The Honourable High Court has set aside the impugned assessment order for de-novo completion, holding it to be in breach of the principle of natural justice as the order was made prior to the elapse of time granted to respond to show cause notice (SCN), the impugned order of assessment has come to be passed on the same day.
The impugned order is thus set aside. The petitioner will file its response to show cause notice within a period of two weeks from today and the assessment shall be completed de novo within a period of six (6) weeks from today, after hearing the petitioner.
FULL TEXT OF THE HIGH COURT ORDER /JUDGEMENT
Mr.ANR.Jayaprathap, learned Junior Standing Counsel, who accepts notice for the respondents, has been served with the copy of the Writ Petition and its annexures and hence is aware of the issue raised as well as the dates and sequence of events that have transpired in this matter. Thus, by consent of both sides, this Writ Petition is disposed finally even at the stage of admission.
2. The challenge is to order of assessment dated 23.03.2021 relating to assessment year 2018-19 passed in terms of the provisions of the Income Tax Act, 1961 (in short ‘Act’). The short point agitated is the gross violation of principles of natural justice.
3. Pre-assessment notice dated 19.03.2021 was issued calling upon the petitioner to show cause why assessment should not be completed in line with the draft assessment order under the faceless assessment scheme. In conclusion, the petitioner was called upon to submit his response by 23:59 hours of 23.03.2021. However, even prior to the elapse of time granted, the impugned order of assessment has come to be passed on the same day, i.e., 23.03.2021, one assumes during the working hours. Hence, there is a violation of principles of natural justice writ large of the document.
4. One need hardly refer to the decision of the learned single Judge of this Court in the case of S.Velupalandar V. Deputy Commercial Tax Officer (83 ITR 683), wherein this Court has stated that it was incumbent upon an Officer to wait till the end of the working day when the matter had been posted to finalize proceedings. This is an even better case than in the matter of Velupalandar (supra), since the Assessing Officer had himself granted time till 23:59 hours on 23.03.2021.
5. The impugned order is thus set aside. The petitioner will file its response to show cause notice dated 19.03.2021 within a period of two weeks from today and the assessment shall be completed de novo within a period of six (6) weeks from today, after hearing the petitioner.
6. This Writ Petition is disposed in the aforesaid terms. No costs. Connected Miscellaneous Petitions are closed.