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CHAPTER XIII
INCOME-TAX AUTHORITIES

A.—Appointment and control

116. Income-tax authorities.
There shall be the following classes of income-tax authorities for the purposes of this Act, namely :—
(a)the Central Board of Direct Taxes constituted under the Central Boards of Revenue Act, 1963 (54 of 1963),
(aa) Principal Directors General of Income-tax or Principal Chief Commissioners of Income-tax,
(b) Directors-General of Income-tax or Chief Commissioners of Income-tax,
(ba) Principal Directors of Income-tax or Principal Commissioners of Income-tax,
(c)Directors of Income-tax or Commissioners of Income-tax or Commissioners of Income-tax (Appeals),
(cc) Additional Directors of Income-tax or Additional Commissioners of Income-tax or Additional Commissioners of Income-tax (Appeals),
(cca) Joint Directors of Income-tax or Joint Commissioners of Income-tax,
(d)Deputy Directors of Income-tax or Deputy Commissioners of Income-tax or Deputy Commissioners of Income-tax (Appeals),
(e)Assistant Directors of Income-tax or Assistant Commissioners of Income-tax,
(f)Income-tax Officers,
(g)Tax Recovery Officers,
(h)Inspectors of Income-tax.
117. Appointment of income-tax authorities.
(1) The Central Government may appoint such persons as it thinks fit to be income-tax authorities.
(2) Without prejudice to the provisions of sub-section (1), and subject to the rules and orders of the Central Government regulating the conditions of service of persons in public services and posts, the Central Government may authorise the Board, or a Principal Director General or Director-General, a Principal Chief Commissioner or Chief Commissioner or a Principal Director or Director or a Principal Commissioner or Commissioner to appoint income-tax authorities below the rank of an Assistant Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner.
(3) Subject to the rules and orders of the Central Government regulating the conditions of service of persons in public services and posts, an income-tax authority authorised in this behalf by the Board may appoint such executive or ministerial staff as may be necessary to assist it in the execution of its functions.
118. Control of income-tax authorities.
The Board may, by notification in the Official Gazette, direct that any income-tax authority or authorities specified in the notification shall be subordinate to such other income-tax authority or authorities as may be specified in such notification.
119. Instructions to subordinate authorities.
(1) The Board may, from time to time, issue such orders, instruc- tions and directions to other income-tax authorities as it may deem fit for the proper administration of this Act, and such authorities and all other persons employed in the execution of this Act shall observe and follow such orders, instructions and directions of the Board :
Provided that no such orders, instructions or directions shall be issued—
(a)so as to require any income-tax authority to make a particular assessment or to dispose of a particular case in a particular manner; or
(b)so as to interfere with the discretion of the Commissioner (Appeals) in the exercise of his appellate functions.
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing power,—
12(a) the Board may, if it considers it necessary or expedient so to do, for the purpose of proper and efficient management of the work of assessment and collection of revenue, issue, from time to time (whether by way of relaxation of any of the provisions of sections 115P, 115S, 115WD, 115WE, 115WF, 115WG, 115WH, 115WJ, 115WK, 139, 143, 144, 147, 148, 154, 155, 158BFA, sub-section (1A) of section 201, sections 210, 211, 234A, 234B, 234C, 234E, 13[270A,] 271 14[, 271C, 271CA] and 273 or otherwise), general or special orders in respect of any class of incomes or fringe benefits or class of cases, setting forth directions or instructions (not being prejudicial to assessees) as to the guidelines, principles or procedures to be followed by other income-tax authorities in the work relating to assessment or collection of revenue or the initiation of proceedings for the imposition of penalties and any such order may, if the Board is of opinion that it is necessary in the public interest so to do, be published and circulated in the prescribed manner for general information;
(b)the Board may, if it considers it desirable or expedient so to do for avoiding genuine hardship in any case or class of cases, by general or special order, authorise any income-tax authority, not being a Commissioner (Appeals) to admit an application or claim for any exemption, deduction, refund or any other relief under this Act after the expiry of the period specified by or under this Act for making such application or claim and deal with the same on merits in accordance with law;
(c)the Board may, if it considers it desirable or expedient so to do for avoiding genuine hardship in any case or class of cases, by general or special order for reasons to be specified therein, relax any requirement contained in any of the provisions of Chapter IV or Chapter VI-A, where the assessee has failed to comply with any requirement specified in such provision for claiming deduction thereunder, subject to the following conditions, namely:—
(i)the default in complying with such requirement was due to circumstances beyond the control of the assessee; and
(ii)the assessee has complied with such requirement before the completion of assessment in relation to the previous year in which such deduction is claimed :
Provided that the Central Government shall cause every order issued under this clause to be laid before each House of Parliament.
(3) [***]

B.—Jurisdiction

120. Jurisdiction of income-tax authorities.
(1) Income-tax authorities shall exercise all or any of the powers and perform all or any of the functions conferred on, or, as the case may be, assigned to such authorities by or under this Act in accordance with such directions as the Board may issue for the exercise of the powers and performance of the functions by all or any of those authorities.
Explanation.—For the removal of doubts, it is hereby declared that any income-tax authority, being an authority higher in rank, may, if so directed by the Board, exercise the powers and perform the functions of the income-tax authority lower in rank and any such direction issued by the Board shall be deemed to be a direction issued under sub-section (1).
(2) The directions of the Board under sub-section (1) may authorise any other income-tax authority to issue orders in writing for the exercise of the powers and performance of the functions by all or any of the other income-tax authorities who are subordinate to it.
(3) In issuing the directions or orders referred to in sub-sections (1) and (2), the Board or other income-tax authority authorised by it may have regard to any one or more of the following criteria, namely :—
(a)territorial area;
(b)persons or classes of persons;
(c)incomes or classes of income; and
(d)cases or classes of cases.
