The Income Tax Department told the Supreme Court on Monday that it will not take any coercive action to recover a tax demand of over Rs 3,500 crore from the Congress until after the Lok Sabha elections conclude, Live Law reported.

The bench of Justices BV Nagarathna and Augustine George Masih was hearing the Opposition party’s 2018 appeal against a 2016 judgement of the Delhi High Court. As part of the proceedings, the party had moved an interim application seeking to stay the Income Tax Department’s recent tax demand notices.

On Friday, the Income Tax Department served a notice of Rs 1,823 crore to the Congress a day after the High Court rejected the party’s petitions challenging the tax reassessment proceedings for the financial years 2017-’18 to 2020-’21.

The High Court had also rejected petitions by the Congress challenging tax reassessment proceedings for the financial years 2014-’15, 2015-’16 and 2016-’17, noting that the government agency “appears to have collated substantial and concrete evidence warranting further scrutiny and examination” under the Income Tax Act.

On Saturday, the party received fresh notices from the Income Tax department for the assessment years 2014-’15 to 2016-17 raising demands of Rs 1,745 crore, The Indian Express reported. The latest notice combined with the earlier demands for assessment years 1994-’95 and 2017-’18 to 2020-’21 took the total amount to Rs 3,567 crores.

On Monday, Senior Advocate Abhishek Singhvi, appearing for the Congress, told the Supreme Court that the Income Tax department has collected Rs 135 crore from the party so far, reported Bar and Bench.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Income Tax department, told the Supreme Court that no coercive action will be taken against the Congress since elections are taking place and the matter is in court, reported Bar and Bench.

“The issues which arise in these appeals are yet to be adjudicated upon but having regard to the situation now, the [Income Tax] department does not wish to precipitate the matter and [says] that no coercive steps will be taken with regard to Rs 3,500 crores approximately,” the Supreme Court said.

The matter will be heard next on July 24.

On March 21, the Congress had said that the Income Tax department had frozen all its bank accounts ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

Reacting to Monday’s hearing, Congress MP and lawyer Vivek Tankha thanked the court for ensuring a level playing field between political parties ahead of the polls. “Was not possible if Congress had not fought tax terrorism before our courts,” he said in a social media post.