1. By this reference under Section 256(1) of the I.T. Act, 1961 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act'), the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal, Indore Bench, has referred the following question of law to this court for its opinion:
'Whether the learned Tribunal was correct in law in holding that the date on which the ITO received the directions from the IAC under Section 144B is the date to be counted for limitation in view of Expln. 1 of Clause (iv) to Section 153 of the Act, 1961, and not the date on which the IAC issues the order for directions to the ITO ?'
2. The material facts giving rise to this reference briefly are as follows :
3. The assessee is assessed in the status of an individual and the assessment year in question is 1976-77. In pursuance of the provisions of Section 144B of the Act, the IAC, Range II, Indore, had issued directions on September 5, 1979, to the ITO, ' B ' Ward, Ratlam, and accordingly the ITO passed the assessment order on September 21, 1979. When the matter came up before the Tribunal, it was urged on behalf of the asses-see that the period of limitation for passing the assessment order has expired. That contention was rejected by the Tribunal. Hence, at the instance of the assessee, the Tribunal has referred the aforesaid question of law to this court for its opinion.
4. Now, it is not disputed on behalf of the assessee that the period of limitation, as provided by Section 153(I)(a)(iii) of the Act, would have to be read with Clause (iv) of Expln, 1 to Section 153 of the Act. In the instant case, the ITO received the directions from the IAC on September 5, 1979, and the ITO passed the order on September 21, 1979. Thus, the order passed by the ITO was not barred by limitation. In view of the wording of Clause (iv) of Expln. 1 to Section 153 of the Act, the Tribunal was justified in holding that the relevant date was the date on which the ITO received the directions from the IAC under Section 144B(4) of the Act and not the date on which the IAC issued the directions to the ITO.
5. For all these reasons, our answer to the question referred to us is in the affirmative and against the assessee. In the circumstances of the case, the parties shall bear their own costs of this reference.