(4) Without prejudice to the provisions of sub-sections (1) and (2), the Board may, by general or special order, and subject to such conditions, restrictions or limitations as may be specified therein,—
(a)authorise any Principal Director General or Director General or Principal Director or Director to perform such functions of any other income-tax authority as may be assigned to him by the Board;
(b)empower the Principal Director General or Director General or Principal Chief Commissioner or Chief Commissioner or Principal Commissioner or Commissioner to issue orders in writing that the powers and functions conferred on, or as the case may be, assigned to, the Assessing Officer by or under this Act in respect of any specified area or persons or classes of persons or incomes or classes of income or cases or classes of cases, shall be exercised or performed by an Additional Commissioner or an Additional Director or a Joint Commissioner or a Joint Director, and, where any order is made under this clause, references in any other provision of this Act, or in any rule made thereunder to the Assessing Officer shall be deemed to be references to such Additional Commissioner or Additional Director or Joint Commissioner or Joint Director by whom the powers and functions are to be exercised or performed under such order, and any provision of this Act requiring approval or sanction of the Joint Commissioner shall not apply.
(5) The directions and orders referred to in sub-sections (1) and (2) may, wherever considered necessary or appropriate for the proper management of the work, require two or more Assessing Officers (whether or not of the same class) to exercise and perform, concurrently, the powers and functions in respect of any area or persons or classes of persons or incomes or classes of income or cases or classes of cases; and, where such powers and functions are exercised and performed concurrently by the Assessing Officers of different classes, any authority lower in rank amongst them shall exercise the powers and perform the functions as any higher authority amongst them may direct, and, further, references in any other provision of this Act or in any rule made thereunder to the Assessing Officer shall be deemed to be references to such higher authority and any provision of this Act requiring approval or sanction of any such authority shall not apply.
(6) Notwithstanding anything contained in any direction or order issued under this section, or in section 124, the Board may, by notification in the Official Gazette, direct that for the purpose of furnishing of the return of income or the doing of any other act or thing under this Act or any rule made thereunder by any person or class of persons, the income-tax authority exercising and performing the powers and functions in relation to the said person or class of persons shall be such authority as may be specified in the notification.
121. Jurisdiction of Commissioners.
[Omitted by the Direct Tax Laws (Amendment) Act, 1987, w.e.f. 1-4-1988.]
121A. Jurisdiction of Commissioners (Appeals).
[Omitted by the Direct Tax Laws (Amendment) Act, 1987, w.e.f. 1-4-1988. Original section was inserted by the Finance (No. 2) Act, 1977, w.e.f. 10-7-1978.]
122. Jurisdiction of Appellate Assistant Commissioners.
[Omitted by the Direct Tax Laws (Amendment) Act, 1987, w.e.f. 1-4-1988.]
123. Jurisdiction of Inspecting Assistant Commissioners.
[Omitted by the Direct Tax Laws (Amendment) Act, 1987, w.e.f. 1-4-1988.]
124. Jurisdiction of Assessing Officers.
(1) Where by virtue of any direction or order issued under sub- section (1) or sub-section (2) of section 120, the Assessing Officer has been vested with jurisdiction over any area, within the limits of such area, he shall have jurisdiction—
(a)in respect of any person carrying on a business or profession, if the place at which he carries on his business or profession is situate within the area, or where his business or profession is carried on in more places than one, if the principal place of his business or profession is situate within the area, and
(b)in respect of any other person residing within the area.
(2) Where a question arises under this section as to whether an Assessing Officer has jurisdiction to assess any person, the question shall be determined by the Principal Director General or Director General or the Principal Chief Commissioner or Chief Commissioner or the Principal Commissioner or Commissioner; or where the question is one relating to areas within the jurisdiction of different Principal Directors General or Directors General or Principal Chief Commissioners or Chief Commissioners or Principal Commissioners or Commissioners, by the Principal Directors General or Directors General or Principal Chief Commissioners or Chief Commissioners or Principal Commissioners or Commissioners concerned or, if they are not in agreement, by the Board or by such Principal Director General or Director General or Principal Chief Commissioner or Chief Commissioner or Principal Commissioner or Commissioner as the Board may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify.
(3) No person shall be entitled to call in question the jurisdiction of an Assessing Officer—
(a)where he has made a return under sub-section (1) of section 115WD or under sub-section (1) of section 139, after the expiry of one month from the date on which he was served with a notice under sub-section (1) of section 142 or sub-section (2) of section 115WE or sub-section (2) of section 143 or after the completion of the assessment, whichever is earlier;
(b)where he has made no such return, after the expiry of the time allowed by the notice under sub-section (2) of section 115WD or sub-section (1) of section 142 or under sub-section (1) of section 115WH or under section 148 for the making of the return or by the notice under the first proviso to section 115WF or under the first proviso to section 144 to show cause why the assessment should not be completed to the best of the judgment of the Assessing Officer, whichever is earlier;
15[(c) where an action has been taken under section 132 or section 132A, after the expiry of one month from the date on which he was served with a notice under sub-section (1) of section 153A or sub-section (2) of section 153C or after the completion of the assessment, whichever is earlier.]
(4) Subject to the provisions of sub-section (3), where an assessee calls in question the jurisdiction of an Assessing Officer, then the Assessing Officer shall, if not satisfied with the correctness of the claim, refer the matter for determination under sub-section (2) before the assessment is made.
(5) Notwithstanding anything contained in this section or in any direction or order issued under section 120, every Assessing Officer shall have all the powers conferred by or under this Act on an Assessing Officer in respect of the income accruing or arising or received within the area, if any, over which he has been vested with jurisdiction by virtue of the directions or orders issued under sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) of section 120.
125. Powers of Commissioner respecting specified areas, cases, persons, etc.
[Omitted by the Direct Tax Laws (Amendment) Act, 1987, w.e.f. 1-4-1988.]
125A. Concurrent jurisdiction of Inspecting Assistant Commissioner and Income-tax Officer.
[Omitted by the Direct Tax Laws (Amendment) Act, 1987, w.e.f. 1-4-1988. Original section was inserted by the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Act, 1975, w.e.f. 1-10-1975.]
126. Powers of Board respecting specified area, classes of persons or incomes.
[Omitted by the Direct Tax Laws (Amendment) Act, 1987, w.e.f. 1-4-1988.]
127. Power to transfer cases.
(1) The Principal Director General or Director General or Princi- pal Chief Commissioner or Chief Commissioner or Principal Commissioner or Commissioner may, after giving the assessee a reasonable opportunity of being heard in the matter, wherever it is possible to do so, and after recording his reasons for doing so, transfer any case from one or more Assessing Officers subordinate to him (whether with or without concurrent jurisdiction) to any other Assessing Officer or Assessing Officers (whether with or without concurrent jurisdiction) also subordinate to him.
