Meaning of “False”

The meaning of false under section 158B to 158BG of the Income Tax Act is not defined in the act itself. But we can take guidance from decisions by various high courts. Here are excerpts of courts orders in which the Hon’ble High Court tried to explain the meaning of false.

meaning of false

Meaning of false defined by court

The phrase ‘false‘ used in section 158B to 158G of the Income Tax Act came up before hon’ble Kerala High Court in Medical Land Vs. CIT [2014] 45 TAXMANN.COM 488/363 ITR 81 (KER.) and it explained.

Meaning : The word ‘false’ has two distinct and well recognised meanings: (1) intentionally or knowingly or negligently untrue; (2) untrue by mistake or accident, or honestly after the exercise of reasonable care. In jurisprudence, ‘false’ and ‘falsely’ are often used to characterize a wrongful or criminal act, such as involving an error or untruth, intentionally or knowingly put forward. A thing is called ‘false’ when it is done, or made with knowledge, actual or constructive, that it is untrue or illegal, or is said to be done falsely when the meaning is that the party is in fault for its error.

The word ‘false’ sometimes connotes an intent to deceive. It will thus be seen that the word ‘false’ may be used in a wider or a narrower sense. In wider sense it will embrace all types of falsehoods whether they be intentional or innocent but in narrower sense it will cover only such falsehoods which are intentional. The question whether in a particular enactment the word ‘false’ is used in a restricted sense or in a wider sense would depend on the context in which it is used. In the absence of mens rea a dealer cannot be penalised for contravention of clause (b) of section 10.

Thus, the meaning of the word ‘false’ cannot be divorced from the context in which the word occurs and the statutory setting. A penalty provision in a taxing statute is distinguished from a provision creating an offence and the former does not involve the concept of mens rea.

Section 158B of Income Tax Act

Intimation of assessment of firm.

158. Whenever, in respect of the assessment year commencing on the 1st day of April, 1992, or any earlier assessment year, a registered firm is assessed, or an unregistered firm is assessed under the provisions of clause (b) of section 183, the Assessing Officer shall notify to the firm by an order in writing the amount of its total income assessed and the apportionment thereof between the several partners.

In this article, you can get guidance from high courts on the meaning of false under section 158B of the Income Tax Act.

Updated up to Finance Act 2021

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