O. Chinnappa Reddy, J.
1. For the assessment year 1966-67, a notice under Section 139(2) was issued on May 2, 1966, and served on the assessee on June 24, 1966. The return was required to be filed on or before July 24, 1966. The assessee, however, submitted his return on June 27, 1967. After June 24, 1966, and before June 27, 1967, he had filed some applications before the Income-tax Officer seeking extension of time for furnishing the return. No orders were passed on those applications. The Income-tax Officer levied a penalty of Rs. 6,145 under Section 271(1)(a) of the Income-Act for the failure of the assessee to file a return. On appeal, the Appellate Assistant Commissioner held that the assessee could be penalised for not filing the return from 30th March, 1967, and not earlier as he had sought extension up to March 30, 1967, by the various applications filed by him. On that basis, he reduced the penalty to Rs. 349. The department preferred an appeal to the Appellate Tribunal. The Tribunal was of the view that the assessee not having filed applications for extension before the prescribed time, the applications were invalid. Therefore, the Tribunal held that the assessee was liable to pay penalty from the original date on which he had to submit his return. At the instance of the assessee, the following two questions have been referred to us for our decision:
'1. Whether, on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, the Tribunal was right in holding that the applications for extension of time filed by the assessee after due date of the return of income were invalid ?
2. Whether, on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, the imposition of penalty under Section 271(1)(a) was justified in law ?'
2. The proviso to Section 139(2) enables an Income-tax Officer, in his discretion, on an application made in the prescribed manner, to extend the date for furnishing a return. It is not disputed that the assessee filed his applications in the prescribed form. In the form prescribed, the words used ' it is not possible are -------------------------------- for me/us to file the return before the saidit had not been possibledate'. The prescribed form clearly shows that the application for extension of time may be filed even after the expiry of the period prescribed for filing the return. The learned counsel for the department urged that the word 'extend' used in the proviso to Section 139(2) implied that the application for, extension should be filed within the time originally prescribed. We do not think that such a result follows from the use of the word 'extend'. The proviso does not contain any limitation to that effect. We are, therefore, of the view that the application for extension of time can be made even after the prescribed period. We, therefore, answer the first question referred to us in the negative. In view of our answer to the first question it is not necessary to give any answer to the second question. The Tribunal will have to consider the question whether, on the facts and circumstances, the imposition of penalty was justified. No costs.