SATYANARAYANA RAJU, J. - This is an application by the assessee under section 66(3) of the Income-tax Act, questioning the correctness of the order of the Appellate Tribunal rejecting an application under section 66(1) of the Act, on the ground that it was barred by limitation.
The order of the Tribunal in the appeal is dated 11th January, 1958, and it was received by the assessee on the 31st January, 1958. An advocate of this court filed an application before the Tribunal for rectification of the order on the ground that it contained some mistakes. He sought the rectification in his favour, but eventually on the 11 March, 1958, a rectification was made by the Tribunal which was in fact against the assessee. Thereafter, on the 31st March, 1958, an application was presented on behalf of the assessee requiring the Tribunal to refer to the High Court certain questions of law as arising out of the order. This application was not signed by the assessee but was signed by the Advocate who filed vakalat on behalf of the assessee in the rectification proceeding. The Tribunal drew the attention of the assessee to the alleged defect, in the application not being signed by an advocate properly authorised, and finally the assessee presented another application on 6th May, duly signed by him. The Tribunal held that the latter application was filed thirty-seven days beyond the period of sixty days provided by section 66(1) of the Act. It was contended before the Tribunal that as the advocate had filed the vakalat in the rectification proceeding, it should be taken that he had an authority to sign the application for reference also. The Tribunal negatived this connection holding that the vakalat filed by the advocate did not contain the necessary authority to sign the application.
It has been held by a Division Bench of the Madras High Court consisting of Satyanarayana Rao and Rajagopalan, JJ., in Subramanian Chettiar v. Commissioner of Income-tax : 24ITR89(Mad) that it was not necessary that an application under section 66(1) should be signed both by the assessee as well as the advocate and that all that the law requires is that there must be the signature of either the assessee or his authorised representative.
The principle of this decision was followed by a Division bench of this High Court consisting of Subba Rao, C.J., and Jaganmohan Reddy, J., in Satyanarayanamurthi v. Income-tax Appellate Tribunal
This view has not been accepted by some of the Other High Courts; but we are bound by the decision of the Madras High Court and the decision of this court. So far as this point is concerned, therefore, there is no difficulty.
The question, however, raised by the counsel for the Department is that the vakalat filed by the advocate was not in the original appeal but in the rectification proceeding and that this would not, therefore, enable the advocate to sign the application under section 66(1) of the Act. The material part of the vakalat filed by the advocate in the proceeding for rectification reads :
'I, petitioner in the above petition do hereby appoint, and retain........ advocate of the High Court to appear for me in the above petition and to conduct and prosecute (or defend) the same and all proceedings that may be taken in respect of any application connected with the same or any decree or order passed therein.'
The contents of the vakalat-form are very comprehensive. The assessee gave authority thereunder to the advocate to appear not only in the rectification proceedings but 'in all proceeding connected with the same or any order passed therein.' The application for reference under section 66(1) cannot be said to be unconnected with the application for rectification. Both arise out of the same proceedings and on the language of the vakalat-form, we must hold that it would comprehend the application under section 66(1) also.
Having regard to the construction which we have placed on the terms of the vakalat, we hold that the order of the Appellate Tribunal is unsustainable. The Appellate Tribunal will treat the application as made within time as required under section 66(1) and dispose it of in accordance with law. We make no order as to costs.