(2) Where the Assessing Officer or Assessing Officers from whom the case is to be transferred and the Assessing Officer or Assessing Officers to whom the case is to be transferred are not subordinate to the same Principal Director General or Director General or Principal Chief Commissioner or Chief Commissioner or Principal Commissioner or Commissioner,—
(a)where the Principal Directors General or Directors General or Principal Chief Commissioners or Chief Commissioners or Principal Commissioners or Commissioners to whom such Assessing Officers are subordinate are in agreement, then the Principal Director General or Director General or Principal Chief Commissioner or Chief Commissioner or Principal Commissioner or Commissioner from whose jurisdiction the case is to be transferred may, after giving the assessee a reasonable opportunity of being heard in the matter, wherever it is possible to do so, and after recording his reasons for doing so, pass the order;
(b)where the Principal Directors General or Directors General or Principal Chief Commissioners or Chief Commissioners or Principal Commissioners or Commissioners aforesaid are not in agreement, the order transferring the case may, similarly, be passed by the Board or any such Principal Director General or Director General or Principal Chief Commissioner or Chief Commissioner or Principal Commissioner or Commissioner as the Board may, by notification in the Official Gazette, authorise in this behalf.
(3) Nothing in sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) shall be deemed to require any such opportunity to be given where the transfer is from any Assessing Officer or Assessing Officers (whether with or without concurrent jurisdiction) to any other Assessing Officer or Assessing Officers (whether with or without concurrent jurisdiction) and the offices of all such officers are situated in the same city, locality or place.
(4) The transfer of a case under sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) may be made at any stage of the proceedings, and shall not render necessary the re-issue of any notice already issued by the Assessing Officer or Assessing Officers from whom the case is transferred.
Explanation.—In section 120 and this section, the word “case”, in relation to any person whose name is specified in any order or direction issued thereunder, means all proceedings under this Act in respect of any year which may be pending on the date of such order or direction or which may have been completed on or before such date, and includes also all proceedings under this Act which may be commenced after the date of such order or direction in respect of any year.
128. Functions of Inspectors of Income-tax.
[Omitted by the Direct Tax Laws (Amendment) Act, 1987, w.e.f. 1-4-1988.]
129. Change of incumbent of an office.
Whenever in respect of any proceeding under this Act an income- tax authority ceases to exercise jurisdiction and is succeeded by another who has and exercises jurisdiction, the income-tax authority so succeeding may continue the proceeding from the stage at which the proceeding was left by his predecessor :
Provided that the assessee concerned may demand that before the proceeding is so continued the previous proceeding or any part thereof be reopened or that before any order of assessment is passed against him, he be reheard.
130. Commissioner competent to perform any function or functions.
[Omitted by the Direct Tax Laws (Amendment) Act, 1987, w.e.f. 1-4-1988.]
130A. Income-tax Officer competent to perform any function or functions.
[Omitted by the Direct Tax Laws (Amendment) Act, 1987, w.e.f. 1-4-1988. Original section was inserted by the Finance (No. 2) Act, 1967, w.e.f. 1-4-1967.]

C.—Powers

131. Power regarding discovery, production of evidence, etc.
(1) The Assessing Officer, Deputy Commissioner (Appeals), Joint Commissioner, Commissioner (Appeals), Principal Chief Commissioner or Chief Commissioner or Principal Commissioner or Commissioner and the Dispute Resolution Panel referred to in clause (a) of sub-section (15) of section 144C shall, for the purposes of this Act, have the same powers as are vested in a court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908), when trying a suit in respect of the following matters, namely :—
(a) discovery and inspection;
(b) enforcing the attendance of any person, including any officer of a banking company and examining him on oath;
(c) compelling the production of books of account and other documents; and
(d) issuing commissions.
(1A) If the Principal Director General or Director General or Principal Director or Director or Joint Director or Assistant Director or Deputy Director, or the authorised officer referred to in sub-section (1) of section 132 before he takes action under clauses (i) to (v) of that sub-section, has reason to suspect that any income has been concealed, or is likely to be concealed, by any person or class of persons, within his jurisdiction, then, for the purposes of making any enquiry or investigation relating thereto, it shall be competent for him to exercise the powers conferred under sub-section (1) on the income-tax authorities referred to in that sub-section, notwithstanding that no proceedings with respect to such person or class of persons are pending before him or any other income-tax authority.
(2) For the purpose of making an inquiry or investigation in respect of any person or class of persons in relation to an agreement referred to in section 90 or section 90A, it shall be competent for any income-tax authority not below the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Income-tax, as may be notified by the Board in this behalf, to exercise the powers conferred under sub-section (1) on the income-tax authorities referred to in that sub-section, notwithstanding that no proceedings with respect to such person or class of persons are pending before it or any other income-tax authority.
(3) Subject to any rules made in this behalf, any authority referred to in sub-section (1) or sub-section (1A) or sub-section (2) may impound and retain in its custody for such period as it thinks fit any books of account or other documents produced before it in any proceeding under this Act :
Provided that an Assessing Officer or an Assistant Director or Deputy Director shall not—
(a)impound any books of account or other documents without recording his reasons for so doing, or
(b)retain in his custody any such books or documents for a period exceeding fifteen days (exclusive of holidays) without obtaining the approval of the Principal Chief Commissioner or Chief Commissioner or Principal Director General or Director General or Principal Commissioner or Commissioner or Principal Director or Director therefor, as the case may be.
