1. The petitioner, an income-tax assessee, has impugned the order, annexure P-3, of the Commissioner of Income-tax passed in exercise of powers under Section 273A of the I.T. Act, 1961 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act'), on the ground that the Commissioner did not indicate the reasons for not wholly waiving the penalty impossible under Section 271(1)(a) or interest under Section 217 of the Act even though he was satisfied that the case fell within the ambit of Section 273A of the Act. Relevant provisions of Section 273A are in the following terms :--
'273A Power to reduce or waive penalty, etc., in certain cases.--Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, the Commissioner may, in his discretion, whether on his own motion or otherwise,--
(i) reduce or waive the amount of penalty imposed or imposable on a person under Clause (i) of Sub-section (1) of Section 271 for failure, without reasonable cause, to furnish the return of total income which he was required to furnish under Sub-section (1) of Section 139 ; or
(ii) reduce or waive the amount of penalty imposed or imposable on a person under Clause (iii) of Sub-section (1) of Section 271 ; or
(iii) reduce or waive the amount of interest paid or payable under Sub-section (8) of Section 139 or Section 215 or Section 217 or the penalty imposed or imposable under Section 273.
if he is satisfied that such person--
(a) in the case referred to in Clause (i) has, prior to the issue of a notice to him under Sub-section (2) of Section 139, voluntarily and in good faith made full and true disclosure of his income;
(b) in the case referred to in Clause (ii), has, prior to the detection by the Income-tax Officer, of the concealment of particulars income or of the inaccuracy of particulars furnished in respect of such income, voluntarily and in good faith, made full and true disclosure of such particulars;
(c) in the cases referred to in Clause (iii), has, prior to the issue of a notice to him under Sub-section (2) of Section 139, or where no such notice has been issued and the period for the issue of such notice has expired, prior to the issue of notice to him under Section 148, voluntarily and in good faith made full and true disclosure of his income and has paid the tax on the income so disclosed ;
and also has, in all the cases referred to in Clauses (a), (b) and (c), co-operated in any enquiry relating to the assessment of his income and has either paid or made satisfactory arrangements for the payment of any tax or interest payable in consequence of an order passed under this Act in respect of the relevant assessment year............'
A perusal of the aforesaid provision would show that the Commissioner is given the discretion when the requisite conditions envisaged by Section 273A are satisfied that he may waive or reduce the penalty or interest imposable under the given sections of the Act. However, even when the requisite grounds are made out for the exercise of discretion under Section 273A, it is not incumbent upon the Commissioner to exercise his discretion to give relief and he does not have to give reasons either while declining relief or giving only partial relief. He has, however, to give reasons when he exercises his discretion in order to give relief.
2. Learned counsel for the petitioner has cited a judgment of the Supreme Court in Travancore Rayons Ltd. v. Union of India, AIR 1971 SC 862, in support of his submission that the Commissioner should have given reasons for declining to give full relief. The ratio of the said decision in my opinion is not attracted to the exercise of the power under Section 273A. Section 273A gives discretion to the Commissioner to give relief or not to give relief at all or to give only partial relief. In working out the provisions of this kind, certain amount of arbitrariness is, in any case, inherent. The Commissioner is not expected to give reasons as to why in a given case he has given only 1/4th, 2/3rds or 3/4ths relief.
3. For the reasons aforementioned, I find no merit in this petition and dismiss the same. No costs.