In the view we are taking of the preliminary objection in this case, it is not necessary to give any but the main facts.
The Income-tax Investigation Commission started a case against the petitioner, in which the latter offered a settlement and agreed that 'in case any other item of income comes to light in the future, the Commission shall be free to report the same and the Department to assess it in accordance with law.' The Commission favourably considered the terms and recommended that no proceedings by way of penalty or prosecution be taken against him. The order of the Commission is exhibit P-2 and the application for settlement exhibit P-1. The Central Government having accepted he terms and conditions of settlement, they were ordered to be recorded under section 8-A of the Taxation on Income (Investigation Commission) Act, and the case to be disposed of by the Commission. This was on September 29, 1950.
On August 5, 1954, the Income-tax Officer, Special Circle I, Nagpur, issued seven notices under section 34(1A) of the Indian Income-tax Act, 1922, for the assessment years 1941-42 to 1947-48 (both inclusive). These cases of the petitioner were then transferred to the Income-tax Officer, Central Circle XIII, Calcutta, by an order of the Central Board of Revenue under section 5(7A) of the Income-tax Act on August 25, 1954. While the matter was pending there, the Central Board of Revenue passed another order on January 22, 1955, under section 5(7A) of the Act transferring the cases to the Income-tax Officer, Central Circle V, New Delhi. Proceedings are pending before the last Officer at Delhi and action on the notices issued on August 5, 1954, is being taken by him.
The present petition was filed on September 16, 1955 and was directed against all the three officers above-named and the Union of India. It questioned the legality of the action taken and asked that the notices under section 34(1A) and 34(1)(a) be quashed. It also sought similar relief against two notices under section 34 of the Income-tax Act issued by the Income-tax Officer, Central Circle V, New Delhi, for the years 1948-49 and 1949-50 and seven others under section 15 of the Excess Profits Tax Act 1940, for the years 1941-42 to 1948-49 by the Excess Profits Tax Officer, Central Circle V, New Delhi. The Union of India was subsequently given up.
The Income-tax Officer, Special Circle I, Nagpur, stated on affidavit that the only proceedings pending before him were under section 34 of the Income-tax Act, 1922, as applied to Raigarh State for the assessment years 1948-49 and 1949-50. Since none of the cases in which interference was sought was pending before him, he requested that he be discharged. The Income-tax Officer, Central circle V, who also happens to be the Excess Profits Tax Officer, claimed that there was no jurisdiction in this court to deal with these cases.
The preliminary objection centered round this point. Shri Adhikari (Advocate-General), who appeared for the petitioner, did not press that the two notices under section 34 of the Income-tax Act and the seven notices under section 15 of the Excess Profits Tax Act could be quashed here. He said that it was possible to hold that that matter was not within the jurisdiction of this court. He contended, however, that the seven notices issued by the Income-tax Officer, Special Circle I, Nagpur, could be brought before this court and quashed. He relied upon the observations of the Supreme Court in Hari Vishnu Kamath v. Syed Ahmad Ishaque, that certiorari issues against the record and the author of the notices being within the jurisdiction of this court, he should justify his action and if necessary obtain the record of the cases to do so. The objectors rely upon the analysis of the case and the observations in the Full Bench case reported in Surajmal v. State of M.P. The objectors also contend that even the Income-tax Officer, Special Circle I, Nagpur, is not within the jurisdiction of this court.
There can be no doubt that none of the three officers, against whose action writs are asked, are within the jurisdiction of this court. They are permanently located and normally carry on their activities elsewhere. In view of the observations of their Lordships in Election Commission, India v. Saka Venkata Subba Rao the writs of this court cannot run to them. This was also the view in Surajmal v. State of M.P. In view of this, we must hold that we have no jurisdiction in these cases even if the notices were first issued by the Income-tax Officer, Special Circle I, Nagpur.
The learned Advocate-General next relied upon section 59(4) of the States Reorganisation Act. That section in terms does not apply to the case in hand. It covers -
(b) applications for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court,
(c) applications for review, and
(d) other proceedings, where any such proceedings seek any relief in respect of any orders passed by the High Court at Nagpur before the appointed day (November 1, 1956).
It is clear enough that the present case does not belong to any of the categories mentioned above.
The petition thus fails and is dismissed with costs. Counsels fee Rs. nil as no certificate is filed.