132. Search and seizure.
(1) Where the Principal Director General or Director General or Principal Director or Director or the Principal Chief Commissioner or Chief Commissioner or Principal Commissioner or Commissioner or Additional Director or Additional Commissioner or Joint Director or Joint Commissioner in consequence of information in his possession, has reason to believe that—
(a) any person to whom a summons under sub-section (1) of section 37 of the Indian Income-tax Act, 1922 (11 of 1922), or under sub-section (1) of section 131 of this Act, or a notice under sub-section (4) of section 22 of the Indian Income-tax Act, 1922, or under sub-section (1) of section 142 of this Act was issued to produce, or cause to be produced, any books of account or other documents has omitted or failed to produce, or cause to be produced, such books of account or other documents as required by such summons or notice, or
(b) any person to whom a summons or notice as aforesaid has been or might be issued will not, or would not, produce or cause to be produced, any books of account or other documents which will be useful for, or relevant to, any proceeding under the Indian Income-tax Act, 1922 (11 of 1922), or under this Act, or
(c) any person is in possession of any money, bullion, jewellery or other valuable article or thing and such money, bullion, jewellery or other valuable article or thing represents either wholly or partly income or property which has not been, or would not be, disclosed for the purposes of the Indian Income-tax Act, 1922 (11 of 1922), or this Act (hereinafter in this section referred to as the undisclosed income or property),
then,—
(A) the Principal Director General or Director General or Principal Director or Director or the Principal Chief Commissioner or Chief Commissioner or Principal Commissioner or Commissioner, as the case may be, may authorise any Additional Director or Additional Commissioner or Joint Director, Joint Commissioner, Assistant Director or Deputy Director, Assistant Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner or Income-tax Officer, or
(B) such Additional Director or Additional Commissioner or Joint Director, or Joint Commissioner, as the case may be, may authorise any Assistant Director or Deputy Director, Assistant Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner or Income-tax Officer,
(the officer so authorised in all cases being hereinafter referred to as the authorised officer) to—
(i) enter and search any building, place, vessel, vehicle or aircraft where he has reason to suspect that such books of account, other documents, money, bullion, jewellery or other valuable article or thing are kept;
(ii) break open the lock of any door, box, locker, safe, almirah or other receptacle for exercising the powers conferred by clause (i) where the keys thereof are not available;
(iia) search any person who has got out of, or is about to get into, or is in, the building, place, vessel, vehicle or aircraft, if the authorised officer has reason to suspect that such person has secreted about his person any such books of account, other documents, money, bullion, jewellery or other valuable article or thing;
(iib) require any person who is found to be in possession or control of any books of account or other documents maintained in the form of electronic record as defined in clause (t) of sub-section (1) of section 2 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 (21 of 2000), to afford the authorised officer the necessary facility to inspect such books of account or other documents;
(iii) seize any such books of account, other documents, money, bullion, jewellery or other valuable article or thing found as a result of such search:
Provided that bullion, jewellery or other valuable article or thing, being stock-in-trade of the business, found as a result of such search shall not be seized but the authorised officer shall make a note or inventory of such stock-in-trade of the business;
(iv) place marks of identification on any books of account or other documents or make or cause to be made extracts or copies therefrom;
(v) make a note or an inventory of any such money, bullion, jewellery or other valuable article or thing :
Provided that where any building, place, vessel, vehicle or aircraft referred to in clause (i) is within the area of jurisdiction of any Principal Chief Commissioner or Chief Commissioner or Principal Commissioner or Commissioner, but such Principal Chief Commissioner or Chief Commissioner or Principal Commissioner or Commissioner has no jurisdiction over the person referred to in clause (a) or clause (b) or clause (c), then, notwithstanding anything contained in section 120, it shall be competent for him to exercise the powers under this sub-section in all cases where he has reason to believe that any delay in getting the authorisation from the Principal Chief Commissioner or Chief Commissioner or Principal Commissioner or Commissioner having jurisdiction over such person may be prejudicial to the interests of the revenue :
Provided further that where it is not possible or practicable to take physical possession of any valuable article or thing and remove it to a safe place due to its volume, weight or other physical characteristics or due to its being of a dangerous nature, the authorised officer may serve an order on the owner or the person who is in immediate possession or control thereof that he shall not remove, part with or otherwise deal with it, except with the previous permission of such authorised officer and such action of the authorised officer shall be deemed to be seizure of such valuable article or thing under clause (iii):
Provided also that nothing contained in the second proviso shall apply in case of any valuable article or thing, being stock-in-trade of the business:
Provided also that no authorisation shall be issued by the Additional Director or Additional Commissioner or Joint Director or Joint Commissioner on or after the 1st day of October, 2009 unless he has been empowered by the Board to do so.
18[Explanation.—For the removal of doubts, it is hereby declared that the reason to believe, as recorded by the income-tax authority under this sub-section, shall not be disclosed to any person or any authority or the Appellate Tribunal.]
(1A) Where any Principal Chief Commissioner or Chief Commissioner or Principal Commissioner or Commissioner, in consequence of information in his possession, has reason to suspect that any books of account, other documents, money, bullion, jewellery or other valuable article or thing in respect of which an officer has been authorised by the Principal Director General or Director General or Principal Director or Director or any other Principal Chief Commissioner or Chief Commissioner or Principal Commissioner or Commissioner or Additional Director or Additional Commissioner or Joint Director or Joint Commissioner to take action under clauses (i) to (v) of sub-section (1) are or is kept in any building, place, vessel, vehicle or aircraft not mentioned in the authorisation under sub-section (1), such Principal Chief Commissioner or Chief Commissioner or Principal Commissioner or Commissioner may, notwithstanding anything contained in section 120, authorise the said officer to take action under any of the clauses aforesaid in respect of such building, place, vessel, vehicle or aircraft.
19[Explanation.—For the removal of doubts, it is hereby declared that the reason to suspect, as recorded by the income-tax authority under this sub-section, shall not be disclosed to any person or any authority or the Appellate Tribunal.]
(2) The authorised officer may requisition the services of any police officer or of any officer of the Central Government, or of both, to assist him for all or any of the purposes specified in sub-section (1) or sub-section (1A) and it shall be the duty of every such officer to comply with such requisition.
(3) The authorised officer may, where it is not practicable to seize any such books of account, other documents, money, bullion, jewellery or other valuable article or thing, for reasons other than those mentioned in the second proviso to sub-section (1), serve an order on the owner or the person who is in immediate possession or control thereof that he shall not remove, part with or otherwise deal with it except with the previous permission of such officer and such officer may take such steps as may be necessary for ensuring compliance with this sub-section.
Explanation.—For the removal of doubts, it is hereby declared that serving of an order as aforesaid under this sub-section shall not be deemed to be seizure of such books of account, other documents, money, bullion, jewellery or other valuable article or thing under clause (iii) of sub-section (1).
(4) The authorised officer may, during the course of the search or seizure, examine on oath any person who is found to be in possession or control of any books of account, documents, money, bullion, jewellery or other valuable article or thing and any statement made by such person during such examination may thereafter be used in evidence in any proceeding under the Indian Income-tax Act, 1922 (11 of 1922), or under this Act.
