Sambasiva Rao, C.J.
1. These five wealth-tax cases have been preferred by the revenue. They relate to imposition of penalty on a wealth-tax assessee for the assessment years 1964-65 to 1969-70,
2. The question which the revenue unsuccessfully tried to persuade the Tribunal to refer to this court and which they now want this court to direct the Tribunal to do so is :
'Whether, on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, fresh notices affording an opportunity to the assessee of being heard were necessary under the statute ?'
3. That such a notice is necessary has been held by a Division Bench of this court in Anantha Naganna Chetty v. CIT : 78ITR743(AP) . The Division Bench held that such a notice is necessary while construing Section 5(7C) of the Indian I.T. Act of 1922, which, for all practical purposes, corresponds to Section 129 of the 1961 Act. As has happened in Anantha Naganna Chetty's case, here also a new officer without issuing a fresh notice completed the penalty proceedings and imposed the penalty. Following Anantha Naganna Chetty's case, the Tribunal held that notice was essential when there was a change in the officer and, therefore, the imposition of penalty could not be upheld. It was in respect of this decision that the above question is now sought to be referred to this court.
4. Sri Rama Rao, learned standing counsel fur the revenue, tries to distinguish the above decision of this court but we find that it is on all fours. Further we are in full agreement with the view expressed by the Division Bench there because in our view without a fresh notice by the succeeding officer, the assessee may not be able to know that there was a change in the officer and that thereby an occasion has arisen for him to exercise the right which is conferred on him under the proviso to Section 129.
5. Since the matter is covered by a binding decision, we refuse to call for a statement and direct the Tribunal to refer the question to this court.
6. In the result, all the five wealth-tax cases are dismissed. There will be no order as to costs.