High Court declines to interfere under writ jurisdiction at conclusion stage of re-assessment

High Court declines interference under writ jurisdiction at conclusion stage of re-assessment proceedings.

In a recent order, the Hon’ble Allahabad High Court has declined interference under writ jurisdiction at conclusion stage of re-assessment proceedings.

ABCAUS Case Law Citation:
ABCAUS 3857 (2024) (02) HC

In the instant case, the assessee had filed a Writ Petition before Hon’ble High Court Challenging the re-assessment proceedings initiated against her under Section 148 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 (the Act).

reopening validity

The challenge had been raised to the two years old order passed by the Assessing Officer (AO) under section 148-(A)(d) of the Act. Further, challenge had been raised to the re-assessment notice and the orders passed by the AO refusing to adjudicate the preliminary objection raised by the petitioner as to assumption of jurisdiction.

The undisputed fact was that the notice under section 148(A)(b) was issued to the petitioner by registered post. It was also claimed that the said notice was served on her address. However, the petitioner contended that notice remained from being responded as in the meanwhile she had changed address. For that reason she claimed that the order passed under Section 148-(A)(d) of the Act was not in her knowledge.

Upon gaining knowledge of such initiation of proceedings, petitioner filed had her objection to the initiation of re-assessment proceedings. Those objections have been rejected as not maintainable by the AO.

The reopening was initiated on the presumption that the petitioner had deposited Rs. 60,000,00/- in her bank account. However, the case of the Petitioner was that the amount was much less Rs. 20,00,000/-. Therefore, jurisdiction to re-assess the petitioner did not existed at the time of issue of notice under section 148-(A)(d) of the Act. upon passage of three years time contemplated under Section 149(1)(a) of the Act.  Reliance was placed on the alleged correction recorded by the AO to the satisfaction recorded to initiate re-assessment proceedings.

On the other hand, learned counsel for the Revenue has vehemently urged that the present petition is belated. Too much time has passed since the initiation of reassessment proceedings. There is no defect in service of the notice dated 21.03.2022 or the order dated 31.03.2022 or re-assessment notice dated 01.04.2022. Objections to initiation of re-assessment proceedings and challenge to the same ought to have been raised without delay.

The Revenue contended that objections have been raised with delay of about two years and the present petition had been filed with similar laches. On merits, it had been submitted that all objections being raised by the petitioner may be considered at the time of framing of final assessment order.

The Hon’ble High Court observed that there was gross delay in the challenge raised to the re-assessment proceedings. The Hon’ble High Court also observed that the delay was attributable to the conduct and/or neglect on the part of the petitioner.

The Hon’ble High Court opined that remedy was available to the petitioner to assail assumption of jurisdiction to re-assess her. At the same time, in this type of litigation judicial review may not be exercised belatedly i.e. at the stage of conclusion of re-assessment proceedings, unless exceptional facts so merit. However, petitioner have woken up late. She had raised certain merit and other objections to the assumption of jurisdiction. Those had been rejected.

The Hon’ble High Court opined that assessment proceedings are nearing conclusion. Therefore, it declined interference claimed under writ jurisdiction at the belated stage.

The Hon’ble High Court dismissed the Petition while observing that the submissions advanced by petitioner as to lack of jurisdiction and the further objection raised by the petitioner that she had deposited less amount in her bank account has to be tested on its own merits.

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