This writ petition has been filed, challenging the levy of fees under Section 234E of the Income Tax Act, for the financial year 2012-13 on the ground that the provisions of Section 234E of the Act can operate only prospectively, i.e, with effect from 01.06.2015 and not in respect of any earlier period.
2. Learned counsel appearing for the petitioner would submit that though a statutory appeal was filed, the same has also been rejected. Learned counsel appearing for the petitioner further submits that this issue is covered by the judgment of this Court in W.P.(C.) No.1259 of 2022, where this Court held as follows:-
7. In the decision in M/s.Sarala Memorial Hospital v. Union of India and Another (W.P.(C) No.37775 of 2018) an identical question arose for consideration. After considering the statutory provisions of section 234E and section 200A of the Act and the implications of the amendment brought in to the Act, it was held that the amendment would take effect only from 1st June, 2015 and is thus prospective in nature. The aforesaid judgment has become final and is binding upon the authorities. Thus the jurisdiction to levy late fee under section 234E arises only from 01-06.2015 and not earlier.
8. As regards the contention on the delay, though the said contention was impressive on first blush, it can be seen that the nature of challenge raised by the petitioner is based upon the lack of jurisdiction of the respondents to impose late fee. Since in matters where total lack of jurisdiction is alleged, delay cannot be relied upon as a ground to deny the relief, this Court is of the view that the objections of the respondents are without any basis.
9. Further the decisions cited are distinguishable on the facts of those cases itself. In the decision in Digambar’s case (supra), the delay of 20 years in approaching the High Court for grant of compensation for alleged utilization of the land was held as a decisive factor to disentitle the petitioner therein. Similarly in G.C.Gupta ‘s case (supra) the issue related to seniority and petitioners challenged the orders of confirmation and determination of inter se seniority only after 15 years. In the decision in Bhailal Bhai’s case (supra) the question related to refund of tax claimed belatedly. None of those cases related to a total lack of jurisdiction or authority.
10. In view of the above, the demand in Ext.P1 to Ext.P9 intimations for the period from 2012-13 to 2014-15 is bereft of authority and cannot be legally sustainable.’’
3. Learned Standing Counsel appearing for the respondent-Department fairly submits that in respect of the periods prior to 01.06.2015, the issue stands covered by the judgment of this Court in W.P.(C.) No.1259 of 2022.
Having regard to the aforesaid submissions and being in full agreement with the view taken by this Court in W.P. (C.) No.1259 of 2022, this writ petition is allowed. Exts.P1, P2 and P3 intimations are quashed to the extent, they demand fee under Section 234E of the Income Tax Act.