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Siemens Public Communication Networks Pvt. Ltd. v/s CIT Bangalore & Another

    Civil Appeal Nos. 11934, 11936, 11937 of 2016 (Arising out of Special Leave Petition (Civil) Nos. 6946, 8353 of 2014), (Arising out of Special Leave Petition (Civil) No. 8594 of 2014)

    Decided On, 07 December 2016

    At, Supreme Court of India


    For the Petitioner: Tarun Gulati, Rony O John, Neil Hildreth, Shashi Mathews, Kishore Kunal, Anupam Mishra, Rachana Yadav, R. Chandrachud, Advocates. For the Respondents: Yashank Adhyaru, Sr. Advocate, Sadhna Sandhu, Anil Katiyar, Advocates.

Judgment Text

1. Leave granted in all the Special Leave Petitions.

2. The Assessment Years in question are 1999-2000, 2000-2001 and 2001-2002. The point involved in the present appeals is short and precise. The subvention received by the Assessee - Company from its parent Company in Germany in a situation where the Assessee – Company was making losses has been treated to be a revenue receipt by the Assessing Officer. Though the First Appellate Authority [Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeals)] and the learned Income Tax Appellate Tribunal ("Tribunal" for short) has reversed the said finding, the High Court, by the orders under challenge, has restored the view taken by the Assessing Officer. Aggrieved the Assessee has filed the present appeals.

3. The question of law that was presented before the High Court, namely, whether subvention was capital or revenue receipt, was sought to be answered by the High Court by making a reference to two decisions of this Court inSahney Steel & Press Works Ltd., Hyderabad v. Commissioner of Income Tax, A.P.-I, Hyderabad, [(1997) 7 SCC 764andCommissioner of Income Tax, Madras v. Ponni Sugars and Chemicals Limited, [(2008) 9 SCC 337].The view expressed by this Court that unless the grant-in-aid received by an Assessee is utilised for acquisition of an asset, the same must be understood to be in the nature of a revenue receipt was held by the High Court to be a principle of law applicable to all situations. The aforesaid view tends to overlook the fact that in both Ponni Sugars (supra) and Sahney Steel (supra) the subsidies received were in the nature of grant-in-aid from public funds and not by way of voluntary contribution by the parent Company as in the present cases. The above apart, the voluntary payments made by the parent Company to its loss making Indian company can also be understood to be payments made in order to protect the capital investment of the Assessee Company. If that is so, we will have no hesitation to hold that the payments made to the Assessee Company by the parent Company for Assessment Years in question cannot be held to be revenue receipts. We also find such a view in a recent pronouncement inCommissioner of Income Tax v. Handicrafts and Handlooms Export Corporation of India Ltd.,(2014) 49 Taxmann.com 488 (Delhi), (Delhi High Cou

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rt) with which we are in respectful agreement. 4. For the aforesaid reasons, we allow the present appeals; set aside the order of the High Court and answer the liability of the Assessee for the Assessment Years in question in the above manner.