Skip to content


Bhawani Prasad Girdhar Lal Vs. Income-tax Officer, Central Circle, Kanpur - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectDirect Taxation
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Misc. Writ No. 349 of 1956
Judge
Reported inAIR1960All377; [1960]40ITR407(All)
ActsConstitution of India - Article 226; Income-tax Act, 1922 - Sections 34(1A)
AppellantBhawani Prasad Girdhar Lal
Respondentincome-tax Officer, Central Circle, Kanpur
Appellant AdvocateR.L. Gulati, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateJ. Swarup and ;Gopal Behari Mathur, Advs.
DispositionPetition dismissed
Excerpt:
.....- refusal to supply copies - held, not a valid ground to challenge notice. - - ' in this decision, the supreme court has thus clearly kid down that, in a case where the income-tax officer erroneously fails to assess a part of the income and does in fact assess another part of the income, it will still be a case where the said part of the income must be held to have escaped assessment. these reasons recorded have to be sent to the central board of revenue and a notice can only be issued if, on such reasons recorded, the central board of revenue is satisfied that it is a fit case for issue of such notice. in any case, we may further indicate our view that nothing has appeared in this petition to show that the failure of the income-tax officer to communicate the reasons, has, in..........34(1)(b) permitting such proceedings for assessment or reassessment to be taken in cases where the income profits or gains have been under-assessed. according to learned counsel since, the income, profits or gains of the assessee for these years have already once been assessed, notices could have been issued only on the ground that the income, profits or gains had been under-assessed and not on the ground that the income, profits or gains had escaped assessment, and there being no provision in section 34(1a) of the income-tax act for taking proceedings where income, profits or gains have been under-assessed, no notices could have been issued under that provision of law. this argument advanced by learned counsel for the petitioner actually raises the question of interpretation of the.....
Judgment:

V. Bhargava, J.

1. By this petition under Article 226 of the Constitution the petitioner has challenged the validity of a number of notices issued to him under Section 34(1A) of Income-tax Act in respect of a number of assessment orders. Under the rules of this Court, the petitioner was required to file copies of those notices which the petitioner wanted to be quashed. The petition is supported by an affidavit in which there is a mention that certain exhibits are true copies of the notices received by the petitioner but the actual exhibits, which have been attached to the affidavit, do not bear the signatures of the deponent who swore the affidavit or any other authorised agent of the petitioner.

Further, none of those exhibits bears the signature or the initials of the Oath Commissioner before whom the affidavit was sworn. The result is that these exhibits do not actually form part of the affidavit. In the absence of signatures or Initials of the Oath Commissioner, these documents could be replaced at any time after the affidavit had been sworn and before the filing of the affidavit and these documents in this Court, so that these documents serve no purpose at all. The result is that, for purposes of deciding the petition, these copies have to be ignored,

If they are ignored, it is clear that the petition is not maintainable as it does not comply with the rules of Court and, in any case, it is not possible for this Court to issue writs quashing notices without haying before it those notices either in original or in the form of copies which in some way or the other are proved to be true copies o the notices. The petition fails on this preliminary ground alone. It may, however, be mentioned that this defect was discovered by us after the hearing of the petition on merits was practically over. In the circumstances, we consider that, in passing our order of dismissal, we may also take notice of the points that were raised before us.

2. Several of the points, that have been raised in this petition to challenge the validity of the notices under Section 34(1A) of the Income-tax Act arc identical with those which came up for decision before a Full Bench of this Court in Jai Kishan Srivastava v. Income-tax Officer, Civil Misc. Writ No. 397 of 1945, decided by this Court on the 15th of May, 1959: : [1960]40ITR222(All) . On those points, the decision of the Full Bench governs this case and, consequently, it is not necessary for us to go into these points at all in this judgment. The decision of the Full Bench is clear that none of those grounds urged by the petitioner has any force and all those grounds must be rejected.

3. Besides those points, learned counsel for the petitioner in this case urged before us two other points: One point urged was that, as the notices themselves indicated, the petitioner's income for these years had already been assessed once and these notices were issued for assessment of those parts of the income which had not been assessed in the original assessment orders of these years. Learned counsel drew our attention to the language of Section 34(1A) of the Income-tax Act to point out that, in that provision of law, all that is permitted is that the Income-tax Officer may proceed to assess or reassess income in cases where he has reason to believe that income, profits or gains have escaped assessment.

There is no provision similar to that contained in Section 34(1)(a) and Section 34(1)(b) permitting such proceedings for assessment or reassessment to be taken in cases where the income profits or gains have been under-assessed. According to learned counsel since, the income, profits or gains of the assessee for these years have already once been assessed, notices could have been issued only on the ground that the income, profits or gains had been under-assessed and not on the ground that the income, profits or gains had escaped assessment, and there being no provision in Section 34(1A) of the Income-tax Act for taking proceedings where income, profits or gains have been under-assessed, no notices could have been issued under that provision of law. This argument advanced by learned counsel for the petitioner actually raises the question of interpretation of the expression 'income, profits or gains have escaped assessment.'

The point, that arises, is whether this expression only covers cases where the income, profits or gains have totally escaped assessment or also includes cases where part of the income, profits or gains have been assessed and only another part has escaped assessment. On this point, however, we think that it is not necessary for us to enter into any discussion as the Supreme Court, in a recent decision of theirs, have explained the scope of the expression 'income has escaped assessment', as used in Section 34(1)(b) of the Income-tax Act. This case is Kamal Singh v. Commissioner of Income-tax, B. and O., : [1959]35ITR1(SC) . The conclusion arrived at by their Lordships of the Supreme Court in that case on this point has been expressed in the following language:

'In our opinion, even in a case where a return has been submitted, if the Income-tax Officer erroneously fails to tax a part of assessable income, it is a case where the said part of the income has escaped assessment. The appellant's attempt to put a very narrow and artificial limitation on the meaning of the word 'escape' in Section 34(1)(b) cannot therefore succeed.'

