SC to hear Sonia, Rahul tax case over ‘Young India’ in March

The Supreme Court on Monday scheduled for March 17 the final hearing on the appeals filed Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi challenging the Delhi High Court order, which allowed the re-assessment of their income tax for 2011-12, in connection with the National Herald case.

A bench of justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Hrishikesh Roy observed that certain proceedings are also pending before the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) and, therefore, it would wait for the outcome till March 17.

Senior advocate P. Chidambaram, representing the Gandhis, contended that while the ITAT had delivered the verdict on the issue, it had, however, not dealt with as many as six issues connected with the matter. He submitted before the court that the parties had already moved the ITAT seeking adjudication on these issues, and the next hearing is slated on February 28.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Income Tax (IT) Department, said that this court had said last year that, irrespective of the proceedings at the tribunal, the proceedings in the apex court would go forward.

The ITAT had upheld the withdrawal of IT exemption to Young Indian, an entity controlled by the Gandhis, saying it cannot be described as a charitable organization.

An appeal to restore the exemption from income tax was made by Young Indian before the ITAT, but it was dismissed.

The apex court noted that final order of the ITAT may impact the present case, and under these circumstances, the court should wait for the final outcome.

The court, however, noted that even if the tribunal fails to adjudicate the pending issues by March 17, then it may go ahead with the hearing on the case.

In April 2019, the apex court granted liberty to the Gandhis and others to move ITAT for a speedy hearing on the pending appeal against the retrospective cancellation of registration under the I-T Act granted to Young Indian.