Refusal to grant adjournment sought by person not authorized by assessee. ITAT set aside ex parte order

Refusal to grant adjournment sought by person not authorized by assessee and passing of ex parte order remanded by ITAT holding that defect could have been rectified

ABCAUS Case Law Citation:
ABCAUS 2401 (2018) 07 ITAT

The instant appeal was filed by the assessee against the order of the CIT-Appeals in passing ex parte order against the assessee.

Aggrieved by the order of assessment on the disallowance of claim u/s. 80IA of the Income Tax Act, 1961 (the Act) the assessee filed appeal before the CIT(Appeals).

On the first hearing fixed, no one appeared on behalf of assessee before the CIT (Appeals), however an undated letter was received seeking adjournment of the hearing. The CIT(A) noticed that the person who sought the adjournment was not authorized to represent by the assessee in the proceedings before him. He therefore proceeded to decide the appeal of assessee on merits as per law ex parte.

The order of AO was confirmed by the CIT(A) by the order passed ex parte.

The assessee preferred the instant appeal before the Tribunaland contended that the CIT(A) was not justified in denying the opportunity of being heard by refusing the adjournment sought for by a letter and without giving any further opportunities as prayed for.

It was submitted that the passing of impugned order was in violation of principles of natural justice especially in view of the fact that the posting before the CIT(A) was the very first hearing.

The Tribunal observed that the CIT(Appeals) had not afforded proper opportunity of being heard to the assessee. If the CIT(Appeals) found that a request for adjournment had been made by a person who was not duly authorized by the assessee to appear before him, the CIT(A) ought to have given one more opportunity to the assessee and brought it to the notice of the assessee, the fact that unauthorized person had appeared before him.

The Tribunal opined that the assessee would have rectified whatever be the defect on his part. Without doing so, the CIT(Appeals) was not justified in deciding the appeal ex parte, especially when hearing before the CIT(Appeals) was the first hearing in the appeal.

The Tribunal set aside the order of CIT(Appeals) and remanded the issues for fresh consideration by the CIT(Appeals), after affording the assessee opportunity of being heard.

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