The case of Sumita Devi Vs ITO deliberated by the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) Delhi involves an appeal against an ex parte assessment order and subsequent appellate order. The appellant, a senior citizen suffering from chronic diseases, was unable to obtain an expert opinion on time due to her medical condition. This resulted in the delayed filing of her appeal to the Tribunal.
The ITAT Delhi considered the application of the appellant for condonation of a delay of 169 days in filing the appeal. The appellant’s representative argued that her chronic health issues prevented her from filing the appeal within the prescribed time limit. The representative cited the Supreme Court’s judgement in the case of Concord of India Insurance Co. Ltd Vs. Nirmala Devi as a precedent, arguing that the circumstances, supported by medical documentation, present sufficient cause for the delay.
Upon assessing the submissions, the ITAT Delhi found that the appellant’s chronic health condition, supported by medical certificates, was a valid reason for the delay in filing the appeal. Furthermore, the Tribunal noted the failure of the Assessing Officer (AO) and the Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeals) to properly adjudicate the appeal, leading to ex parte decisions.
The Tribunal concluded that the chronic health condition of the appellant not only justified the delay in filing the appeal but also resulted in the ex parte assessment and appellate orders. Therefore, ITAT Delhi condoned the delay of 169 days, admitting the appeal for hearing. Furthermore, the case was remanded back to the AO for de novo assessment, instructing that the AO should allow the appellant an appropriate opportunity to submit her explanations and relevant evidence in the interest of justice. The Tribunal’s ruling demonstrates the importance of providing appellants with due opportunities for presenting their cases, especially when external circumstances, such as health issues, impede their ability to do so within the stipulated timeframe.
FULL TEXT OF THE ORDER OF ITAT DELHI
1. This is an appeal filed by the assessee against the order of the ld CIT(A), National Faceless Appeal Centre NFAC), Delhi dated 18.05.2022 for AY 2017-18.
2. The application of assessee seeking condonation of delay of 169 days. The assessee’s representative (AR) submitted that the assessee is a senior citizen suffering from chronic diseases like migraine, P/V bleeding etc therefore, the assessee was unable to obtain expert opinion in respect of first appellate order dated 05.2020. The ld AR submitted that specifically the assessee consulted advocate Shri Ravi Gupta and filed appeal before the Tribunal by a delay of 169 days which was caused due to medical reasons which was beyond control of the assessee. Placing reliance on the judgment of Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Concord India Insurance Co. Ltd Vs. Nirmala Devi reported in 118 ITR 507 (SC), the ld AR submitted that the circumstances stated in the application supported by an affidavit dated 25.02.2023 it is clear that there were sufficient cause for the assessee which prevented her from filing appeal within the prescribed time limit and thus, it was filed appeal belatedly by 169 days therefore delay may kindly be condoned.
3. Replying to the above ld Sr. DR strongly opposed to the condonation of delay.
4. On careful consideration of the above submission I note that the assessee has filed an affidavit and medical certificate and prescription issued by Dr. SP Vij which reveals that the assessee was suffering from severe chronic diseases. In view of the above, keeping in view the fact that the assessee is a lady aged about 53 years is suffering from chronic diseases therefore, it is obvious that she could not get appropriate advice to file appeal before this Tribunal within prescribed time limit therefore, the cause shown by the assessee is sufficient cause explaining the delay. Therefore, respectfully following the judgment of Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Concord India Insurance Co. ltd (supra) the delay of 169 days in filing appeal before this Tribunal is condone, appeal is admitted for hearing.
5.Pressing into services ground Nos. 1, 2 and 3 of ld AR submitted that the AO has passed an assessment order u/s 144 of the Act and the ld CIT(A) has also passed ex parte order and dismissed the appeal of the assessee expartedly without adjudicating the grounds of appeal raised in Form No. 35 therefore, the matter may be remanded to the file of AO for fresh adjudication.
6. Replying to the above ld Sr. DR strongly supported the orders of the authorities below however, the ld SR. DR on all fairness submitted that if it is found just and proper then the department has no serious objection if the matter be restored to the file of the ld AO for de novo framing of assessment order.
7. On careful consideration of the above submission, I am of the view that while deciding the condonation petition of assessee it has already observed that the assessee was suffering with chronic diseases and therefore, he could not file appeal within prescribed time limit and this cause was continuous and thus was continuously persisting in the life of the assessee which resulted into ex parte assessment as well as ex parte first appellate order. I am humbly understand the assessee should be allowed to submit explanation and relevant documentary evidence on the issue raised by the AO in the scrutiny assessment order in the interest of justice. Therefore, the matter is restored to file of AO for de novo framing of assessment order with a direction that the AO shall pass assessment order after allowing due opportunity of hearing to the assessee and without being influenced with the earlier assessment and first appellate order.
8. In the result, appeal of the assessee is allowed for statistical
Order pronounced in the open court on 09/05/2023.