In the case of Rameshbhai Nagjibhai Patel Vs. ACIT, ITAT Ahmedabad has recently condoned the delay and ordered re-adjudication due to the assessee’s status as an uneducated farmer.
Analysis: The case revolves around the cash deposits made by Rameshbhai Nagjibhai Patel in Baroda Gujarat Gramin Bank for the Assessment Year 2012-13. The assessee had not filed their income tax return for the same year, leading to the reopening of the case by the Assessing Officer. Subsequently, an addition of Rs. 29,74,617/- was made under Section 69A of the Income Tax Act. The appeal filed by the assessee was dismissed by the CIT(A), prompting further action.
The assessee’s representative argued that both the Assessing Officer and the CIT(A) passed ex-parte orders without granting the assessee an opportunity to be heard. Consequently, they requested the remand of the appeal to the Assessing Officer for proper adjudication, considering the evidences filed by the assessee.
After hearing both parties, the ITAT acknowledged a delay of 98 days, which the assessee attributed to their status as an uneducated farmer and lack of awareness regarding notices from the department. The delay was condoned, and the matter was remanded back to the CIT(A) for a thorough review of the contested issues, taking into account the submitted evidence. The ITAT emphasized that the principles of natural justice should be followed, and the assessee should be given a fair opportunity to present their case. However, if the assessee fails to appear without valid reasons, the CIT(A) is empowered to pass appropriate orders.
Conclusion: In conclusion, the case of Rameshbhai Nagjibhai Patel vs ACIT (ITAT Ahmedabad) involves the condonation of delay and the order for re-adjudication, given the assessee’s status as an uneducated farmer. The ITAT has emphasized the need for a fair hearing and has granted the assessee an opportunity to present their case before the CIT(A). Stay updated for further developments in this matter.
FULL TEXT OF THE ORDER OF ITAT AMEDABAD
This appeal is filed by the Assessee against order dated 03.11.2022 passed by the CIT(A), National Faceless Appeal Centre (NFAC), Delhi for the Assessment Year 2012-13.
2. The Assessee has raised the following grounds of appeal:-
“1. Ld. CIT(A) erred in law as well as in fact in dismissing the appeal ex-parte and holding that full credit in the Baroda Gujarat Gramin Bank account as unexplained money u/s. 69A of the Act.
2. CIT(A) erred in law as well as in fact in confirming the addition of Rs.29,74,617/- u/s.69A as unexplained money.
3. Without prejudice to the above and in the alternative, the impugned addition made by AO is highly excessive and calls for a reduction. It is therefore prayed that the addition of Rs.29,74,617/- made by the AO should be deleted.”
3. On the basis of information available with the Revenue Department, the Assessing Officer observed that the assessee made cash deposits of Rs.29,65,000/-in Baroda Gujarat Gramin Bank for Assessment Year 2012-13. The assessee has also not filed his return of income for the A.Y. 2012-13 and accordingly the case was reopened after recording the reasons and notice under Section 148 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 was issued. In response to notice under Section 148 of the Act, the assessee has not filed his return of income and, therefore, the Assessing Officer passed the Assessment Order under Section 144 read with Section 147 of the Act thereby making addition of Rs.29,74,617/- under Section 69A of the Act.
4. Being aggrieved by the Assessment Order, the assessee filed appeal before the CIT(A). The CIT(A) dismissed the appeal of the assessee.
5. The Ld. AR submitted that the Assessing Officer as well as the CIT(A) has passed ex-parte order without giving opportunity of hearing to the assessee. Therefore, the Ld. AR requested that the appeal may be remanded back to the file of the Assessing Officer for proper adjudication of the issues after giving opportunity of haring to the assessee.
6. The Ld. DR relied upon the Assessment Order and the order of the CIT(A).
7. Heard both the parties and perused all the relevant material available on record. There is a delay of 98 days for which the assessee has filed affidavit stating thereby that the assessee is a farmer and uneducated person and due to his ignorance he could not receive any notice from the Department except the notice of penalty. The non-representation before both the authorities appears to be genuine and hence the delay is condoned. Order of the CIT(A) is not on merit but only on the ground that the assessee has not appeared before the Authorities. Therefore, it will be appropriate to remand back this matter to the file of the CIT(A) for proper adjudication of the issues contested by the assessee after taking cognisance of the evidences filed by the assessee before the CIT(A). Needless to say the assessee be given opportunity of hearing by following the principles of natural justice. It is pertinent to note that the assessee will fully co-operate at the time of hearing and if the assessee did not appear despite giving opportunities and without any proper reason, then the CIT(A) is at full liberty to pass appropriate order as per law.
8. In the result appeal of the assessee is partly allowed for statistical purpose.
Order pronounced in the open Court on this 14th June, 2023.