We have heard learned counsel for the parties at length and all these matters can be disposed of by a short order.
We find that the High Courts in all these cases have dismissed the writ petitions preferred by the appellant/assessee herein challenging the issuance of notice under Section 148 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 and the reasons which were recorded by the Assessing Officer for reopening the assessment. These writ petitions are dimsissed by the High Courts as not maintainable. The aforesaid view taken is contrary to the law laid down by this Court in Calcutta Discount Limited Company vs. Incom Tax Officer, Companies District I, Calcutta & Anr. [(1961) 41 ITR 191 (SC)]. We, thus, set aside the impugned judgments and remit the cases to the respective High Courts to decide the writ petitions on merits.
We may make it clear that this Court has not made any observations on the merits of the cases, i.e. the contentions which are raised by the appellant challenging the move of the Income Tax Authorities to re-open the assessment. Each case shall be examined on its own merits keeping in view the scope of judicial review while entertaining such matters, as laid down by this Court in various judgments.
We are conscious of the fact that the High Court has referred to the Judgment of this Court in Commissioner of Income Tax and others vs. Chhabil Dass Agarwal, [(2013) ITR 357 (SC)]. We find that the principle laid down in the said case does not apply to these cases.
During the pendency of these appeals, stay of re-assessment was granted, which shall continue till the disposal of the writ petitions before the High Courts.