ITAT absolves Cyrus Mistry in Tata Trust case
The Mumbai bench of the income tax appellate tribunal (ITAT) has retracted the critical remarks it made on Cyrus Mistry in its recent order that had restored the tax-exempt status of three key Tata Trusts. The tribunal issued a corrigendum on Wednesday to its December 28 order saying “the critical remarks were due to a typo”.
The corrigendum issued by president of the tribunal P. P. Bhatt and vice-president Pramod Kumar clarified the first order made certain “inadvertent references to Mistry because of a few typo errors’’.
In its observations on Mistry, the tribunal said one fact that it had inadvertently missed out was that the information furnished by the former chairman of Tata Sons was in response to a notice from the assessing officer.
“The above corrections will have no impact on the outcome of the appeal and the outcome of the appeal remains the same,” the tribunal added.
The Mistry family has welcomed the suo motu retraction.
“We note that the income tax appellate tribunal has issued a corrigendum on its own, to correct the wild personal allegations made against Mistry that formed part of its December 28 order, in a proceeding where Mistry was not even a party,” the Mistry family said in a statement.
The ITAT had on December 28 upheld the tax-exempt status of Ratan Tata Trust, JRD Tata Trust and Dorabji Tata Trust, which owns 66 per cent of Tata Sons. It had said that the March 2019 I-T revision order cancelling tax exemption to these trusts was “devoid of any legally sustainable merits”.
The ITAT had said in its order that Mistry had sent material against the trusts to the tax department within eight weeks of his removal as Tata Sons chairman.
“The inputs from those engaged in a rivalry with an assessee should be taken with a reasonable degree of circumspection and should not be placed on such a high pedestal so as to relegate all other material facts and accepted past assessment history of the case into insignificance,” the tribunal had said in its order.
In its corrigendum the tribunal said “some inadvertent errors have crept in the order dated December 28… At page 60-61, certain observations were made about Mistry. One fact, which was inadvertently missed out was that the information furnished by Mistry was in response to a notice from assessing officer’’.
“The inputs from those engaged in a rivalry with an assessee ought to have been considered by the department with a reasonable degree of circumspection and should not be placed on such a high pedestal so as to relegate all other material facts and accepted past assessment history into insignificance.”