U/s 245A(b), as amended by the Finance Act 2007 w.e.f. 1.6.2007, “pendency of proceedings for assessment” before the AO for one or more assessment years is a necessary condition for invoking the jurisdiction of the Settlement Commission. Held in that context by Five Member Bench of the ITSC that:
(a) For the year for which returns have been filed but have neither been processed u/s 143(1) of the Act nor notices have been issue u/s. 143(2) of the Act, the proceeding for assessment can be said to be “pending”;
(b) Even for the years for which returns have been processed u/s 143(1) of the Act but now no time is left for issue of notices u/s 143(2) of the Act, the proceeding for the assessment years can be said to be “pending”;
(c) The term “date of conclusion of proceeding” under clause (iv) of 245A (b) means that the proceedings for assessment can be said to be pending before the AO in respect of those assessment years only for which the AO can still take action/initiate the proceeding under the Act;
(d) If in a composite application for several years, proceeding for certain assessment year are pending but are not pending for other years, the application can be admitted for those years for which proceedings are pending and held as “invalid” for other years. The whole application cannot be treated as ‘invalid’.