Case Law Details

Case Name : Zuari Global Ltd. Vs Principal CIT (Bombay High Court)
Appeal Number : Tax Appeal Nos. 79, 80, 81 and 82 of 2015
Date of Judgement/Order : 16/02/2016
Related Assessment Year : 2016-17
Courts : All High Courts (1346) Bombay High Court (304)

Brief of the Case

Bombay High Court held In the case of Zuari Global Ltd. vs. Principal CIT that it is not disputed that the matter was posted on 7.7.2015. It is also not disputed that prior to such date the appellant had only sought two adjournments. On account of some unavoidable reasons of the death in the family of the counsel of the appellant, the concerned counsel was unable to represent the appellant on the relevant date. The fact that there was a death in the family of the counsel of the appellant is not disputed by the learned Counsel appearing for the respondent. In such circumstances, considering that the appellant are not unnecessarily delaying the matter and as on the relevant date there was justifiable reason which prevented the counsel for the appellant to remain present before the Tribunal, we find that the Tribunal was not justified to refuse an adjournment.

Facts of the Case

For the Assessment year 2007-2008, the assessee had filed a return of income declaring total income of Rs.12.77 Crores. The same was accepted by issuing intimation under Section 143(1). On 6th February, 2013 the impugned notice was issued seeking to reopen the Assessment. On 15th March, 2013 itself, the assessee filed its revised return of income and sought reasons recorded in support of the impugned notice. The revenue did not furnish the reasons recorded, in spite of the Assessee’s repeated communications such as letters dated 15th March, 2013 and 12th September, 2013 seeking the reasons recorded for issuing the impugned notice. However, the Assessing Officer furnished the reasons recorded for issuing the impugned notice to the Petitioner only on 19th March, 2015.

On 25th March, 2015 the Petitioner filed its objections to the reasons recorded as communicated for issuing the impugned notice dated 6th February, 2013.The Assessing Officer without disposing of the Petitioner’s objections passed a draft Assessment order dated 30th March, 2015.

Contention of Appellant

The ld counsel of the appellant pointed out that the impugned order passed by the Tribunal is without giving an opportunity to the appellant of an adequate hearing as on the relevant date i.e. 7.7.2015, when the matter was posted for hearing the counsel appearing for the appellant was unable to attend the proceedings as his uncle had expired. The learned counsel further points out that it was also brought to the notice of the learned Tribunal that in view of the said death the learned counsel for the appellant would not appear in other courts. He further points out that the learned Tribunal refused the adjournment and proceeded to decide the matter on merits without giving a hearing to the appellant. The learned counsel further submitted that not giving such an opportunity itself vitiates the impugned order though the appellant has a good case on merits. He further submits that the matter may be remanded to the learned Tribunal to decide afresh after giving an opportunity of hearing, in accordance with law.

Contention of the Revenue

The ld counsel of the revenue supported the impugned order. The leaned Counsel points out that the learned Tribunal proceeded to decide the matter on merits, as according to her, the appeal had no merits. The learned counsel further submits that all the contentions which were raised by the appellant were given up by the appellant before the Appellate Authority. The learned Counsel, as such, points out that there is no infirmity in the impugned order passed by the learned Tribunal. The learned Counsel further states that Mr. Anandu Vithal Nayak, Deputy General Manager of the appellant was present on the relevant date.

Held by High Court

High Court held that it is not disputed that the matter was posted on 7.7.2015. It is also not disputed that prior to such date the appellant had only sought two adjournments. On account of some unavoidable reasons of the death in the family of the counsel of the appellant, the concerned counsel was unable to represent the appellant on the relevant date. The fact that there was a death in the family of the counsel of the appellant is not disputed by the learned Counsel appearing for the respondent. In such circumstances, considering that the appellant are not unnecessarily delaying the matter and as on the relevant date there was justifiable reason which prevented the counsel for the appellant to remain present before the learned Tribunal, we find that the learned Tribunal was not justified to refuse an adjournment.

Hence, in the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case and in the interest of justice, the learned Tribunal could have given an opportunity of hearing to the appellant for the subsequent date. Having failed to grant a short adjournment has resulted in passing the impugned order in breach of the principle of natural justice which calls for the interference of this Court.

Accordingly, appeal disposed of.

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Posted Under

Category : Income Tax (20866)
Type : Judiciary (8910)
  • Nem Singh

    Refusing to grant adjournment ignoring the circumstantial facts and situation by the court is totally against the principle of natural justice. Further the adjournments should have been granted if defense is not objecting the request of the either party. It is a good decision of the hon’ble court.

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