Very short period of appearance given to assessee violated principles of natural justice. ITAT set aside order passed by CIT (Exemptions) for decision afresh
ABCAUS Case Law Citation:
ABCAUS 2126 (2017) (11) ITAT
The assessee trust was aggrieved by the order of Commissioner of Income Tax (Exemptions) [CIT(E)] rejecting the application of the assessee u/s 12AA(1)(b)(ii) of the Income Tax Act, 1961 (the Act).
The assessee approached the Tribunal (ITAT) by way of two appeals and contended that the CIT (E) had passed ex parte orders without giving proper opportunity of hearing to the assessee. It was stated that the assessee did not receive any notice of hearing from the CIT(E).
The attention of the Tribunal was invited to the fact that even very short period of appearance was given to the assessee trust which itself showed that the impugned orders were passed in a hurried manner because of the stipulated time for passing of the orders by the CIT(E) was running out.
The Tribunal found force in the contentions of the assessee and observed that a very short notice of appearance had been given to the assessee which was evident from the perusal of the order itself.
It was noticed that the show cause letter dated 9.3.2017 (sent through post) was allegedly delivered on 15.3.2017, whereas the date of hearing was fixed on 16.3.2017. Further, another show cause notice was issued on 22.3.2017 asking the assessee to provide the necessary documents / clarification by 25.3.2017.
The assessee had claimed that it had not received any of the notices sent by the CIT(E). The ITAT opined that even assuming that the said notice were received by the assessee, it could be clearly gathered that very short time period was given to the assessee to respond to such notices.
The Tribunal opined that the principle of natural justice had not been followed by the CIT (E) while passing the ex-parte orders against the assessee. In view of this, the impugned orders of the CIT (E) were set aside and the matter in both the appeals was restored to the file of the CIT (E) for decision afresh after giving proper opportunity of hearing to the assessee and in accordance with law.