1. By these reference applications, presented on 16-2-1983 and made under Section 27(1) of the Wealth-tax Act, 1957 ('the Act'), the Commissioner, requires the Tribunal to draw up statements of the cases and refer to the Hon'ble High Court of Delhi, for its esteemed opinion, the following common question in relation to all the years under reference, claiming it to be a question of law and said to arise out of the order dated 30-10-1982 made in Miscellaneous Application No. 218 (Delhi) of 1981 arising out of WT Appeal Nos. 1729 to 1733 (Delhi) of 1980 in relation to the assessment years 1971-72 to 1975-76 decided vide orders dated 12-11-1981 : Whether, on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, the Tribunal is justified in recalling back the order which had been decided on merit and after due consideration of all the facts, to be decided again especially in view of well settled proposition of law that the Tribunal has no jurisdiction to review or reverse its earlier order as it had lost seisin of the case when it remanded it 2. We have since heard Shri R.N. Dave, learned senior departmental representative, as also Shri G.C. Sharma, learned senior Advocate, at length. Our order dated 30-10-1982, made in miscellaneous application, reads as under : This miscellaneous application has been filed by the assessee, contending that on the date of hearing since she was out of India and there has been no proper opportunity of being heard, hence the order of the Tribunal be recalled and an opportunity of being heard be granted to the assessee.
We have perused the records and feel satisfied that there has been no opportunity of being heard to the assessee since there has been no valid service of notice within the meaning of Section 41 of the Wealth-tax Act, 1957, hence, order dated 12-11-1981 made in WT Appeal Nos. 1729 to 1733 (Delhi) of 1980 is recalled.
3. Regular WT Appeal Nos. 1729 to 1733 (Delhi) of 1980 were decided by Bench 'A' of the Tribunal, Delhi Benches, ex parte. The miscellaneous petition by the assessee was accepted and our order dated 12-11-1981 mentioned above stood recalled, since there has been no valid service of notice within the meaning of Section 41 of the Act on the assessee.
The appeals have to be decided by the Tribunal in accordance with the law and the powers are conferred on the Tribunal because of its duty to do justice and law enjoins upon the Tribunal to do justice in accordance with the law and since under the provisions of the Act, it was obligatory on the part of the Tribunal to give a hearing to the assessee and there being no such hearing, as there has been no valid service of notice on the assessee, the assessee could not have been condemned unheard, hence, to undo a wrong and to do justice, the Tribunal felt bound to recall its order so as the assessee could have a reasonable opportunity of being heard.
4. Since there has been no valid service of notice on the assessee, there was a mistake apparent from record rather we will say there has been an inherent lack of jurisdiction in deciding the appeals ex parte.
Natural justice demands that there should be a chance of answering to the parties and it also requires that the Tribunal, the Court or the authority whosoever is vested with the duty to do justice, should act fairly and the Tribunal, recalled its order made in regular appeals, in exercise of powers vested in it by the statute, viz., of the Act. The Tribunal, as such, has not exercised its powers to review any order, but has exercised its inherent powers to undo a wrong.
5. In view of the above facts, the order of the Tribunal does not involve any issue of law, much less, gives rise to any question of law, with the result, that we decline to draw up statement of the cases and the consequential effect is, that all the reference applications, stand rejected.