Bharat aluminium Company Limited Vs Union of India & Ors (Delhi High Court)

Court: Delhi High Court
Head Notes:

*Bharat Aluminium Co Ltd Vs Union of India & Ors*
*Forum Delhi High Court*
*Date 14th January 2022*

*Sub-Whether the requirement of giving opportunity of personal hearing while passing an assessment order u/s 144B is mandatory or directory and whether not granting the opportunity amounts to violation of principles of natural justice.*

The Delhi High Court in this case was dealing with a situation where huge addition resulting in demand of more than Rs 177 crores was made even though the show cause notice which was issued prior to the draft assessment order did not propose any addition. The appellant in this case represented by Senior Advocate Arvind Datar argued that it was obligatory on part of the department to issue final show cause notice before an addition is made and it was incumbent upon the Department to accord a personal hearing to the assessee where such a request was made under Section 144B(7) and failure to do so would amount to violation of principles of natural justice as well as mandatory procedure prescribed in the Faceless Assessment Scheme under Section 144B of the Act. It was also argued that when power is given to do a certain thing in a certain way, the thing must be done in that way or not at all and other methods of performance are forbidden.

The Court while rejecting the arguments of the department that insufficient opportunity cannot be said to be violation of principles of natural justice and the grant of personal hearing will frustrate the object of faceless assessment, held that the settled position in law is that where exercise of a power results in civil consequences to citizens, unless the statute specifically rules out the application of natural justice, the rules of natural justice would apply, including the right to personal hearing.
Thus the assessment order passed was set aside with a direction to pass fresh order after proper opportunity

*This judgement will be helpful in all cases of faceless assessment where the personal hearing is denied and there is violation of natural justice*

Ramesh Patodia

Section(s): Section 144B of the Income-tax Act,1961
Counsel(s): Senior Advocate Arvind Datar
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Uploaded By CA Ramesh Patodia
Date of upload: January 18, 2022

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