C. S. P. Singh, J. - The assessee was a registered firm. For the assessment year 1971-72, it applied for renewal. The renewal application was filed on 30-11-1971 along with the return. Earlier, the assessee had filed an application for extension of time for filing its return. The Income-tax Officer by order dated 29-11-1973 assessed the petitioner as an unregistered firm and also refused renewal of registration. The reasons given by the Income-tax Act, 1961 introduced in December 1970 the application for renewal under section 184(7) should have been filed along with the return on the due date, which in the case of the assessee was 30-9-1971, (2) that the reason given for not filing the application earlier viz. that one of its partners Shrimati Kailashwati had left for Secunderabad at the end of October 1971, was not sufficient inasmuch as Shrimati Kailashwati was present at Amroha in the month of September 1971, and secondly that she should have signed the declaration in Form No. 12 before her alleged departure. The assessee thereupon filed a revision before the Commissioner of Income-tax, Lucknow. This revision has been dismissed and the order is now impugned by way of this petition.
2. Before the Commissioner, the assessee alleged that as the law has been amended in December, 1970 requiring firms to file the declaration contemplated by section 184(7) of the Act within the time allowed under section 139 of the Act, the delay in filing the return should be condoned as it had occurred on account of inadvertence to take note of the recent amendment. Certain other contentions were raised, but it is not necessary to consider them for the purpose of this petition. The Commissioner rejected this contention on the ground that the assessee firm had the benefit of legal advice by an income-tax lawyer, and also on the score that mere ignorance of law did not constitute sufficient cause for condoning the delay. Before we consider the correctness of this view, it would be appropriate to refer to another order passed by the same Commissioner on 14-6-1975 in revision case No. 19/MBD/74/75 in the case of Messrs Khandsari Sugar Factory, Amroha. This order has been filed as Annexure 'M' to the supplementary rejoinder affidavit. In this case, the delay in filing the declaration was over two months. The Commissioner took the view that as the law had been recently amended, assessee were not fully conversant with it and as such this constituted sufficient cause for condoning the delay. The delay condoned in this case was over two months. In the case of the assessee, if the last date for filing the return is taken as 30-8-1971 the delay is just two months as the declaration was filed on 30-11-1971. We are not able to appreciate as to how the Commissioner considered the identical ground as sufficient cause for condoning the delay in one case, and took a diametrically opposite view in the case of the assessee. The Commissioner deciding Revisions under section 264 of the Act exercises a judicial function, and this being so, unless there is some distinguishing feature, there should be conformity in his decisions. In the present case, the Commissioner has also assumed that the assessee had the benefit of legal advice by an income-tax lawyer before filing declaration. Nothing on the record has been pointed out to us as to whether the assessee took legal advice before filing the declaration. This factor appears to have weighed heavily with the Commissioner in rejecting the revision. There was, however, no basis for making such an assumption. In view of these circumstances, we are unable to uphold the order of the Commissioner.
3. We accordingly allow the writ petition, quash the order of the Commissioner, and direct him to decide the revision afresh in accordance with the law and in the light of the observation made in this judgment. Parties shall bear their own costs.