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Case Law Details

Case Name : Sukhmeet Kaur Vs ITO (Delhi High Court)
Appeal Number : W.P.(C) 9168/2023
Date of Judgement/Order : 12/07/2023
Related Assessment Year :

Sukhmeet Kaur Vs ITO (Delhi High Court)

Introduction: The Delhi High Court’s case of Sukhmeet Kaur Vs ITO tackles the procedural matters concerning the serving of notice under Section 148A(b) of the Income Tax Act, 1961. The case revolves around a high-value immovable property transaction that the petitioner allegedly failed to declare. The judgment emphasizes the crucial stage at which the facts should be brought to the Assessing Officer’s notice.

Analysis:

1. Notice under Section 148A(b): The petitioner was served a notice but failed to respond. Consequently, an assessment order was passed by the Assessing Officer (AO) under Section 148A(d) of the Act.

2. The Allegation and Petitioner’s Claim: The petitioner is accused of entering into a high-value transaction concerning immovable property without declaring it for AY 2016-17. The petitioner contends that the transaction was taken into account twice and also claims 50% ownership of the property.

3. Lack of Communication with AO: These facts were not communicated to the AO at the relevant stage when the notice under Section 148A(b) was served.

4. Court’s Direction: The High Court disposed of the writ petition with instructions for the AO to issue a show-cause notice. The petitioner is given sufficient time to file a response and furnish relevant documents.

Conclusion: The case of Sukhmeet Kaur Vs ITO establishes an important precedent regarding the timing of presenting facts in the context of the Income Tax Act. By allowing the petitioner to file a reply to the show-cause notice, the Delhi High Court has underscored the significance of procedural compliance and clarified the relevant stage to present facts. It sets a procedural guidance for future cases involving similar matters and emphasizes the necessity of clear communication with the assessing authorities, highlighting the importance of following due process in tax-related issues.

FULL TEXT OF THE JUDGMENT/ORDER OF DELHI HIGH COURT

CM Appl.34884/2023

1. Allowed, subject to just exceptions.

W.P.(C) 9168/2023 & CM Appl.34883/2023 [Application filed on behalf of the petitioner seeking interim relief]

2. It is not disputed by the counsel for the petitioner that although a notice dated 23.02.2023 was served on the petitioner under Section 148A(b) of the Income Tax Act, 1961 [in short, “Act”], she failed to respond to the same.

3. It appears that, as a result, the Assessing Officer (AO) proceeded to pass an assessment order dated 21.03.2023, under Section 148A(d) of the Act.

4. The case set up against the petitioner is that she had entered into a high value transaction concerning an immovable property, qua which there was no visibility, since the petitioner had not filed her income tax return for the Assessment Year (AY) in issue, i.e., AY 2016-17.

5. The petitioner claims that the AO has committed an error, inasmuch as the transaction qua the same property has been taken into account twice over.

5.1 Furthermore, it is stated by the counsel for the petitioner that the petitioner was a 50% owner of the subject immovable property.

6. Unfortunately, these facts were not brought to the notice of the AO by the petitioner at the relevant stage. The relevant stage for bringing these facts to the notice of the AO was when the notice under Section 148A(b) was served on the petitioner.

7. Given these circumstances, Mr Shlok Chandra, learned senior standing counsel, who appears on behalf of the respondents/revenue, says that if an assessment order is not passed, the AO will issue a show cause notice, and the petitioner will have liberty, at that stage, to put forth her stand -a-vis. the transaction in issue, along with the relevant documents.

7.1    Furthermore, Mr Chandra says that he refutes the stand taken by the petitioner, that the transaction qua the same property, has been taken into account by the respondent/revenue twice over.

8. We may note that counsel for the petitioner, on instructions, states that up until now, no assessment order has been passed.

9. The writ petition is thus, disposed of, with a direction that the AO will issue a show cause notice to the petitioner. The show cause notice will grant sufficient time to the petitioner to file a response.

10. The petitioner will have liberty not only to file a reply, but also to furnish relevant documents in support of her stand.

11. The AO will pass an assessment order, in which he will deal with the reply filed by the petitioner -a-vis. the aforementioned show cause notice.

12. Needless to add, since we have not examined the merits of the case, nothing stated hereinabove will impact the assessment order that the AO will passed hereafter.

13. Consequently, pending interlocutory application shall stand closed.

14. Parties will act based on the digitally signed copy of the order.

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