|COURT:||Bombay High Court|
|CORAM:||M. S. Sanklecha J, S. C. Gupte J|
|COUNSEL:||B. M. Chatterji|
|DATE:||October 3, 2016 (Date of pronouncement)|
|DATE:||July 20, 2017 (Date of publication)|
|FILE:||Click here to download the file in pdf format|
|S. 147: If the AO does not follow the law laid down in GKN Driveshafts 259 ITR 19, the reopening proceedings have to be quashed. There is no reason to restore the issue to the AO to pass a further/fresh order because it would give a licence to the AO to pass orders on reopening notice, without jurisdiction (without compliance of the law in accordance with the procedure), yet the only consequence, would be that in appeal, it would be restored to the AO for fresh adjudication after following the due procedure. This would lead to unnecessary harassment of the assessee by reviving stale/ old matters|
The High Court had to consider the following substantial question of law at the instance of the assessee:
“Whether on the facts and circumstances of the case and in law, the Tribunal was justified in restoring the issue to the Assessing Officer after having quashed/ set aside the order dated 14th December, 2009 passed by the Assessing Officer without having disposed of the objections filed by the appellant to the reasons recorded in support f the reopening Notice dated 28th March, 2008?”
HELD by the High Court allowing the appeal:
(i) The Tribunal held that the Assessing Officer was not justified in finalizing the Assessment, without having first disposed of the objections of the appellant. This impugned order holds the Assessing Officer is obliged to do in terms of the Apex Court’s decision in GKN Driveshafts (India) Ltd., v/s. ITO 259 ITR 19. In the aforesaid circumstances, the order of the CIT(A) and the Assessing Officer were quashed and set aside. However, after having set aside the orders, it restored the Assessment to the Assessing Officer to pass fresh order after disposing of the objections to reopening notice dated 28th March, 2008, in accordance with law.
(ii) We note that once the impugned order finds the Assessment Order is without jurisdiction as the law laid down by the Apex Court in GKN Driveshafts (supra) has not been followed, then there is no reason to restore the issue to the Assessing Officer to pass a further/fresh order. If this is permitted, it would give a licence to the Assessing Officer to pass orders on reopening notice, without jurisdiction (without compliance of the law in accordance with the procedure), yet the only consequence, would be that in appeal, it would be restored to the Assessing Officer for fresh adjudication after following the due procedure. This would lead to unnecessary harassment of the Assessee by reviving stale/ old matters.
(iii) In fact, to ensure that reopening notices are disposed of, expeditiously the parliament itself has provided in Section 153(2) of the Act a period of limitation within which the Assessing Officer must pass an order on the notice of reopening i.e. within one year from the end of the financial year in which the notice was issued. In fact, Section 153 (2A) of the Act as in force at the relevant time itself provides that an order of fresh Assessment, consequent to the order of Tribunal under Section 254 of the Act, would have to be passed within one year from the end of the financial year in which the order under Section 254 of the Act, was passed by the Tribunal and received by the Commissioner of Income Tax.