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Case Law Details

Case Name : Aluva Co-Operative Agricultural And Rural Development Bank Ltd Vs ITO (Kerala High Court) 
Appeal Number : WP(C) No. 8900 of 2024
Date of Judgement/Order : 11/03/2024
Related Assessment Year : 2008-09

Aluva Co-Operative Agricultural And Rural Development Bank Ltd Vs ITO (Kerala High Court) 

Introduction: The case of Aluva Co-Operative Agricultural and Rural Development Bank Ltd vs ITO before the Kerala High Court centers around a delay of 141 days in filing an income tax appeal due to a filing mistake. Despite the mistake, the petitioner sought to condone the delay, which was initially dismissed. However, the High Court intervened to address the issue.

Detailed Analysis: The petitioner, Aluva Co-Operative Agricultural and Rural Development Bank Ltd, filed an appeal manually instead of online before the Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeals). Upon realizing the mistake, they filed an online appeal along with an application to condone the 141-day delay. The Income Tax Department opposed the condonation, arguing that the petitioner should have filed the appeal correctly in the first instance.

The Kerala High Court considered precedents and the circumstances of the case. It noted that the mistake was genuine, and the appeal was eventually filed online. The Court observed that the requirement to file online appeals was introduced after the initial manual filing. Hence, it deemed the mistake sufficient cause to condone the delay.

Conclusion: The Kerala High Court, citing reasonable explanation and relevant legal precedents, directed the condonation of the 141-day delay in filing the income tax appeal. It quashed the previous order and restored the appeal to the jurisdiction of the concerned authority for proper consideration. This decision underscores the importance of considering genuine mistakes and adopting a balanced approach in legal proceedings.

FULL TEXT OF THE JUDGMENT/ORDER OF KERALA HIGH COURT

The petitioner suffered Ext.P1 order of assessment dated 29.3.2016 under the provisions of the Income Tax Act, 1961 for the assessment year 2008-09. The petitioner filed Ext.P2 appeal before the Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeals), the 2nd respondent on 18.4.2016. Realising that the appeal has to be filed online, the petitioner filed Ext.P5 appeal along with an application for condonation of delay specifically mentioning that due to a genuine mistake, Ext.P2 appeal had been filed in manual form before the 2nd respondent and seeking to condone the delay of 141 days in filing the appeal. The 3rd respondent has however, dismissed the application for condonation of delay.

2. The learned counsel appearing for the petitioner would submit on the strength of the judgments of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Collector Land Acquision v. MST Katiji [AIR 1987 1353] and in N. Balakrishnan v. M. Krishnamurthy [1998 (7) SCC 123] to contend that when there is a reasonable explanation in support of the application for condonation of delay, a highly strict approach could not be adopted and the power to condone the delay should have been exercised in favour of the petitioner in the facts and circumstances of the case.

3. The learned Standing Counsel appearing for the Income Tax Department would submit that the petitioner is well aware that the appeal had to be filed online and not before the Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeals) in manual form. It is submitted that since the petitioner has not filed an appeal before the competent authority, it should be taken that there was no appeal filed and therefore, the petitioner had correctly sought for condonation of delay while filing the appeal before the 3rd respondent on 3.11.2016.

4. Having heard the learned counsel appearing for the petitioner and the learned Standing Counsel appearing for the Income Tax Department, I am of the view that the petitioner is entitled to succeed. It is not in dispute that on the date of filing of Ext.P2 appeal, the Appellate Authority was actually the 2nd respondent and not the 3rd The only mistake that was committed by the petitioner was that he had filed an appeal in manual form instead of filing it in online form. Immediately on coming to know the mistake, the petitioner filed an online appeal on 3.11.2016 along with an application for condonation of delay of 141 days which is the delay considering the date of assessment order and the date of filing of the appeal in the online form. The requirement of filing an appeal in online form was introduced only on 1.3.2016. The appeal filed manually in this case was filed on 18.4.2016, therefore I am clear in my mind that the mistake in filing the appeal in the manual mode constituted sufficient cause for condonation of delay in filing the appeal.

5. Therefore, this writ petition is allowed. Ext.P6 order is quashed and Ext.P5 appeal will stand restored to the file of the 3rd respondent (to whom it has now been transferred). The 3rd respondent shall consider Ext.P5 appeal as one filed within time taking into consideration the date of filing of the appeal in manual form as the date of filing of the appeal and shall dispose of the appeal in accordance with law after affording an opportunity of hearing to the petitioner.

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