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Dulal Chand Pramanick Vs. Commissioner of Income-tax and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectDirect Taxation
CourtOrissa High Court
Decided On
Case NumberO.C.J. No. 473 of 1970
Judge
Reported in[1972]84ITR720(Orissa); (1971)ILLJ48Ori
ActsIncome Tax Act, 1961 - Sections 264(1)
AppellantDulal Chand Pramanick
RespondentCommissioner of Income-tax and anr.
Appellant AdvocateB.K. Mohanty, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateStanding Counsel
Cases ReferredAmilal Agrawalla v. Commissioner of Income
Excerpt:
.....1993 (2) glr 430 and new india assurance co. ltd. v smt rita devi, 1997(2) glt 406, approved. new india assurance co. ltd. v birendra mohan de, 1995 (2) gau lt 218 (db) and union of india v smt gita banik, 1996 (2) glt 246, are not good law]. - it is well-known that many irrelevant things are mentioned in written submissions and, moreover, a judge might not properly appreciate the implication of relevant submissions given in writing. the argument, therefore, constitutes an integral part of the principles of natural justice and more so in the case of administrative tribunals who function like judicial officers working in open court......stated that a letter was sent to the petitioner on 19th of september, 1969, requesting him to make written submissions in support of the grounds taken by him in the revision application. the petitioner did not respond to that letter. a second letter was, therefore, sent to him on 28th of january, 1970, calling upon him to support his grounds by written submissions. the petitioner sent written submissions in a letter despatched on 30th of january, 1970. the commissioner of income-tax disposed of the revision application after having taken into consideration the written submissions, but no date was fixed for hearing either the party or his advocate.2. mr. misra, the learned standing counsel for the income-tax department, contends that once written submissions were entertained in relation.....
Judgment:

G.K. Misra, C.J.

1. Though a large many facts were pleaded in the writ application, it is not necessary to mention them in detail as the point arising in the case lies in a narrow compass. The short point is that the Commissioner of Income-tax while hearing the revision did not give an opportunity to the party of being heard. The correct facts are given in paragraph 8 of the counter-affidavit filed on behalf of the Commissioner of Income-tax. It is stated that a letter was sent to the petitioner on 19th of September, 1969, requesting him to make written submissions in support of the grounds taken by him in the revision application. The petitioner did not respond to that letter. A second letter was, therefore, sent to him on 28th of January, 1970, calling upon him to support his grounds by written submissions. The petitioner sent written submissions in a letter despatched on 30th of January, 1970. The Commissioner of Income-tax disposed of the revision application after having taken into consideration the written submissions, but no date was fixed for hearing either the party or his advocate.

2. Mr. Misra, the learned standing counsel for the income-tax department, contends that once written submissions were entertained in relation to the grounds mentioned in the revision application, adequate opportunity was given and there was no violation of the principles of natural justice. This contention has no substance. It is well-known that many irrelevant things are mentioned in written submissions and, moreover, a judge might not properly appreciate the implication of relevant submissions given in writing. It sometimes happens that despite clear arguments advanced by the advocates, the judges need further assistance for clear thinking. Written submission is, therefore, no substitute for an oral argument whereby there is interchange of thought between the judge and the advocate. The argument, therefore, constitutes an integral part of the principles of natural justice and more so in the case of administrative Tribunals who function like judicial officers working in open court. While we cannot go to the extent of saying that the Commissioner of Income-tax did not take into consideration all that could be considered, we were unable to agree with the learned standing counsel that he would not have taken a different view if a properly constituted argument would have been advanced before him. We have, therefore, no hesitation in saying that a written submission cannot be substituted for an oral argument before the Income-tax Commissioner who should have fixed a date for hearing and given an opportunity to the party to say what he had got to say through his counsel.

3. The point is no longer res integra. It is concluded by the Supreme Court decision in Dwarka Nath v. Income-tax Officer, Special Circle, D-Ward, Kanpur, [1965] 57 I.T.R. 349; [1965] 3 S.C.R. 536 (S.C.). The revision in that case was under Section 33A(2) of the Indian Income-tax Act, 1922. Both Sub-sections (1) and (2) of Section 33A of the old Act correspond to Section 264(1) of the Income-tax Act, 1961. The wordings are almost identical. The principle laid down in the aforesaid decision, therefore, applies even to a case where the revision was filed by the party. We had enunciated the aforesaid position of law in O.J.C. No. 324 of 1965, Venilal Dwarkadas Mehta v. Commissioner of Income-tax [1972] 84 I.T.R, 722 (infra) disposed of on August 6, 1969 and O.J.C. No. 966, Amilal Agrawalla v. Commissioner of Income-tax [1972] 84 I.T.R, 723 (infra) of 1969, disposed of on May 8, 1970.

4. On the aforesaid analysis, we are of opinion that the Commissioner of Income-tax should have fixed a date for hearing of the case. It is always open to the parties to present their case through a counsel. As this opportunity had not been given, the impugned order of the Income-tax Commissioner cannot be supported. We accordingly quash the impugnedorder and remand the case to the Income-tax Commissioner for disposal of the revision application in accordance with law and the aforesaid observations. The writ application is allowed ; but, in the circumstances, there will be no order as to costs.

B.C. Das, J.

5. I agree.


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