New Delhi, July 23: The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a petition by the Income Tax Department challenging a Bombay High Court judgment that ordered it to refund Rs 833 crore to Vodafone Idea Ltd.
“We don’t see any reason to interfere in the matter,” the top court said in a short hearing, Bloomberg reported.
“The special leave petition is, accordingly, dismissed.” The high court, in its judgment last month, had ordered the department to refund the amount—tax refund for assessment year 2014-15—to the mobile operator in two weeks.
In April, the Supreme Court had in a larger tax dispute involving Rs 4,500 crore ordered the tax department to refund Rs 733 crore in four weeks for assessment year 2014-15. But the department, in a subsequent notice to Vodafone Idea, said the operator owed Rs 864 crore in tax dues for various assessment years between 2000-01 and 2018-19. And it proposed to the telecom operator that this refund be adjusted against other pending demands. In its May 28 order, the department said that after adjusting some of the earlier tax demands, the refund due to Vodafone Idea was Rs 833 crore on May 28. But the amount wasn’t released.
Vodafone Idea then moved the Bombay High Court seeking release of the amount. It contended that since the refund order was already passed, there’s no reason that it should be held back—an argument the high court agreed with.