BAGRI FOUNDATION v. CHIEF COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX & ORS.
C.W. No. 1849 of 1998, decided on September 15, 1998.
HIGH COURT OF DELHI
K. C. Jain, for the Petitioner : R. D. Jolly with Ms. Prem Lata Bansal, for the Respondents
BY THE COURT :
The petitioner filed this petition seeking a mandamus to the respondents to issue refund vouchers for the amount of tax which was liable to be refunded to the petitioner and for which there was no dispute. The petitioner also sought for a direction to the respondents to pay interest which is statutorily liable to be paid by the respondents to the petitioner. During the pendency of this petition and after notice of the petition being served on the respondents, the requisite refund voucher has been issued and the main grievance, therefore, stands satisfied.
2. However, the petitioner has pressed for the costs of the petition being allowed to the petitioner inasmuch as the respondents failed to carry out their statutory obligation and the petitioner was driven to the necessity of filing this petition.
3. We cannot resist observing that in various cases it comes to the notice of the Court that writ jurisdiction of this Court is required to be invoked solely because of the callousness on the part of the staff entrusted with the responsibility of dealing with files in which refunds are to be made.
In our opinion, the present one is a fit case where the petitioner must be allowed costs.
4. Learned senior standing counsel for the respondents submitted that inasmuch as the tax has been refunded along with interest the costs may not be awarded. We are not impressed. Interest is now a statutory obligation under the IT Act. It compensates the petitioner for delay in refund but does not compensate the petitioner for the expenses incurred in coming to the Court.
5. The petition be treated as disposed of as the principal grievance of the petitioner has been satisfied. However, the respondents are directed to pay costs quantified at Rs. 5,000 to the petitioner. The respondents would be at liberty to fix the responsibility on the official who has been responsible for the delay and recover the costs from him, if so advised.
The petition is disposed of.