undertaking even though not as a direct result of export but from the bank deposits etc., and is therefore eligible for 100 per cent deduction.

36. We have to take a purposive interpretation of the scheme of the Act for the exemption under section 10A/10B of the Act and for the object of granting such incentive to the special class of assessees selected by the Parliament, the play-in-the-joints is allowed to the legislature and the liberal interpretation of the exemption provisions to make a purposive interpretation, was also propounded by Hon'ble Supreme Court in the following cases :

(I) In Bajaj Tempo Ltd. v. Commissioner of Income Tax (1992) 104 CTR (SC) 116 : (1992) 3 SCC 78, the Hon'ble Supreme Court held that:

"5 Since a provision intended for promoting economic growth has to be interpreted liberally, the restriction on it, too, has to be construed so as to advance the objective of the section and not to frustrate it. But that turned out to be the unintended consequence of construing the clause literally, as was done by the Hi

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gh Court for which it cannot be blamed, as the provision is susceptible of such construction if the purpose behind its enactment, the objective it sought to achieve and the mischief it intended to control is lost sight of. One way of reading it is that the clause excludes any undertaking formed by transfer to it of any building, plant or machinery used previously in any other business. No objection could have been taken to such reading but when the result of reading in such plain and simple manner is analysed then it appears that literal construction would not be proper. (II) In R.K. Garg v. Union of India (1981) 25 CTR (SC) 406 : (1981) 4 SCC 675, the Hon'ble apex Court has held as under : "8. Another rule of equal importance is that laws relating to economic activities should be viewed with greater latitude than laws touching civil rights such as freedom of speech, religion etc. It has been said by no less a person than Holmes, J., that the legislature should be allowed some play in the joints, because it has to deal with complex problems which do not admit of solution through any doctrinaire or strait-jacket formula and this is particularly true in case of legislation dealing with economic matters, where, having regard to the nature of the problems required to be dealt with, greater play in the joints has to be allowed to the legislature. The Court should feel more inclined to give judicial deference to legislative judgment in the field of economic regulation than in other areas where fundamental human rights are involved. Nowhere has this admonition been more felicitously expressed than in Morey v. Dond (351 US 457 : 1 L Ed. 2d 1485 (1957) where Frankfurter, J., said in his inimitable style : 'In the utilities, tax and economic regulation cases, there are good reasons for judicial self-restraint if not judicial deference to legislative judgment. The legislature after all has the affirmative responsibility. The Courts have only the power to destroy, not to reconstruct. When these are added to the complexity of economic regulation, the uncertainty, the liability to error, the bewildering conflict of the experts, and the number of times the Judges have been overruled by events-self-limitation can be seen to be the path to judicial wisdom and institutional prestige and stability.' The Court must always remember that 'legislation is directed to practical problems, that the economic mechanism is highly sensitive and complex, that many problems are singular and contingent, that laws are not abstract propositions and do not relate to abstract units and are not to be measured by abstract symmetry'; 'that exact wisdom and nice adaption of remedy are not always possible' and that 'judgment is largely a prophecy based on meagre and uninterpreted experience'. Every legislation particularly in economic matters is essentially empiric and it is based on experimentation or what one may call trial and error method and therefore it cannot provide for all possible situations or anticipate all possible abuses. There may be crudities and inequities in complicated experimental economic legislation but on that account alone it cannot be struck down as invalid." 37. On the above legal position discussed by us, we are of the opinion that the respondent-assessee was entitled to 100 per cent exemption or deduction under section 10A of the Act in respect of the interest income earned by it on the deposits made by it with the banks in the ordinary course of its business and also interest earned by it from the staff loans and such interest income would not be taxable as 'income from other sources' under section 56 of the Act. The incidental activity of parking of surplus funds with the banks or advancing of staff loans by such special category of assessees covered under section 10A or 10B of the Act is integral part of their export business activity and a business decision taken in view of the commercial expediency and the interest income earned incidentally cannot be de-linked from its profits and gains derived by the undertaking engaged in the export of articles as envisaged under sections 10A or 10B of the Act and cannot be taxed separately under section 56 of the Act. 38. We therefore affirm and agree with the view expressed by the first Division Bench of this Court in the case of Motorola India Electronics (P) Ltd. (supra) and we do not agree with the view taken by the subsequent Division Bench on 10th April, 2014 in the present case. 39. Both the questions thus framed above are answered in favour of the respondent-assessee and against the Revenue in the terms indicated above and the matter is sent back to the Division Bench for deciding this appeal in accordance with the aforesaid opinion.
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