In fresh assessment passed pursuant to remand by ITAT, assessee cannot be worse off than what he was in the original assessment order
The AO passed a s. 143(3) assessment order in which he disallowed 50% of the expenditure on an ad-hoc basis. This was reduced to 25% by the CIT (A). On further appeal by the assessee, the Tribunal set aside the matter to the AO to examine the issue afresh. In the second round of appeal, the AO disallowed 100% of the expenditure on the ground that the assessee had already claimed the same expense under some other head and that there was a claim for double deduction. This was upheld by the CIT(A). Before the Tribunal, the assessee argued that once a matter has been set aside by the Tribunal, the assessee cannot be put into a worse situation than what it was at the time of original assessment. HELD by the Tribunal upholding the plea:
It is a settled proposition of law that the Tribunal u/s 254(1) has no power to take back the benefit conferred by the AO or enhance the assessment. Once the matter has been restored by the Tribunal, the income cannot be enhanced from what was determined at the time of original assessment proceedings, which was the subject matter of dispute before the Tribunal. This proposition of law has been upheld by the Supreme Court in Hukumchand Mills Ltd 62 ITR 232 (SC) and reiterated in Mcorp Global 309 ITR 434 (SC). Therefore, the enhancement of assessment by making 100% disallowance in respect of free food allowance cannot be sustained and the same is restricted to 50%, as was made by the AO in the original round of proceedings.