Introduction: The Calcutta High Court recently rendered a crucial judgment in the case of Pawan Kumar Sharma Vs Union of India, challenging the order dated April 6, 2023, under Section 148A(b) of the Income Tax Act, 1961. The petitioner contested the assessment for the fiscal year 2019-2020, arguing a procedural irregularity in the issuance of notice under Section 148A(b) and the subsequent order.
Detailed Analysis: The petitioner’s contention centered around the violation of the statutory obligation to provide a clear seven days’ time to file a reply to the notice. Despite the apparent grant of seven days, the petitioner argued that the inclusion of three holidays within the period affected the actual time available. Citing the decision in Girdhar Gopal Dalmia Vs. Union Of India (2022) 141 taxmann.com 251 (Calcutta), the petitioner sought relief from the procedural flaw.
The Calcutta High Court, after considering the submissions, found merit in the petitioner’s argument. Acknowledging the reported decision, the court quashed the impugned order dated April 6, 2023, under Section 148A(b). The matter was remanded back to the Assessing Officer with a directive to pass a fresh speaking order. The Assessing Officer was instructed to afford an opportunity of hearing to the petitioner or their authorized representative and consider the reply to the notice filed within two weeks.
The court set a deadline of four weeks from the receipt of the reply for the Assessing Officer to pass the fresh order under Section 148A(b). Additionally, a provision was made for the revival of the impugned order if the petitioner failed to submit the reply within the stipulated time.
Conclusion: In conclusion, the Calcutta High Court’s decision in Pawan Kumar Sharma Vs Union of India underscores the significance of adhering to procedural requirements in income tax assessments. The court’s intervention, guided by precedent, ensures a fair opportunity for the petitioner to present their case. This judgment serves as a reminder of the importance of strict adherence to statutory timelines and procedures in matters of taxation.
FULL TEXT OF THE JUDGMENT/ORDER OF CALCUTTA HIGH COURT
Affidavit of service filed by the petitioner be kept with the record.
Heard learned advocates appearing for the parties.
By this writ petition, petitioner has challenged the impugned order dated 6th April, 2023, under Section 148A(b) of the Income Tax Act, 1961 relating to the assessment year 2019-2020 passed on the basis of notice under Section 148A (b) of the Income Tax Act dated 25th March, 2023, on the ground that there is a procedural irregularity and the impugned order has been passed in contravention of the statutory obligation of giving clear seven days time to file reply to the notice under Section 148A(b) of the Income Tax Act, 1961 by which the petitioner was asked to give reply to the same by 2nd April, 2023 which appears that seven days’ time was granted but it is the case of petitioner that no clear seven days time was granted and three holidays intervened between the aforesaid period which is an admitted position and could not be denied by learned advocate representing the respondent/revenue.
Learned advocate representing the petitioner, in support of his aforesaid contention has relied on a reported decision of this court dated 21st July, 2022 in the case of Girdhar Gopal Dalmia Vs. Union Of India reported in (2022) 141 taxmann.com 251 (Calcutta).
Considering the facts of the case and submissions of the parties and relevant provision of law, this writ petition being WPA No. 23324 of 2023 is disposed of by setting aside the aforesaid impugned order dated 6th April, 2023 and the matter is remanded back to the Assessing officer concerned to pass fresh speaking order in accordance with law after giving opportunity of hearing to the petitioner or his authorised representative and after considering the reply to the aforesaid notice under Section 148A(b) of the Income Tax Act, 1961 which shall be filed by the petitioner within two weeks from date and Assessing officer shall pass the fresh order under Section 148A(b) of the Income Tax Act, 1961 within four weeks from the date of receipt of such reply. In case of default in filing the reply by the petitioner within the time stipulated herein, the aforesaid impugned order dated 6th April, 2023 shall stand revived.
With this observation and direction this writ petition stands disposed of.