Explanation.—For the removal of doubts, it is hereby declared that the examination of any person under this sub-section may be not merely in respect of any books of account, other documents or assets found as a result of the search, but also in respect of all matters relevant for the purposes of any investigation connected with any proceeding under the Indian Income-tax Act, 1922 (11 of 1922), or under this Act.
(4A) Where any books of account, other documents, money, bullion, jewellery or other valuable article or thing are or is found in the possession or control of any person in the course of a search, it may be presumed—
(i) that such books of account, other documents, money, bullion, jewellery or other valuable article or thing belong or belongs to such person;
(ii) that the contents of such books of account and other documents are true ; and
(iii) that the signature and every other part of such books of account and other documents which purport to be in the handwriting of any particular person or which may reasonably be assumed to have been signed by, or to be in the handwriting of, any particular person, are in that person’s handwriting, and in the case of a document stamped, executed or attested, that it was duly stamped and executed or attested by the person by whom it purports to have been so executed or attested.
(5) [***]
(6) [***]
(7) [***]
(8) The books of account or other documents seized under sub-section (1) or sub-section (1A) shall not be retained by the authorised officer for a period exceeding thirty days from the date of the order of assessment under section 153A or clause (c) of section 158BC unless the reasons for retaining the same are recorded by him in writing and the approval of the Principal Chief Commissioner or Chief Commissioner, Principal Commissioner or Commissioner, Principal Director General or Director General or Principal Director or Director for such retention is obtained :
Provided that the Principal Chief Commissioner or Chief Commissioner, Principal Commissioner or Commissioner, Principal Director General or Director General or Principal Director or Director shall not authorise the retention of the books of account and other documents for a period exceeding thirty days after all the proceedings under the Indian Income-tax Act, 1922 (11 of 1922), or this Act in respect of the years for which the books of account or other documents are relevant are completed.
(8A) An order under sub-section (3) shall not be in force for a period exceeding sixty days from the date of the order.
(9) The person from whose custody any books of account or other documents are seized under sub-section (1) or sub-section (1A) may make copies thereof, or take extracts therefrom, in the presence of the authorised officer or any other person empowered by him in this behalf, at such place and time as the authorised officer may appoint in this behalf.
(9A) Where the authorised officer has no jurisdiction over the person referred to in clause (a) or clause (b) or clause (c) of sub-section (1), the books of account or other documents, or any money, bullion, jewellery or other valuable article or thing (hereafter in this section and in sections 132A and 132B referred to as the assets) seized under that sub-section shall be handed over by the authorised officer to the Assessing Officer having jurisdiction over such person within a period of sixty days from the date on which the last of the authorisations for search was executed and thereupon the powers exercisable by the authorised officer under sub-section (8) or sub-section (9) shall be exercisable by such Assessing Officer.
20[(9B) Where, during the course of the search or seizure or within a period of sixty days from the date on which the last of the authorisations for search was executed, the authorised officer, for reasons to be recor-ded in writing, is satisfied that for the purpose of protecting the interest of revenue, it is necessary so to do, he may with the previous approval of the Principal Director General or Director General or the Princi-pal Director or Director, by order in writing, attach provisionally any property belonging to the assessee, and for the said purpose, the provisions of the Second Schedule shall, mutatis mutandis, apply.
(9C) Every provisional attachment made under sub-section (9B) shall cease to have effect after the expiry of a period of six months from the date of the order referred to in sub-section (9B).
(9D) The authorised officer may, during the course of the search or seizure or within a period of sixty days from the date on which the last of the authorisations for search was executed, make a reference to a Valuation Officer referred to in section 142A, who shall estimate the fair market value of the property in the manner provided under that section and submit a report of the estimate to the said officer within a period of sixty days from the date of receipt of such reference.]
(10) If a person legally entitled to the books of account or other documents seized under sub-section (1) or sub-section (1A) objects for any reason to the approval given by the Principal Chief Commissioner or Chief Commissioner, Principal Commissioner or Commissioner, Principal Director General or Director General or Principal Director or Director under sub-section (8), he may make an application to the Board stating therein the reasons for such objection and requesting for the return of the books of account or other documents and the Board may, after giving the applicant an opportunity of being heard, pass such orders as it thinks fit.
(11) [***]
(11A) [***]
(12) [***]
(13) The provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), relating to searches and seizure shall apply, so far as may be, to searches and seizure under sub-section (1) or sub-section (1A).
21(14) The Board may make rules in relation to any search or seizure under this section ; in particular, and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing power, such rules may provide for the procedure to be followed by the authorised officer—
(i) for obtaining ingress into any building, place, vessel, vehicle or aircraft to be searched where free ingress thereto is not available ;
(ii) for ensuring safe custody of any books of account or other documents or assets seized.
22[Explanation 1.—For the purposes of sub-sections (9A), (9B) and (9D), with respect to “execution of an authorisation for search”, the provisions of sub-section (2) of section 153B shall apply.]
Explanation 2.—In this section, the word “proceeding” means any proceeding in respect of any year, whether under the Indian Income-tax Act, 1922 (11 of 1922), or this Act, which may be pending on the date on which a search is authorised under this section or which may have been completed on or before such date and includes also all proceedings under this Act which may be commenced after such date in respect of any year.
132A. Powers to requisition books of account, etc.
