NewsClick to move ITAT against tax demand; withdraws plea before Supreme Court

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The top court was informed today that as the IT department had passed a final order regarding the notices in question, the news portal would now be approaching the tribunal for relief.

NewsClick today withdrew its plea before the Supreme Court seeking a stay on the income tax demand.

The online news portal would now be approaching the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal for relief.

A bench of Justices BV Nagarathna and Augustine George Masih has accordingly asked ITAT to proceed hearing the matter including applications for early hearing and interim relief in accordance with law.

Supreme Court of India had in January 2024 issued notice in the plea by NewsClick filed against a recent Delhi High Court order rejecting the online news portal's plea. 

In an order issued on November 29, 2023, a division bench of the High Court comprising Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Mini Pushkarna had stated that NewsClick had substantial explanations to provide regarding its financial transactions, as highlighted in the assessing officer's order.

The bench concluded that NewsClick failed to establish a prima facie case in its favor. The court's order read, "Keeping in view the aforesaid findings, this Court is of the view that the petitioner has not been able to make out a prima facie case in its favor. To put it mildly, the petitioner has a 'lot to answer' in the appeal… Accordingly, the writ petition is dismissed."

NewsClick had approached the high court challenging orders dated November 3, 2023, and February 20, 2023, passed by the Income Tax Department. These orders rejected NewsClick's application for a stay of demand during the appeal against the assessment order dated December 30, 2022. NewsClick also sought a stay of demand during the appeal before the Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeals).

A division bench of the Supreme Court had earlier issued notice in the plea by NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha and HR department head Amit Chakraborty challenging the Delhi High Court's recent dismissal of their plea againts arrests made in a UAPA case.

A single judge bench of Justice Tushar Rao Gedela of the Delhi High Court on Friday, October 13, had "dismissedthe pleas filed challenging the arrest of Purkayastha and Chakraborty.

SGI Mehta had contended that huge sum of Rs. 75 crore came from a person in Chinaand the purpose was to ensure that the stability and integrity of the country were compromised.

Case Title: PPK Newsclick Studios Pvt Ltd vs. Principal Chief Commissioner of Income Tax Central Delhi and Anr.