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37. Power to take evidence on oath, etc.

(1)The Assessing Officer, [Valuation Officer,] [Deputy Commissioner (Appeals)], [Commissioner (Appeals),][Chief Commissioner or Commissioner] and the Appellate Tribunal shall, for the purposes of this Act, have the same powers as are vested in a court under the Code of Civil Procedure,1908 (5 of 1908), when trying a suit in respect of the following matters, namely:—

(a)   discovery and inspection;
(b)   enforcing the attendance of any person, including any officer of a banking company and examining him on oath;
(c)   compelling the production of books of account and other documents; and
(d)   issuing commissions.

(1A) If the Director General or Director or [Joint] Director or Assistant Director [or Deputy Director], or the authorised officer referred to in sub-section (1) of section 37A before he takes action under clauses (i) to (vi) of that sub-section, has reason to suspect that any net wealth has been concealed, or is likely to be concealed, by any person or class of persons within his jurisdiction, then, for the purposes of making any inquiry or investigation relating thereto, it shall be competent for him to exercise the powers conferred under sub-section (1) on the wealth-tax authorities referred to in that sub-section, notwithstanding that no proceedings with respect to such person or class of persons are pending before him or any other wealth-tax authority.]

(2) [Omitted by the Direct Tax Laws (Amendment) Act, 1987, w.e.f. 1-4-1989.]

(3) Subject to any rules made in this behalf, any authority referred to in sub-section (1) [or sub-section (1A)] may impound and retain in its custody for such period as it thinks fit any books of account or other documents produced before it in any proceeding under this Act:

Provided that [an Assessing Officer] [or a Valuation Officer] [or an Assistant Director [or a Deputy Director]] shall not—

(a)   impound any books of account or other documents without recording his reasons for so doing, or
(b)   retain in his custody any such books or documents for a period exceeding fifteen days (exclusive of holidays) without obtaining the approval of the [ [Chief Commissioner or Director General or Commissioner or Director therefor, as the case may be]].

(4) Any proceeding under this Act before a wealth-tax authority or the Tribunal shall be deemed to be a judicial proceeding within the meaning of sections 193 and 228, and for the purposes of section 196 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860).

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