Any person can not be treated as principal officer without forming his connection with management & administration of Co.

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Any person can not be treated as principal officer without forming his connection with management & administration of Co.

Where neither in show cause notice nor in impugned order, connection of petitioner with management, and administration of company was established, Assessing Officer could not have named him as Principal Officer
[2019] 111 taxmann.com 210 (Karnataka), A. Harish Bhat v. Assistant Commissioner of Income-tax, TDS Circle 1(1), Bengaluru
MRS. S. SUJATHA, J. W.P. NO. 34252 OF 2018 OCTOBER  17, 2019
7. It is clear that to treat any person as a Principal Officer, such person should be connected with the management or administration of the local authority/company or association or body. Such connection with the management or administration is the basis for treating any person as a Principal Officer. Such connection has to be established or to be supported with substantial material to decide the connection of any person with the management or administration. Without disclosing the basis, no person can be treated as a ‘Principal Officer’ of the company recognising him as the Key Management Personnel of the company. The details of such information on the basis of which the Key Management Personnel tag is made, has to be explicitly expressed in the notice of the intention of treating any person as a Principal Officer by the Assessing Officer. Neither in the show cause notice nor in the order impugned, such connection of the petitioner with the management or administration of the company M/s Kingfisher Airlines Limited is established. The phrase ‘Key Management Personnel’ of the company has a wide connotation and the same has to be supported with certain material unless such connection is established, no notice served on the petitioner would empower the respondent Authority to treat the petitioner as a Principal Officer.
9. In the present case, the question inasmuch as neither service of notice nor hearing of the petitioner before treating the petitioner as a Principal Officer is involved. The fulcrum of dispute revolves around the aspect whether the petitioner is the person connected with the management or administration of the company. Such finding has to be supported by substantial material and has to be reflected in the notice issued under Section 2(35) of the Act to treat a person as a Principal Officer of the company which will have wider consequences. The said aspect is lacking in the present order impugned. Merely on surmises and conjectures, no person shall be treated as a Principal Officer.
10. Writ petition is allowed. The impugned order dated 18.06.2018 at Annexure – A is quashed. It is needless to observe that liberty is reserved to the Department to proceed in accordance with law.

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