A lady who failed to file a return on her income of Rs. 2 crores was sentenced to six months in prison by the Delhi High Court.

This case concerns a complaint that was submitted by the Income Tax Office (ITO), claiming that during the 2013–14 fiscal year, TDS (tax deducted at source) of Rs. 2 lakh was deducted from the accused’s revenue of Rs. 2 crore. Nevertheless, the accused failed to file an income tax return for the assessment year 2014–15. After reviewing the case’s facts and circumstances and hearing submissions, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Mayank Mittal sentenced Savitri.

In the ruling issued on March 4, ACMM Mittal stated, “The convict is awarded a sentence of simple imprisonment for six months with a fine of Rs 5,000 and in default to undergo simple imprisonment for one month.”

But after reviewing her appeal, the judge allowed her 30 days’ bail to contest the order. Arpit Batra, the Special Public Prosecutor (SPP), argued that the intent behind the provision—rather than the quantity of tax evaded—should be taken into consideration when sentencing a convicted individual.

Additionally, it was argued that the clause serves as a deterrent for those who owe taxes to ensure that they file their income returns on time and pay the appropriate taxes. Additionally, he argued that a significant fine and the maximum sentence of jail ought to be imposed on the guilty party.

On the other side, the convict’s attorney argued that the punishment should take into account the convict’s social circumstances, as well as their state when the crime was committed and the penalty was being imposed. It was stated that the prisoner is illiterate and a widow. The convict is the only member of the criminal’s family who can look after them.

The prosecution claims that the convict received a letter from the ITO on September 11, 2017, asking for confirmation of information regarding whether or not an income tax return was submitted for the assessment year 2014–15.

But the accused did not provide a response. The accused received a notification dated January 10, 2018, directing them to provide the assessment year 2014–15 return in accordance with Section 142(1) of The Income Tax Act, 1961 (IT Act).

Nonetheless, the accused did not comply. Subsequently, on January 22, 2018, the accused failed to file the return, and the ITO sent them a notice under Section 271F of the IT Act. The accused failed to respond to the notification.

Consequently, a ruling dated February 9, 2018, mandated that the accused make good on a Rs 5,000 penalty. The Principal Commissioner of Income Tax received a request for approval.

She was given a show-cause notice under Section 276CC of the IT Act prior to the imposition of a sanction. On March 18, 2018, the convict’s authorised representative filed a reply on her behalf.

The Principal Commissioner of Income Tax, New Delhi, issued a sanction order allowing the prosecution of the accused and instructed the Income Tax Officer to file the current complaint under Section 276CC read with 279 of the IT Act after taking the matter into consideration and providing the convicted party with ample opportunity.

In finding Savitri guilty on February 28, the court stated that the complainant had proven, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the accused had received notices from September 11, 2017, and January 10, 2018, under Section 142(1) of the Act, requiring the accused to file a return of income that, it was acknowledged, had not been filed.

The accused was also not permitted to present any evidence or facts in order to support their case in accordance with Section 276CC of the Act, the court ruled. Additionally, under Section 278E of the Act, the accused was not permitted to submit any evidence to refute the assumption of responsible mental condition.

Thus, in accordance with Section 276CC of The Act, the accused is found guilty of failing to file the income return for the assessment year 2014–15. Consequently, the accused is found guilty of a crime covered by Section 276CC of the Act,” the court declared in its ruling.