23(1) Where the Principal Director General or Director General or Principal Director or Director or the Principal Chief Commissioner or Chief Commissioner or Principal Commissioner or Commissioner, in consequence of information in his possession, has reason to believe that—
(a) any person to whom a summons under sub-section (1) of section 37 of the Indian Income-tax Act, 1922 (11 of 1922), or under sub-section (1) of section 131 of this Act, or a notice under sub-section (4) of section 22 of the Indian Income-tax Act, 1922, or under sub-section (1) of section 142 of this Act was issued to produce, or cause to be produced, any books of account or other documents has omitted or failed to produce, or cause to be produced, such books of account or other documents, as required by such summons or notice and the said books of account or other documents have been taken into custody by any officer or authority under any other law for the time being in force, or
(b) any books of account or other documents will be useful for, or relevant to, any proceeding under the Indian Income-tax Act, 1922 (11 of 1922), or under this Act and any person to whom a summons or notice as aforesaid has been or might be issued will not, or would not, produce or cause to be produced, such books of account or other documents on the return of such books of account or other documents by any officer or authority by whom or which such books of account or other documents have been taken into custody under any other law for the time being in force, or
(c) any assets represent either wholly or partly income or property which has not been, or would not have been, disclosed for the purposes of the Indian Income-tax Act, 1922 (11 of 1922), or this Act by any person from whose possession or control such assets have been taken into custody by any officer or authority under any other law for the time being in force,
then, the Principal Director General or Director General or Principal Director or Director or the Principal Chief Commissioner or Chief Commissioner or Principal Commissioner or Commissioner may authorise any Additional Director, Additional Commissioner, Joint Director, Joint Commissioner, Assistant Director or Deputy Director, Assistant Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner or Income-tax Officer (hereafter in this section and in sub-section (2) of section 278D referred to as the requisitioning officer) to require the officer or authority referred to in clause (a) or clause (b) or clause (c), as the case may be, to deliver such books of account, other documents or assets to the requisitioning officer.
24[Explanation.—For the removal of doubts, it is hereby declared that the reason to believe, as recorded by the income-tax authority under this sub-section, shall not be disclosed to any person or any authority or the Appellate Tribunal.]
(2) On a requisition being made under sub-section (1), the officer or authority referred to in clause (a) or clause (b) or clause (c), as the case may be, of that sub-section shall deliver the books of account, other documents or assets to the requisitioning officer either forthwith or when such officer or authority is of the opinion that it is no longer necessary to retain the same in his or its custody.
(3) Where any books of account, other documents or assets have been delivered to the requisitioning officer, the provisions of sub-sections (4A) to (14) (both inclusive) of section 132 and section 132B shall, so far as may be, apply as if such books of account, other documents or assets had been seized under sub-section (1) of section 132 by the requisitioning officer from the custody of the person referred to in clause (a) or clause (b) or clause (c), as the case may be, of sub-section (1) of this section and as if for the words “the authorised officer” occurring in any of the aforesaid sub-sections (4A) to (14), the words “the requisitioning officer” were substituted.
132B. Application of seized or requisitioned assets.
(1) The assets seized under section 132 or requisitioned under section 132A may be dealt with in the following manner, namely:—
(i) the amount of any existing liability under this Act, the Wealth-tax Act, 1957 (27 of 1957), the Expenditure-tax Act, 1987 (35 of 1987), the Gift-tax Act, 1958 (18 of 1958) and the Interest-tax Act, 1974 (45 of 1974), and the amount of the liability determined on completion of the assessment under section 153A and the assessment of the year relevant to the previous year in which search is initiated or requisition is made, or the amount of liability determined on completion of the assessment under Chapter XIV-B for the block period, as the case may be (including any penalty levied or interest payable in connection with such assessment) and in respect of which such person is in default or is 25[deemed to be in default, or the amount of liability arising on an application made before the Settlement Commission under sub-section (1) of section 245C, may be recovered out of such assets] :
Provided that where the person concerned makes an application to the Assessing Officer within thirty days from the end of the month in which the asset was seized, for release of asset and the nature and source of acquisition of any such asset is explained to the satisfaction of the Assessing Officer, the amount of any existing liability referred to in this clause may be recovered out of such asset and the remaining portion, if any, of the asset may be released, with the prior approval of the Principal Chief Commissioner or Chief Commissioner or Principal Commissioner or Commissioner, to the person from whose custody the assets were seized:
Provided further that such asset or any portion thereof as is referred to in the first proviso shall be released within a period of one hundred and twenty days from the date on which the last of the authorisations for search under section 132 or for requisition under section 132A, as the case may be, was executed;
(ii) if the assets consist solely of money, or partly of money and partly of other assets, the Assessing Officer may apply such money in the discharge of the liabilities referred to in clause (i) and the assessee shall be discharged of such liability to the extent of the money so applied;
(iii) the assets other than money may also be applied for the discharge of any such liability referred to in clause (i) as remains undischarged and for this purpose such assets shall be deemed to be under distraint as if such distraint was effected by the Assessing Officer or, as the case may be, the Tax Recovery Officer under authorisation from the Principal Chief Commissioner or Chief Commissioner or Principal Commissioner or Commissioner under sub-section (5) of section 226 and the Assessing Officer or, as the case may be, the Tax Recovery Officer may recover the amount of such liabilities by the sale of such assets and such sale shall be effected in the manner laid down in the Third Schedule.
(2) Nothing contained in sub-section (1) shall preclude the recovery of the amount of liabilities aforesaid by any other mode laid down in this Act.
(3) Any assets or proceeds thereof which remain after the liabilities referred to in clause (i) of sub-section (1) are discharged shall be forthwith made over or paid to the persons from whose custody the assets were seized.
(4) (a) The Central Government shall pay simple interest at the rate of one-half per cent for every month or part of a month on the amount by which the aggregate amount of money seized under section 132 or requisitioned under section 132A, as reduced by the amount of money, if any, released under the first proviso to clause (i) of sub-section (1), and of the proceeds, if any, of the assets sold towards the discharge of the existing liability referred to in clause (i) of sub-section (1), exceeds the aggregate of the amount required to meet the liabilities referred to in clause (i) of sub-section (1) of this section.
(b) Such interest shall run from the date immediately following the expiry of the period of one hundred and twenty days from the date on which the last of the authorisations for search under section 132 or requisition under section 132A was executed to the date of completion of the assessment under section 153A or under Chapter XIV-B.
Explanation 1.—In this section,—
(i) “block period” shall have the meaning assigned to it in clause (a) of section 158B;
(ii) “execution of an authorisation for search or requisition” shall have the same meaning as assigned to it in Explanation 2 to section 158BE.
Explanation 2.—For the removal of doubts, it is hereby declared that the “existing liability” does not include advance tax payable in accordance with the provisions of Part C of Chapter XVII.
