The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed a 16 May Delhi high court order saying that the 2016 black money law cannot be applied with retrospective effect.
The high court had on 16 May restrained the centre and the income tax (I-T) department from taking any action against AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam-accused Gautam Khaitan, who was booked under the black money Act.
The Supreme Court vacation bench, headed by Justice Arun Mishra and also including Justice M.R. Shah, issued a notice to Khaitan, asking him to reply within six weeks.
“The impugned order (of the high court) is stayed," the bench said. The centre had challenged the high court order before the apex court on Monday.
The high court had, in its interim order, set aside the centre’s notification to make the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act operational with effect from 1 July, 2015. Solicitor general Tushar Mehta, appearing for the government, had submitted that the high court had erred in staying the centre’s notification.
The Delhi high court had said that Parliament had enacted the law, which was to come into force on 1 April 2016 and as the date was expressly decided by Parliament, it could not be made applicable with retrospective effect by way of a notification.
The high court had also sought an explanation from the Centre as to how it gave retrospective effect and changed the date to July 2015 for the implementation of the black money law.
Delhi high court will hear the matter in July.
Khaitan, one of the accused in the ₹3,600-crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam, had challenged the legality of various provisions of the black money law.
Khaitan had also challenged the income tax department’s 22 January order granting sanction to lodge a criminal complaint against him under Section 51 of the Act (wilfully attempting to evade tax), which provides for a jail term of 3-10 years.
Khaitan had contended that the action that was being taken against him under the Act, was for assets that ceased to exist before the law came into force.
He had also sought a declaration that under the black money law, the assessing officer was “not entitled to charge tax on a foreign undisclosed asset, which ceased to exist prior to the Act coming into force,only on the ground that such asset came to the notice of the assessing officer after the Act came into force."