The Karnataka High Court has quashed the order passed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) freezing the bank accounts of Amnesty International India Private Limited. The Court said that as per Section 132(8A) of the Income Tax Act, 1961, the ED’s order would not be in force beyond 60 days.

A Single Bench of Justice K.S. Hemalekha held, “On perusal of the provisions of Section 132(8A) of the Act, it is evident that order under Sub-Section (3) of Section 132 of the Income Tax Act would not be in force beyond sixty days from the date of the order. In light of the provisions of Section 132 (8A), the impugned notices dated 25/10/2018 at Annexures-F1 and F2 have lost their efficacy by efflux of time as the period of sixty days has expired.”

The Bench in its recently uploaded judgment asserted that all the contentions are left open to be urged before the appropriate authority in accordance with the law.

Senior Advocate Ravivarma Kumar appeared on behalf of the petitioner while Senior CGS H. Jayakara Shetty appeared on behalf of the respondents.

In this case, the petitioner company was engaged in the business of rendering, research (primary and secondary) and consultancy services regarding human rights. It claimed before the Court that on October 25, 2018, without any notice to it, a search and seizure was conducted on its premises.

It further contended that several documents, agreements, and mobile phones were scrutinized and confiscated. Thereafter, its bank accounts were frozen by a Government Order without any notice to it.

The High Court after hearing the contentions of both parties observed, “In light of the order in Greenpeace India Society stated supra, confirmed in the Writ Appeal No.1090/2019 the questions involved therein is no more res integra.”

The Court noted that the orders passed by the authority are not sustainable.

Accordingly, the High Court allowed the writ petition and quashed the order of the ED.

Cause Title- Amnesty International India Private Limited v. Union of India & Anr.

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