Staff Reporter

“Income tax, wealth tax liabilities interrelated”

Discharge plea meant to protract proceedings

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court will pronounce orders on May 27 on All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam general secretary Jayalalithaa’s plea seeking to stay all further proceedings against her in a case under the Wealth Tax Act for the assessment year 1993–94.

Justice M. Venugopal, before whom the case came up on Wednesday, also reserved orders for that day on the admissibility of a criminal revision petition filed by her seeking to set aside an order of the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (Economic Offence – I) dated February 25, 2008, dismissing her petition to discharge her from the case.

Appearing on behalf of Ms. Jayalalithaa, advocate Guru Krishnakumar said on the date of filing the complaint she had deficit wealth and since liability exceeded total assets there was no need or necessity for her to file returns under the Wealth Tax Act. The counsel said under the Income Tax Act, there was a set of persons who have to file returns whether or not they had income but that was not the case under the Wealth Tax Act. Only if a person had assessable wealth did they have to file returns.

He said income tax and wealth tax liabilities were interrelated and since the income tax liabilities had not yet been finalised (appeals relating to income tax payable for the year 1993-94 were pending in court) there was no question of filing wealth tax returns.

Proceedings stayed

The Supreme Court has also stayed further proceedings in a case relating to a complaint against Ms. Jayalalithaa alleging non-filing of returns under the IT Act.

Advocate K. Ramasamy, who appeared on behalf of the prosecution, said the discharge petition was intended to protract proceedings and that the defence had no intention to conduct the case.

When Ms. Jayalalithaa had filed wealth tax returns for 1992-93, why had she not voluntarily filed returns for the assessment year 1993-94, he asked.