Going back to the time when this pandemic has started and India has seen its first-ever lockdown in the month of March 2020, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in the wake of Covid-19 situation and in the interest of taxpayers, has taken the cognizance of the matter and extended the period of limitation for filing of petitions, applications, suits, appeals, and all other proceedings vide its order dated 23 March 2020. The said order dated 23 March 2020 has been further extended several times due to the unprecedented situation.

Though the pandemic has not came to an end, but there was considerable improvement seen, thereby expecting the situation will be returning to normalcy, the Hon’ble Supreme Court on 08 March 2021, almost a year after, opined to withdraw the above-stated order dated 23 March 2020 in a phased manner.

The Apex Court vide its order dated 08 March 2021 has directed to exclude the period from 15 March 2020 to 14 March 2021 while computing the period of limitation of any appeal, suit, application, or proceedings. Furthermore, it has been directed that in cases where the limitation has been expired from 15 March 2020 to 14 March 2021, a fresh period of 90 days from 15 March 2021 shall stand extended. Thereby, extending the period up to 13 June 2021.

Thereafter, due to the outbreak of the second wave of Covid-19, a Miscellaneous Application seeking restoration of the original order dated 23 March 2020, has been filed. Taking the cognizance of the matter, on 27 April 2021, in continuation of the order dated 08 March 2021, the Hon’ble Supreme Court has restored its original order dated 23 March 2020 and extended the time limits until further order.

CBDT Circulars on time extension:

Meanwhile, CBDT has issued a circular no. 8/2021 dated 30 April 2021 providing various relaxations in the time limits including time limitation to file an appeal to CIT(A). The time was extended to 31 May 2021.

The above-stated CBDT circular no. 8/2021 dated 30 April 2021 has created a controversy; Would the issue of parallel notification by CBDT which appears to go contradictory to the directives of SC invoking Article 141 and 142, sustainable? Or the SC directive will prevail?

To clarify the above controversy, CBDT has issued another circular no. 10/2021 dated 25 May 2021, wherein it has been clarified that if different relaxations are available to the taxpayer for particular compliance, the taxpayer is entitled to the relaxation which is more beneficial to him.

Conclusion:

Now, the taxpayer is entitled to the relaxation which is more beneficial to him and hence via hon’ble Supreme Court order dated 27 April 2021 the said limitation stands extended till further orders.

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