Delhi High Court stays I-T proceedings against NGO Oxfam India

The court issued a notice to the Income Tax Department and sought its response to a petition filed by the NGO, challenging the notices and order issued against it.

August 13, 2023 10:36 pm | Updated August 14, 2023 02:10 am IST - New Delhi

A video grab taken from Oxfam India website.

A video grab taken from Oxfam India website.

The Delhi High Court has stayed the income tax reassessment proceedings against NGO Oxfam India.

The court issued a notice to the Income Tax (I-T) Department and sought its response to a petition filed by the NGO, challenging the notices and order issued against it.

According to records, a survey was conducted on the NGO on September 7, 2022, which led to the initiation of the reassessment proceedings for the year 2016-17 and a notice was issued to Oxfam on March 29 this year.

"A counter affidavit will be filed within the next six weeks. Rejoinder thereto, if any, will be filed at least five days before the next date of hearing. List the matter on November 22, 2023," a Bench of Justices Rajiv Shakdher and Girish Kathpalia said.

"In the meanwhile, there shall be a stay on the continuation of the reassessment proceeding, till further directions of the court,” it said.

A notice was issued to the NGO on March 29 under the provisions of the I-T Act which triggered the reassessment proceedings against the petitioner on the grounds that the petitioner was allegedly engaged in litigation activities that were violative of Section 8(1) of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA).

Also, it had allegedly received suspicious contributions from foreign nationals and that it failed to recognise as revenue ₹15.09 crore received as advances against future projects.

The counsel for the NGO contended that the authorities did not share the survey report with the petitioner and the proceedings initiated against it were barred by limitation.

The petitioner said the charge levelled against it that it has received contributions from foreign nationals which were suspicious is misconceived as the details and names of contributors were provided.

It said that the Assessing Officer's (AO) assertion that ₹15.09 crore should have been recognised as income is completely misconceived, as these were advances that had to be utilised for future objects and therefore were not the income that arose in the period in question.

The counsel for the I-T Department submitted that the petitioner NGO’s FCRA licence has run into rough weather and that the petitioner is fighting for its right in this court before another bench.

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