133. Power to call for information.
The Assessing Officer, the Deputy Commissioner (Appeals), the Joint Commissioner or the Commissioner (Appeals) may, for the purposes of this Act,—
(1) require any firm to furnish him with a return of the names and addresses of the partners of the firm and their respective shares;
(2) require any Hindu undivided family to furnish him with a return of the names and addresses of the manager and the members of the family;
(3) require any person whom he has reason to believe to be a trustee, guardian or agent, to furnish him with a return of the names of the persons for or of whom he is trustee, guardian or agent, and of their addresses;
(4) require any assessee to furnish a statement of the names and addresses of all persons to whom he has paid in any previous year rent, interest, commission, royalty or brokerage, or any annuity, not being any annuity taxable under the head “Salaries” amounting to more than one thousand rupees, or such higher amount as may be prescribed, together with particulars of all such payments made;
(5) require any dealer, broker or agent or any person concerned in the management of a stock or commodity exchange to furnish a statement of the names and addresses of all persons to whom he or the exchange has paid any sum in connection with the transfer, whether by way of sale, exchange or otherwise, of assets, or on whose behalf or from whom he or the exchange has received any such sum, together with particulars of all such payments and receipts ;
(6) require any person, including a banking company or any officer thereof, to furnish information in relation to such points or matters, or to furnish statements of accounts and affairs verified in the manner specified by the Assessing Officer, the Deputy Commissioner (Appeals), the Joint Commissioner or the Commissioner (Appeals), giving information in relation to such points or matters as, in the opinion of the Assessing Officer, the Deputy Commissioner (Appeals), the Joint Commissioner or the Commissioner (Appeals), will be useful for, or relevant to, any enquiry or proceeding under this Act :
Provided that the powers referred to in clause (6), may also be exercised by the Principal Director General or Director-General, the Principal Chief Commissioner or Chief Commissioner, the Principal Director or Director 26[or the Principal Commissioner or Commissioner or the Joint Director or Deputy Director or Assistant Director]:
Provided further that the power in respect of an inquiry, in a case where no proceeding is pending, shall not be exercised by any income-tax authority below the rank of Principal Director or Director or Principal Commissioner or Commissioner 27[, other than the Joint Director or Deputy Director or Assistant Director,] without the prior approval of the Principal Director or Director or, as the case may be, the Principal Commissioner or Commissioner:
Provided also that for the purposes of an agreement referred to in section 90 or section 90A, an income-tax authority notified under sub-section (2) of section 131 may exercise all the powers conferred under this section, notwithstanding that no proceedings are pending before it or any other income-tax authority.
133A. Power of survey.
(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in any other provision of this Act, an income-tax authority may enter—
(a) any place within the limits of the area assigned to him, or
(b) any place occupied by any person in respect of whom he exercises jurisdiction, or
(c) any place in respect of which he is authorised for the purposes of this section by such income-tax authority, who is assigned the area within which such place is situated or who exercises jurisdiction in respect of any person occupying such place,
28[at which a business or profession or an activity for charitable purpose is carried on, whether such place be the principal place or not of such business or profession or of such activity for charitable purpose, and require any proprietor, trustee, employee or any other person who may at that time and place be attending in any manner to, or helping in, the carrying on of such business or profession or such activity for charitable purpose—]
(i) to afford him the necessary facility to inspect such books of account or other documents as he may require and which may be available at such place,
(ii) to afford him the necessary facility to check or verify the cash, stock or other valuable article or thing which may be found therein, and
(iii) to furnish such information as he may require as to any matter which may be useful for, or relevant to, any proceeding under this Act.
Explanation.—For the purposes of this sub-section, a place where a business or profession 29[or activity for charitable purpose] is carried on shall also include any other place, whether any business or profession 29[or activity for charitable purpose] is carried on therein or not, in which the person carrying on the business or profession 29[or activity for charitable purpose] states that any of his books of account or other documents or any part of his cash or stock or other valuable article or thing relating to his business or profession 29[or activity for charitable purpose] are or is kept.
(2) An income-tax authority may enter any place of business or profession referred to in sub-section (1) only during the hours at which such place is open for the conduct of business or profession and, in the case of any other place, only after sunrise and before sunset.
(2A) Without prejudice to the provisions of sub-section (1), an income-tax authority acting under this sub-section may for the purpose of verifying that tax has been deducted or collected at source in accordance with the provisions under sub-heading B of Chapter XVII or under sub-heading BB of Chapter XVII, as the case may be, enter, after sunrise and before sunset, any office, or any other place where business or profession is carried on, within the limits of the area assigned to him, or any place in respect of which he is authorised for the purposes of this section by such income-tax authority who is assigned the area within which such place is situated, where books of account or documents are kept and require the deductor or the collector or any other person who may at that time and place be attending in any manner to such work,—
(i) to afford him the necessary facility to inspect such books of account or other documents as he may require and which may be available at such place, and
(ii) to furnish such information as he may require in relation to such matter.
(3) An income-tax authority acting under this section may,—
(i) if he so deems necessary, place marks of identification on the books of account or other documents inspected by him and make or cause to be made extracts or copies therefrom,
(ia)impound and retain in his custody for such period as he thinks fit any books of account or other documents inspected by him:
Provided that such income-tax authority shall not—
(a) impound any books of account or other documents except after recording his reasons for so doing; or
(b) retain in his custody any such books of account or other documents for a period exceeding fifteen days (exclusive of holidays) without obtaining the approval of the Principal Chief Commissioner or the Chief Commissioner or the Principal Director General or the Director General or the Principal Commissioner or the Commissioner or the Principal Director or the Director therefor, as the case may be,
(ii) make an inventory of any cash, stock or other valuable article or thing checked or verified by him,
(iii) record the statement of any person which may be useful for, or relevant to, any proceeding under this Act :
Provided that no action under clause (ia) or clause (ii) shall be taken by an income-tax authority acting under sub-section (2A).
(4) An income-tax authority acting under this section shall, on no account, remove or cause to be removed from the place wherein he has entered, any cash, stock or other valuable article or thing.
(5) Where, having regard to the nature and scale of expenditure incurred by an assessee, in connection with any function, ceremony or event, the income-tax authority is of the opinion that it is necessary or expedient so to do, he may, at any time after such function, ceremony or event, require the assessee by whom such expenditure has been incurred or any person who, in the opinion of the income-tax authority, is likely to possess information as respects the expenditure incurred, to furnish such information as he may require as to any matter which may be useful for, or relevant to, any proceeding under this Act and may have the statements of the assessee or any other person recorded and any statement so recorded may thereafter be used in evidence in any proceeding under this Act.
