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Case Law Details

Case Name : Rajbir Singh Vs PCIT (ITAT Chandigarh)
Appeal Number : ITA No. 406/CHD/2022
Date of Judgement/Order : 21/11/2022
Related Assessment Year : 2011-12
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Rajbir Singh Vs PCIT (ITAT Chandigarh)

It is seen that the said order is faulted with on the ground that Rs.3,37,500/- has been deposited after a gap of few months and the discrepancy in the date on which the buffaloes were sold which as per reply of the assessee has been noticed to be 10.05.2010 and as per the affidavit of Shri Satish Kumar is alleged to be October,2010. It is also seen that the ld. PCIT has adversely noticed the fact that the AO has not maintained any Office Note. Addressing the lack of Office Note first, we find that the absence of an Office Note made by the AO by itself cannot be said to be valid reason warranting the exercise of the Revisionary powers in the facts of the present case. The ld. PCIT fails to bring out the fact what he would have wanted to be included in the Office Note, the absence of which can lead to the conclusion that the order is erroneous and prejudicial to the interests of the Revenue. Accordingly, we find that nothing much turns on this alleged shortcoming noticed by the ld. PCIT in the facts of the present case. We further on a careful consideration of facts as set out in the impugned order and hold that the delay in depositing the money admittedly received as a gift from his brother by the assessee where the gift and source of the gift is not disturbed even today, the assessment order cannot be considered to be either erroneous or prejudicial to the interests of the Revenue. We further hold that enquiries whether the buffaloes were sold in October,2010 or on 10.05.2010 where Shri Satish Kumar the purchaser has affirmed the purchase and payment on this possible typographical errors, nothing much turns. We have seen that his source of payment stands examined by the AO and is not rebutted by the ld. PCIT in the facts of the present case. These facts available to the Revisionary Authority remain unrebutted on record. The assessment order passed cannot be upset without pointing to such an error which can be termed to be prejudicial to the interests of the Revenue. Considering the doubts raised by the ld. PCIT and considering the evidences on record, we find that the impugned order fails to point out the error which is seen to be erroneous as well as prejudicial to the interests of the Revenue. The manner in which the assessment order is written and the Office Note is required to be maintained are procedures which are internal to the Tax Authorities wherein the assessee has no role to play. Thus, merely because the AO has not maintained any Office Note, the assessee cannot be burdened for the said lapse. It is for the Tax Authorities to put their house in order and ensure that as per the settled standard procedures, orders are passed. For exercising the Revisionary Powers, the ld. PCIT necessarily needs to meet the twin conditions of pointing out the error in the order sought to be set aside or the prejudice caused to the Revenue by the said assessment order. In the facts of the present case, we find no such effort. On facts we find that the issues have been enquired into at length by the AO and the orders cannot be set aside on mere whims and fancies of the Revisionary Authority. The Revisionary Authority is mandated to set out the error and that too such an error which is prejudicial to the interests of the Revenue as in the absence of the said factual finding, the legal mandate is very clear as then the order is an arbitrary exercise of power and cannot be sustained.

7. Before parting, we would like to address the argument advanced on behalf of the Revenue namely that it is mere set aside of the assessment order and no prejudice can be said to be caused to the assessee as he is still free to argue his case before the AO. We find that such a submission on facts cannot be accepted. The Tax Authorities cannot expect the citizens/taxpayers to set aside their daily engagement with life and everything else which is involved therein and to run and ensure that they are present before the authorities to defend a validly passed assessment order. Once an assessment order is passed after due enquiries, a vested right is created in favour of the assessee. The said vested right can be upset by the Revisionary Authority only after fulfilling the legal mandate and following due procedures of law. The mandate is very clear. In order to exercise the power to set aside the order, the Revisionary Authority necessarily ought to show that the order passed is erroneous as well as prejudicial to the interests of the Revenue. On a careful consideration of the macro and the micro view, we believe that the time has come when we cannot avoid a serious introspection. With utmost humbleness and humility at our command, we suggest that the Tax Authorities should stop functioning with the colonial mindset dispensing justice to the colonies. The exercise of powers specifically the Revisionary Powers are expected to be used with utmost care and attention as the vested right of the citizen/taxpayer cannot be permitted to be impacted adversely by an order passed on whims. The assessee in the facts of the present case is seen to be an agriculturist drawing income from sale of milk of buffaloes at the relevant point of time and like any other citizen of the country deserves to be considered fairly. The authorities including the Tax Authorities under the Government of India exist in a republican democracy function for the benefit of the citizens. The mindset of working under a colonial Rule administering the colonies is no longer acceptable. An assessee who is in possession of a validly passed assessment order cannot be required to again face the AO to support the return filed.

FULL TEXT OF THE ORDER OF ITAT CHANDIGARH

The present appeal has been filed by the assessee assailing the correctness of the order dated 10.03.2021 of Pr.CIT, Rohtak pertaining to 201 1-12 assessment year on the following grounds :

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