|COURT:||Bombay High Court|
|CORAM:||M. S. Sanklecha J, Riyaz I. Chagla J|
|SECTION(S):||147, 148, 292B|
|CATCH WORDS:||application of mind, Reopening of assessment, sanction|
|COUNSEL:||Sunil Moti Lala|
|DATE:||December 22, 2017 (Date of pronouncement)|
|DATE:||December 29, 2017 (Date of publication)|
|FILE:||Click here to download the file in pdf format|
|S. 147/ 292B: Sanction for issuing a reopening notice cannot be mechanical but has to be on due application of mind. Sanction accorded despite mention of non-existent section in the notice is prima facie evidence of non application of mind on the part of the sanctioning authority. S. 292B cannot cure such defect|
(i) The Assessing Officer has stated that the words “147(b)” were inadvertently filled in the prescribed form, instead of Section 147 of the Act while obtaining the sanction from the Joint Commissioner of Income Tax. It is further submitted on behalf of the Revenue that the same is a curable defect under section 292B of the Act. Therefore, the impugned notice cannot be held to be bad for mere incorrect mentioning of section on account of the mistake.
(ii) There can be no dispute with regard to the application of Section 292B of the Act to sustain a notice from being declared invalid merely on the ground of mistake in the notice. However, the issue here is not with regard to the mistake / error committed by the Assessing Officer while taking a sanction from the Joint Commissioner of Income Tax but whether there was due application of mind by the Joint Commissioner of Income Tax while giving the necessary sanction for issuing the impugned notice. It is a settled principle of law that sanction granted by the higher Authority for issuing of a reopening notice has to be on due application of mind. It cannot be mechanical approval without examining the proposal sent by the Assessing Officer. Prima facie, it appears to us that if the Joint Commissioner of Income Tax would have applied his mind to the application made by the Assessing Officer, then the very first thing which would arise is the basis of the notice, as the provision of law on which it is based is no longer in the statute. Non pointing out the mistake / error by the Joint Commissioner of Income Tax on the part of the Assessing Officer is prima facie evidence of non application of mind on the part of the sanctioning authority while granting the sanction.