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18A. Penalty for failure to answer questions, sign statements, furnish information, allow inspection, etc.

(1) If any person,—

(a)   being legally bound to state the truth of any matter touching the subject of his assessment, refuses to answer any question put to him by a wealth-tax authority in the exercise of his powers under this Act ; or
(b)   refuses to sign any statement made by him in the course of any proceedings under this Act, which a wealth-tax authority may legally require him to sign ; or
(c)   to whom a summons is issued under sub-section (1) of section 37 either to attend to give evidence or produce books of account or other documents at a certain place and time, omits to attend or produce the books of account or documents at the place and time,

he shall pay, by way of penalty, a sum which shall not be less than five hundred rupees but which may extend to ten thousand rupees for each such default or failure :

Provided that no penalty shall be imposable under clause (c) if the person proves that there was reasonable cause for the said failure.

(2) If a person fails to furnish in due time any statement or information which such person is bound to furnish to the Assessing Officer under section 38, he shall pay, by way of penalty, a sum which shall not be less than one hundred rupees but which may extend to two hundred rupees for every day during which the failure continues :

Provided that no penalty shall be imposable under this sub-section if the person proves that there was reasonable cause for the said failure.

(3) Any penalty imposable under sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) shall be imposed—

(a)   in a case where the contravention, failure or default in respect of which such penalty is imposable occurs in the course of any proceeding before a wealth-tax authority not lower in rank than a 62[Joint] Director or a 62[Joint]Commissioner, by such wealth-tax authority ;
(b)   in any other case, by the 62[Joint] Director or the 62[Joint] Commissioner.

(4) No order under this section shall be passed by any wealth-tax authority referred to in sub-section (3) unless the person on whom the penalty is proposed to be imposed has been heard, or has been given a reasonable opportunity of being heard in the matter, by such authority.

Explanation.—In this section, "wealth-tax authority" includes a Director General, Director, 62[Joint] Director, Assistant Director 63[or Deputy Director] and a Valuation Officer while exercising the powers vested in a court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908), when trying a suit in respect of the matters specified in sub-section (1) of section 37.]

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