(6) If a person under this section is required to afford facility to the income-tax authority to inspect books of account or other documents or to check or verify any cash, stock or other valuable article or thing or to furnish any information or to have his statement recorded either refuses or evades to do so, the income-tax authority shall have all the powers under sub-section (1) of section 131 for enforcing compliance with the requirement made :
Provided that no action under sub-section (1) shall be taken by an Assistant Director or a Deputy Director or an Assessing Officer or a Tax Recovery Officer or an Inspector of Income-tax without obtaining the approval of the Joint Director or the Joint Commissioner, as the case may be.
Explanation.—In this section,—
(a) “income-tax authority” means a Principal Commissioner or Commissioner, a Joint Commissioner, a Principal Director or Director, a Joint Director, an Assistant Director or a Deputy Director or an Assessing Officer, or a Tax Recovery Officer, and for the purposes of clause (i) of sub-section (1), clause (i) of sub-section (3) and sub-section (5), includes an Inspector of Income-tax;
(b) “proceeding” means any proceeding under this Act in respect of any year which may be pending on the date on which the powers under this section are exercised or which may have been completed on or before such date and includes also all proceedings under this Act which may be commenced after such date in respect of any year.
133B. Power to collect certain information.
(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in any other provision of this Act, an income-tax authority may, for the purpose of collecting any information which may be useful for, or relevant to, the purposes of this Act, enter—
(a) any building or place within the limits of the area assigned to such authority ; or
(b) any building or place occupied by any person in respect of whom he exercises jurisdiction,
at which a business or profession is carried on, whether such place be the principal place or not of such business or profession, and require any proprietor, employee or any other person who may at that time and place be attending in any manner to, or helping in, the carrying on of such business or profession to furnish such information as may be prescribed30.
(2) An income-tax authority may enter any place of business or profession referred to in sub-section (1) only during the hours at which such place is open for the conduct of business or profession.
(3) For the removal of doubts, it is hereby declared that an income-tax authority acting under this section shall, on no account, remove or cause to be removed from the building or place wherein he has entered, any books of account or other documents or any cash, stock or other valuable article or thing.
Explanation.—In this section, “income-tax authority” means a Joint Commissioner, an Assistant Director or Deputy Director or an Assessing Officer, and includes an Inspector of Income-tax who has been authorised by the Assessing Officer to exercise the powers conferred under this section in relation to the area in respect of which the Assessing Officer exercises jurisdiction or part thereof.
133C. Power to call for information by prescribed income-tax authority.
31[(1)] The prescribed income-tax authority32 may, for the pur- poses of verification of information in its possession relating to any person, issue a notice to such person requiring him, on or before a date to be specified therein, to furnish information or documents verified in the manner specified therein, which may be useful for, or relevant to, any inquiry or proceeding under this Act.
33[(2) Where any information or document has been received in response to a notice issued under sub-section (1), the prescribed income-tax authority may process such information or document and make available the outcome of such processing to the Assessing Officer.]
34[(3) The Board may make a scheme for centralised issuance of notice and for processing of information or documents and making available the outcome of the processing to the Assessing Officer].
Explanation.—In this section, the term “proceeding” shall have the meaning assigned to it in clause (b) of the Explanation to section 133A.
134. Power to inspect registers of companies.
The Assessing Officer, the Deputy Commissioner (Appeals), the Joint Commissioner or the Commissioner (Appeals), or any person subordinate to him authorised in writing in this behalf by the Assessing Officer, the Deputy Commissioner (Appeals), the Joint Commissioner or the Commissioner (Appeals), may inspect, and if necessary, take copies, or cause copies to be taken, of any register of the members, debenture holders or mortgagees of any company or of any entry in such register.
135. Power ofPrincipal Director General or Director General or Principal Director or Director,Principal Chief Commissioner or Chief Commissioner or Principal Commissioner or Commissioner and Joint Commissioner.
The Principal Director General or Director General or Principal Director or Director, the Principal Chief Commissioner or Chief Commissioner or Principal Commissioner or Commissioner and the Joint Commissioner shall be competent to make any enquiry under this Act, and for this purpose shall have all the powers that an Assessing Officer has under this Act in relation to the making of enquiries.
136. Proceedings before income-tax authorities to be judicial proceedings.
Any proceeding under this Act before an income-tax authority shall be deemed to be a judicial proceeding within the meaning of sections 193 and 228 and for the purposes of section 196 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) and every income-tax authority shall be deemed to be a Civil Court for the purposes of section 195, but not for the purposes of Chapter XXVI of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974).

D.—Disclosure of information

137. Disclosure of information prohibited.
[Omitted by the Finance Act, 1964, w.e.f. 1-4-1964.]
138. Disclosure of information respecting assessees.
(1)(a) The Board or any other income-tax authority specified by it by a general or special order in this behalf may furnish or cause to be furnished to—
(i) any officer, authority or body performing any functions under any law relating to the imposition of any tax, duty or cess, or to dealings in foreign exchange as defined in clause (n) of section 2 of the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (42 of 1999); or
(ii) such officer, authority or body performing functions under any other law as the Central Government may, if in its opinion it is necessary so to do in the public interest, specify by notification in the Official Gazette in this behalf,
any such information received or obtained by any income-tax authority in the performance of his functions under this Act, as may, in the opinion of the Board or other income-tax authority, be necessary for the purpose of enabling the officer, authority or body to perform his or its functions under that law.
(b) Where a person makes an application to the Principal Chief Commissioner or Chief Commissioner or Principal Commissioner or Commissioner in the prescribed form35 for any information relating to any assessee received or obtained by any income-tax authority in the performance of his functions under this Act, the Principal Chief Commissioner or Chief Commissioner or Principal Commissioner or Commissioner may, if he is satisfied that it is in the public interest so to do, furnish or cause to be furnished the information asked for and his decision in this behalf shall be final and shall not be called in question in any court of law.
(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1) or any other law for the time being in force, the Central Government may, having regard to the practices and usages customary or any other relevant factors, by order notified in the Official Gazette, direct that no information or document shall be furnished or produced by a public servant in respect of such matters relating to such class of assessees or except to such authorities as may be specified in the order.

OFFICE TIMINGS
Monday to Saturday 10:00 am to 06:00 pm.
Sundays and Holidays Reserved for urgent & prior appointments.

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