|CORAM:||Hari Om Maratha (JM), N. K. Saini (AM)|
|CATCH WORDS:||Assessment, Revision|
|DATE:||September 25, 2014 (Date of pronouncement)|
|DATE:||October 5, 2014 (Date of publication)|
|FILE:||Click here to download the file in pdf format|
|Entire law on s. 263 revision explained|
It is trite that an order can be revised only and only if twin conditions of ‘error in the order’ and ‘prejudice caused to the Revenue’ co-exist. The subject of ‘revision under section 263’ has been vastly examined and analyzed by various Courts including that of Hon’ble Apex Court. The revisional power conferred on the CIT vide section 263 is of vide amplitude. It enables the CIT to call for and examine the records of any proceeding under the Act. It empowers the CIT to make or cause to be made such an enquiry as he deems necessary in order to find out if any order passed by Assessing Officer is erroneous in so far as it is prejudicial to the interests of the Revenue. The only limitation on his powers is that he must have some material(s) which would enable him to form a prima facie opinion that the order passed by the Assessing Officer is erroneous in so far as it is prejudicial to the interest of the Revenue. Once he comes to the above conclusion on the basis of the ‘material’ that the order of the Assessing Officer is erroneous and also prejudicial to the interests of the Revenue, the CIT is empowered to pass an order as the circumstances of the case may warrant. He may pass an order enhancing the assessment or he may modify the assessment. He is also empowered to cancel the assessment and direct to frame a fresh assessment. He is empowered to take recourse to any of the three courses indicated in section 263. So, it is clear that the CIT does not have unfettered and unchequred discretion to revise an order. The CIT is required to exercise revisional power within the bounds of the law and has to satisfy the need of fairness in administrative action and fair play with due respect to the principle of audi alteram partem as envisaged in the Constitution of India as well as in section 263. An order can be treated as ‘erroneous’ if it was passed in utter ignorance or in violation of any law; or passed without taking into consideration all the relevant facts or by taking into consideration irrelevant facts. The ‘prejudice’ that is contemplated under section 263 is the prejudice to the Income Tax administration as a whole. The revision has to be done for the purpose of setting right distortions and prejudices caused to the Revenue in the above context. The fundamental principles which emerge from the several cases regarding the powers of the CIT under section 263 may be summarized below:
(i) The CIT must record satisfaction that the order of the Assessing Officer is erroneous and prejudicial to the interests of the revenue. Both the conditions must be fulfilled.
(ii) Section 263 cannot be invoked to correct each and every type of mistake or error committed by the Assessing Officer and it is only when an order is erroneous, that the section will be attracted.
(iii) An incorrect assumption of facts or an incorrect application of law will suffice for the requirement or order being erroneous.
(iv) If the order is passed without application of mind, such order will fall under the category of erroneous order.
(v) Every loss of revenue cannot be treated as prejudicial to the interest of the revenue and if the Assessing Officer has adopted one of the courses permissible under law or where two views are possible and the Assessing Officer has taken one view under with which the CIT does not agree, it cannot be treated as an erroneous order, unless the view taken by the Assessing Officer is unsustainable under the law.
(vi) If while making the assessment, the Assessing Officer examines the accounts, makes enquiries, applies his mind to the facts and circumstances of the case and determines the income, the CIT, while exercising his power under section 263, is not permitted to substitute his estimate of income in place of the income estimated by the Assessing Officer.
(vii) The Assessing Officer exercise quasi-judicial power vested in him and if he exercise such power in accordance with law and arrives as a conclusion, such conclusion cannot be termed to be erroneous simply because the CIT does not feel satisfied with the conclusion.
(viii) The CIT, before exercising his jurisdiction under section 263, must have material on record to arrive at a satisfaction.
(ix) If the Assessing Officer has made enquiries during the course of assessment proceedings on the relevant issues and the assessee has given detailed explanation be a letter in writing and the Assessing Officer allowed the claim on being satisfied with the explanation of the assessee, the decision of the Assessing Officer cannot be held to be erroneous simply because in his order he does not make an elaborate discussion in that regard.