ITO vs. Growel Energy Co. Ltd (ITAT Mumbai)

DATE: (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: June 17, 2014 (Date of publication)

Click here to download the judgement (growel_ITAT_strictures.pdf)

ITAT issues strictures against AO & CIT & fines them for filing a frivolous appeal

The department filed an appeal before the Tribunal raising several grounds relating to s. 69C etc. The CIT(A) had allowed relief to the assessee on the ground that as the expenses were duly recorded in the books and there was no dispute as to their genuineness, s. 69C had no application. HELD by the Tribunal dismissing the appeal:

The ITO, the Appellant, as well as the CIT, who has authorised the AO to prefer an appeal, did not apply their mind in the correct perspective and in a very lacklustre and routine manner filed the appeal which, in turn, resulted in wastage of time of the court … At this juncture it may be noticed that the power is vested in the CIT and not with the AO because the Legislature, in its wisdom, thought that a superior/ senior officer can take a more balanced decision so as to avoid filing frivolous appeals in routine manner. However, even the CIT has not given his reasons as to why he has authorised the AO to file an appeal on this issue…. we are of the firm view that the AO has raised a soulless ground which deserves to be dismissed in limine. We could have saved a lot of time had the CIT not given his authorisation on such frivolous issues. On the contrary, it is incumbent upon the Commissioner, as a supervisory authority, to admonish the AO for making an addition without basic understanding of legal position…. this is a peculiar case where even the CIT (Admin) who is supposed to supervise the proper functioning of the AO, under his charge, has allowed him to file appeals without properly examining the assessment order and the order of the CIT(A), which results in unnecessary expenditure to the assessee when appeal is filed by the Revenue and the assessee had to undergo the trauma of engaging counsel and paying substantial fees to defend the case when the Revenue has no case at all … Therefore we award a token cost of Rs. 5,000 upon the CIT who has given the authorisation and cost of Rs. 10,000 upon the AO who has filed this appeal… The said payment should be made to the assessee within one month from the date of receipt of this order. Registry is also directed to mark a copy to the Chairman, CBDT so that in future the Income Tax Commissioners, who are responsible for filing appeal before the Tribunal, would take proper care to scrutinise the issues before authorising the AO to file appeals before the Tribunal.

See also Sairang Developers (Bom High Court) & Bharti Airtel (ITAT Delhi) where similar strictures were passed. See also Dear Judges, Thanks For The Strictures But What About Some Follow-Up Action?

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