In this decision, the Supreme Court has thus clearly kid down that, in a case where the Income-tax Officer erroneously fails to assess a part of the income and does in fact assess another part of the income, it will still be a case where the said part of the income must be held to have escaped assessment. This interpretation put by the Supreme Court is binding on this Court, so that it is not at all necessary for us to enter into any discussion for purposes of interpreting this expression. Learned counsel tried to distinguish the case of the Supreme Court on the ground that that decision relates to Section 34(1)(b) of the Income-tax Act, whereas the point raised in this petition relates to Section 34(1A) of the Act.

We do not consider that there is any distinction between these provisions of law for purposes of interpreting the expression 'income, profits or gains have escaped assessment'. In Section 34(1)(b), this expression is followed by an alternative relating to cases where 'income, profits or gains have been under-assessed'. In Section 34(1A) of the Act, no such alternative is mentioned by the -Legislature but it seems to us that this can make no difference at all so far as the interpretation of the expression actually used is concerned. If in Section 34(1)(b), where the alternative situation of income, profits, or gains being under-assessed is specifically mentioned, the expression 'income, profits or gains have escaped assessment' is interpreted as including cases where part of the income has escaped assessment, that very interpretation must necessarily be put on that expression where no such alternative is specifically mentioned by the Legislature. Consequently, the decision of the Supreme Court is fully applicable and, on its basis, this point urged by learned counsel fails.

4. The second point urged by learned counsel is that, under Section 34(1A) of the Income-tax Act, the notices could have been issued by the Income-tax Officer only after he had recorded his reasons for his belief that the income, profits or gains relating to the period mentioned in that provision of law had escaped assessment and that the income, profits or gains, which had so escaped assessment, for any such year or years amount, or are likely to amount, to one lakh of rupees or more. These reasons recorded have to be sent to the Central Board of Revenue and a notice can only be issued if, on such reasons recorded, the Central Board of Revenue is satisfied that it is a fit case for issue of such notice.

The assessee, in this case, asked the Income-tax Officer to give him copies of the reasons recorded by him and the copy of the satisfaction recorded by the Central Board of Revenue, which prayer was refused. It is urged that the proceedings before the income-tax Officer being judicial proceedings, the assessee was entitled to receive these copies and the refusal of the Income-tax Officer to supply copies resulted in injustice as it took away the opportunity which the assessee might have had to challenge the validity of the notices themselves. Reliance was placed on the decision of their Lordships of the Supreme Court in Suraj Mall Mohta and Co. v. A. V. Visvanatha, : [1954]26ITR1(SC) where the Supreme Court held that proceedings before an Income-tax Officer are judicial proceedings and, on this basis, it was urged that any party to judicial proceedings should be entitled to copies of all the documents which form part of those proceedings.

It is, however, to be noticed that in Suraj Mall Mohta's case, : [1954]26ITR1(SC) , the view of their Lordships of the Supreme Court that proceedings before an Income-tax Officer are judicial proceedings refers only to that stage when assessment of escaped or evaded income is made under Section 34 of the Income-tax Act. The language of Section 34, Sub-sections (1) and (1A) of the Income-tax Act indicates the various steps that have to be taken in those proceedings. In the case of proceedings under Section 34(1A) of the Act, the Income-tax Officer has first to record his reasons for satisfaction in respect of the requirements laid down in that sub-section. These reasons have to be submitted to the Central Board of Revenue which has then to record its satisfaction. Thereafter, the Income-tax Officer is authorised to issue a notice.

It is when, the notice has been issued that he can proceed to assess or reassess the income, profits or gains of the person to whom the notice has been issued. It is, therefore, clear that proceedings for assessment or reassessment start with the issue of the notice and it is only after the service of the notice that the person, whose, income, profits or gains are sought to be assessed or reassessed, becomes a party to those proceedings. The earlier proceedings for recording reasons for satisfaction by the Income-tax Officer and for recording satisfaction by the Central Board of Revenue are preliminary proceedings which are in the nature of administrative proceedings. In those proceedings, all that is required to be recorded is satisfaction with reasons. Reasons are for a belief of the Income-tax Officer relating to certain points and the satisfaction of the Central Board of Revenue.

In such a case, the adequacy or inadequacy of the reasons is not justiciable. All that the assessee can challenge is whether in fact the reasons for belief of the Income-tax Officer were recorded in writing and whether, thereafter, the Central Board of Revenue recorded its satisfaction. For that purpose, adequate information was given to the assessee. The assessee not being entitled to challenge the reasons for the belief or the satisfaction, there can be no point in requiring that those reasons should be communicated to the assessee. That stage of the proceedings being prior to the proceedings taking the form of judicial proceedings, the principles, which apply to judicial proceedings, will net apply to those earlier proceedings and, consequently it cannot be held that any right of the assessee was denied. In any case, we may further indicate our view that nothing has appeared in this petition to show that the failure of the Income-tax Officer to communicate the reasons, has, in any way, resulted in failure of justice.

5. The petition, therefore, has no force and is dismissed with costs which we fix at Rs. 250/-.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //