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Joginder Singh Vs. Commissioner of Income-tax and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectDirect Taxation
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Writ Petition No. 1671 of 1967
Judge
Reported in[1981]128ITR14(P& H)
ActsIncome Tax Act, 1961 - Sections 124, 124(4), 124(5), 132, 132(1), 132(5), 139 and 148
AppellantJoginder Singh
RespondentCommissioner of Income-tax and anr.
Appellant Advocate G.R. Majithia, Adv.
Respondent Advocate D.N. Awasthy and; B.K. Jhingan, Advs.
Excerpt:
- sections 80 (2) & 89 & punjab motor vehicles rules, 1989, rules 85 & 80: [t.s. thakur, cj, jasbir singh & surya kant, jj] appeal against orders of state or regional transport authority imitation held, a stipulation regarding the period of limitation available for invoking the remedy shall have to be strictly construed. that is because any provision by way of limitation is in the nature of a restraint on the remedy provided under the act. so viewed two inferences are clear viz., (1) sections 80 and 89 of the act read with rule 85 of the rules make it obligatory for the authorities making the order to communicate it to the applicant concerned and (2) the period of limitation for any appeal against the order is reckonable from the date of such communication of the reasons would imply.....k.s. tiwana, j. 1. this petition under articles 226 and 227 of the constitution of india has been filed by joginder singh, petitioner, against the commissioner of income-tax, patiala, and the ito, jullundur, for quashing the warrant issued by the commissioner, patiala, under section 132 of the i.t. act and also the assessment proceedings made by the ito, respondent no. 2, against him.2. the facts of the case are that on 21st of january, 1965, joginder singh, the petitioner, was apprehended by the customs staff at bombay and rs. 1,82,500 and 82 sterling notes were recovered from his possession. after investigation, the customs authorities did not deal with the money as no offence, which could be tried by the customs authorities, was seemingly made out against the petitioner. the revenue,.....
Judgment:

K.S. Tiwana, J.

1. This petition under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India has been filed by Joginder Singh, petitioner, against the Commissioner of Income-tax, Patiala, and the ITO, Jullundur, for quashing the warrant issued by the Commissioner, Patiala, under Section 132 of the I.T. Act and also the assessment proceedings made by the ITO, respondent No. 2, against him.

2. The facts of the case are that on 21st of January, 1965, Joginder Singh, the petitioner, was apprehended by the customs staff at Bombay and Rs. 1,82,500 and 82 sterling notes were recovered from his possession. After investigation, the customs authorities did not deal with the money as no offence, which could be tried by the customs authorities, was seemingly made out against the petitioner. The revenue, through the Commissioner, respondent No. 1, on receipt of information, issued a search andseizure warrant under Section 132(1) of the Income-tax Act (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act') to seize the money. It issued notice to the petitioner to explain the source of the money. After the money was seized, the case was assigned by respondent No. 1 to respondent No. 2, as the petitioner, from the material available with respondent No. 1 up till that time, was shown to be a resident of Jullundur. Respondent No. 2 sent notices to the petitioner, out of which one was served on him by way of affixation on 14th of February, 1967, and the other on 16th of February, 1967, through the postal authorities. The petitioner then through his counsel entered appearance before respondent No. 2 on the 7th of April, 1967, and made some applications. The petitioner filed an application under Section 124(4) of the Act, questioning the jurisdiction of respondent No. 2, on 14th of April, 1967, and addressed it to respondent No. 1. This is annex. V to the petition. Note No. 2 at the foot of annex. V shows that its copy had been endorsed to the Commissioner of Income-tax, Delhi. On 19th of April, 1967, the petitioner sent a similar application, annex. U to the petition, to respondent No. 2 intimating him about his application to respondent No. 1 dated 14th of April, 1967, with a request not to proceed with the case. However, respondent No. 2, in spite of this application questioning the jurisdiction, proceeded with the case to finalise the assessment, vide orders annex. ' W'.

3. The petitioner through this petition has contested the search and seizure warrants issued under Section 132 of the Act and also the refusal of respondents Nos. 1 and 2 to comply with the provisions of Section 124(4) of the Act in not deciding his request in questioning the jurisdiction and deciding the case.

4. The respondents in their written statement admitted the facts about the detention of the petitioner at Bombay and the recovery of the amount from his possession. The proceedings before respondent No. 2 after the matter was assigned to him by respondent No. 1 were also accepted. It was pleaded that the petitioner had submitted to the jurisdiction of respondent No. 2 and with a mala fide intention to prolong the case, so that it may not be decided within the statutory time-limit of ninety days from the date of the seizure as provided in Section 132(5), filed these applications. It was averred that the petitioner had his bank accounts at Jullundur and had given his address of Jullundur to the customs authorities and that in the special power-of-attorney given by one Sarup Singh, the address of the petitioner was mentioned as 'Shri Joginder Singh, s/o Shri Karam Singh, 219, Model Town, Jullundur City'. It was further averred that the petitioner had himself stated that he was carrying on his business at Jullundur.

5. It was also stated that the petitioner never raised the question of his residence before respondent No. 2, from 14th of February, 1967, the date of service on him by way of affixation, up till 15th of April, 1967.

6. Before me the arguments were addressed on behalf of the petitioner only on two points. The first is that from the records it is not proved if respondent No. 1 before he exercised jurisdiction to issue the search and seizure warrants had such information, which could reasonably be believed to raise a suspicion about the unexplained nature of the money recovered from the petitioner. The second point urged is that the mandatory provisions of Section 124(4) of the Act, which made it obligatory on the authorities mentioned therein to decide the question of jurisdiction, as soon as it was raised were not determined by the concerned authorities before the assessment was finalized by respondent No. 2.

7. The learned counsel for the petitioner, relying on H.L. Sibal v. C1T , argued that the information with the Commissioner, before he elected to act under Section 132(1) of the Act for issuing the search and seizure warrant, if not precise and definite, must be such, on which a reasonable and prudent mind could form a conclusion in favour of issuing the warrant. He referred to the observations of the learned judges deciding this case at page 131, where the purport and extent of such an information has been dealt with. With fairness to the learned counsel for the petitioner, I may state that the facts of H. L. Sibal's case were different from the facts of the case in hand. In that case, there was no definite information about the precise nature of the things to be recovered by search and seizure. In the case in hand, the money had also been recovered by the customs authorities and the amount involved is of a sizable quantity. The I.T. authorities on that information were within their rights to ask the petitioner to explain the source of his acquisition of this huge amount of money. Even if for argument's sake it is accepted that the search and seizure warrant did not fully comply with the true requirements of the law, it would not help the petitioner, because once the revenue comes into possession of such a huge amount of money, it legitimately can call upon the possessor or the owner thereof to explain the source of his acquisition. This is the general policy governing the revenue statutes of this country and I do not think if the petitioner can take any exception to the seizure of the money by the revenue in the manner it had seized it.

8. The seizing of the money under the provisions of Section 132(1) of the Act does not necessarily mean it is confiscation. The revenue, in the procedure prescribed in this section, after fulfilling its administrative duties in seizing the money, has to proceed to enquire in accordance with the procedure given in this section and those proceedings are of a quasi-judicial nature. The fate of the money has to be decided in an enquiry after giving the person from whom the money is recovered an opportunity to explain the manner of its acquisition. If the possessor of this money shows that he had acquired it by legitimate means, or the acquisition was not in any way questionable from the view-point of the revenue, then he can claim for the return of the money. This does not amount to confiscation and the revenue did not transgress any provision of law up to the stage of issuing notice to the petitioner for an opportunity to explain the mode of acquisition of that amount. For these reasons, I do not find any merit in the first objection raised on behalf of the petitioner.

9. The second point, that is, the matter about the application under Section 124(4) of the Act has been vigorously contested by both the counsel. A resume of the facts given above shows that the petitioner had appeared before respondent No. 2 on 7th of April, 1967, through his counsel and on 14th of April and 19th of April, 1967, he moved applications to the Commissioner and respondent No. 2, respectively. Shri D. N. Awasthy, learned counsel for the respondents, has argued that under Section 124(5) of the Act, the petitioner could question the point of jurisdiction only within one month of the service of notice on him, which was sent under Section 132(5) of the Act. According to him, the first notice was served upon the petitioner by way of affixation on 14th of February, 1967, and the time-limit ran out after thirty days. On this basis, Mr. Awasthy urged that the petitioner had lost that right and as the time had run out against him, he could not, on 14th of April, 1967, move this application. For a proper and better appreciation of the rival contentions raised before me, it is appropriate to reproduce the provisions of Sections 124 and 132 of the Act in extenso. These run as under:

'124. (1) Income-tax Officers shall perform their functions in respect of such areas or of such persons or classes of persons or of such incomes or classes of income or of such cases or classes of cases as the Commissioner may direct.

(2) Where any directions issued under Sub-section (1) have assigned to two or more Income-tax Officers, the same area or the same persons or classes of persons or the same incomes or classes of income or the same cases or classes of cases, they shall have concurrent jurisdiction and shall perform their functions in relation to the said area, or persons or classes of persons, or incomes or classes of income, or cases or classes of cases, in accordance with such general or special orders in writing as the Commissioner or the Inspecting Assistant Commissioner authorised by the Commissioner in this behalf, may make for the purpose of facilitating the performance of such functions.

(3) Within the limits of the area assigned to him, the Income-tax Officer shall have jurisdiction--

(a) in respect of any person carrying on a business or profession, if the place at which he carries on his business or profession is situate within the area, or where his business or profession is carried on in more places than one, if the principal place of his business or profession is situate within the area, and

(b) in respect of any other person residing within the area.

(4) Where a question arises under this section as to whether an Income-tax Officer has jurisdiction to assess any person, the question shall be determined by the Commissioner; or where the question is one relating to areas within the jurisdiction of different Commissioners, by the Commissioners concerned or, if they are not in agreement, by the Board.

(5) No person shall be entitled to call in question the jurisdiction of an Income-tax Officer--

(a) after the expiry of one month from the date on which he has made a return under Sub-section (1) of Section 139 or after the completion of the assessment, whichever is earlier;

(b) where he has made no such return, after the expiry of the time allowed by the notice under Sub-section (2) of Section 139 or under Section 148 for the making of the return.

(6) Subject to the provisions of Sub-section (5), where an assessee calls in question the jurisdiction of an Income-tax Officer, then the Income-tax Officer shall, if not satisfied with the correctness of the claim, refer the matter for determination under Sub-section (4) before assessment is made.

(7) Notwithstanding anything contained in this section or in Section 130A, every Income-tax Officer shall have all the powers conferred by or under this Act on an Income-tax Officer in respect of any income accruing or arising or received within the area for which he is appointed. '

'132. (1) Where the Director of Inspection or the Commissioner or any such Deputy Director of Inspection or Inspecting Assistant Commissioner as may be empowered in this behalf by the Board, in consequence of information in his possession, has reason to believe that--

(a) any person to whom a summons under Sub-section (1) of Section 37 of the Indian Income-tax Act, 1922 (11 of 1922), or under Sub-section (1) of Section 131 of this Act, or a notice under Sub-section (4) of Section 22 of the Indian Income-tax Act, 1922, or under Sub-section (1) of Section 142 of this Act was issued to produce, or cause to be produced, any books of account or other documents has omitted or failed to produce, or cause to be produced, such books of account or other documents as required by such summons or notice, or

(b) any person to whom a summons or notice as aforesaid has been or might be issued will not, or would not, produce or cause to be produced,any books of account or other documents which will be useful for, or relevant to, any proceeding under the Indian Income-tax Act, 1922 (11 of 1922), or under this Act, or

(c) any person is in possession of any money, bullion, jewellery or other valuable article or thing and such money, bullion, jewellery or other valuable article or thing represents either wholly or partly income or property which has not been, or would not be, disclosed for the purposes of the Indian Income-tax Act, 1922 (11 of 1922), or this Act (hereinafter in this section referred to as the undisclosed income or property),

then,--

(A) the Director of Inspection or the Commissioner, as the case may be, may authorise any Deputy Director of Inspection, Inspecting Assistant Commissioner, Assistant Director of Inspection or Income-tax Officer, or

(B) such Deputy Director of Inspection or Inspecting Assistant Commissioner, as the case may be, may authorise any Assistant Director of Inspection or Income-tax Officer,

(the officer so authorised in all cases being hereinafter referred to as the authorised officer) to--

(i) enter and search any building, place, vessel, vehicle or aircraft, where he has reason to suspect that such books of account, other documents money, bullion , jewellery or other valuable article or thing are kept;

(ii) break open the lock of any door, box, locker, safe, almirah or other receptacle for exercising the powers conferred by Clause (i) where the keys thereof are not available ;

(iia) search any person who has got out of, or is about to get into, or is in, the building, place, vessel, vehicle or aircraft, if the authorised officer has reason to suspect that such person has secreted about his person any such books of account, other documents, money, bullion, jewellery or other valuable article or thing ;

(iii) seize any such books of account, other documents, money, bullion, jewellery or other valuable article or thing found as a result of such search;

(iv) place marks of identification on any books of account or other documents or make or cause to be made extracts or copies therefrom ;

(v) make a note or an inventory of any such money, bullion, jewellery or other valuable article or thing :

Provided that where any building, place, vessel, vehicle or aircraft referred to in Clause (i) is within the area of jurisdiction of any Commissioner, but such Commissioner has no jurisdiction over the person referred to in Clause (a) or Clause (b) or Clause (c), then, notwithstanding anything contained in Section 121, it shall be competent for him to exercise the powers under this sub-section in all cases where he has reason to believethat any delay in getting the authorisation from the Commissioner havingjurisdiction over such person may be prejudicial to the interest of therevenue.

(1A) Where any Commissioner, in consequence of information in his possession, has reason to suspect that any books of account, other documents, money, bullion, jewellery or other valuable article or thing in respect of which an officer has been authorised by the Director of Inspec-sion or any other Commissioner of any such Deputy Director of Inspection or Inspecting Assistant Commissioner as may be empowered in this behalf by the Board to take action under Clauses (i) to (v) of Sub-section (1) are or is kept in any building, place, vessel, vehicle or aircraft not mentioned in the authorisation under Sub-section (1), such Commissioner may, notwithstanding anything contained in Section 121, authorise the said officer to take action under any of the clauses aforesaid in respect of such building place, vessel, vehicle or aircraft.

(2) The authorised officer may requisition the services of any police officer or any officer of the Central Government, or of both, to assist him for all or any of the purposes specified in Sub-section (1) or Sub-section (1A) and it shall be the duty of every such officer to comply with such requisition.

(3) The authorised officer may, where it is not practicable to seize any such books of account, other documents, money, bullion, jewellery or other valuable article or thing, serve an order on the owner or the person who is in immediate possession or control thereof that he shall not remove, part with or otherwise deal with it except with the previous permission of such officer and such officer may take such steps as may be necessary for ensuring compliance with this sub-section.

(4) The authorised officer may, during the course of the search or seizure, examine on oath any person who is found to be in possession or control of any books of account, documents, money, bullion, jewellery or other valuable article or thing and any statement made by such person during such examination may thereafter be used in evidence in any proceeding under the Indian Income-tax Act, 1922 (11 of 1922), or under this Act.

(4A) Where any books of account, other documents, money, bullion, jewellery or other valuable article or thing are or is found in the possession or control of any person in the course of a search, it may be presumed--

(i) that such books of account, other documents, money, bullion, jewellery or other valuable article or thing belong or belongs to such person;

(ii) that the contents of such books of account and other documents are true; and

(iii) that the signature and every other part of such books of account and other documents which purport to be in the handwriting of any particular person or which may reasonably be assumed to have been signed by, or to be in the handwriting of, any particular person, are in that person's handwriting, and in the case of a document stamped, executed or attested, that it was duly stamped and executed or attested by the person by whom it purports to have been so executed or attested.

(5) Where any money, bullion, jewellery or other valuable article or thing (hereinafter in this section and in Sections 132A and 132B referred to as the assets) is seized under Sub-section (1) or Sub-section (1 A), the Income-tax Officer, after affording a reasonable opportunity to the person concerned of being heard and making such enquiry as may be prescribed, shall, within ninety days of the seizure, make an order, with the previous approval of the Inspecting Assistant Commissioner,--

(i) estimating the undisclosed income (including the income from the undisclosed property) in a summary manner to the best of his judgment on the basis of such materials as are available with him ;

(ii) calculating the amount of tax on the income so estimated in accordance with the provisions of the Indian Income-tax Act, 1922 (11 of 1922),or this Act;

(iia) determining the amount of interest payable and the amount of penalty imposable in accordance with the provisions of the Indian Income-tax Act, 1922 (11 of 1922), or this Act, as if the order had been the order of regular assessment;

(iii) specifying the amount that will be required to satisfy any existing liability under this Act and any one or more of the Acts specified in Clause (a) of Sub-section (1) of Section 230A in respect of which such person is in default or is deemed to be in default,

and retain in his custody such assets or part thereof as are in his opinion sufficient to satisfy the aggregate of the amounts, referred to in Clauses (ii), (iia) and (iii) and forthwith release the remaining portion, if any, of the assets to the person from whose custody they were seized:

Provided that if, after taking into account the materials available with him, the Income-tax Officer is of the view that it is not possible to ascertain to which particular previous year or years such income or any part thereof relates, he may calculate the tax on such income or part, as the case may be, as if such income; or part were the total income chargeable to tax at the rates in force in the financial year in which the assets were seized and may also determine the interest or penalty, if any, payable or imposable accordingly:

Provided further that where a person has paid or made satisfactory arrangements for payment of all the amounts referred to in Clauses (ii), (iia) and (iii) or any part thereof, the Income-tax Officer may, with the previous approval of the Commissioner, release the assets or such part thereof as he may deem fit in the circumstances of the case.

(6) The assets retained under Sub-section (5) may be dealt with in accordance with the provisions of Section 132B.

(7) If the Income-tax Officer is satisfied that the seized assets or any part thereof were held by such person for or on behalf of any other person, the Income-tax Officer may proceed under Sub-section (5) against such other person and all the provisions of this section shall apply accordingly.

(8) The books of account or other documents seized under Subsection (1) or Sub-section (1A) shall not be retained by the authorised officer for a period exceeding one hundred and eighty days from the date of the seizure unless the reasons for retaining the same are recorded by him in Writing and the approval of the Commissioner for such retention is obtained:

Provided that the Commissioner shall not authorise the retention of the books of account and other documents for a period exceeding thirty days after all the proceedings under the Indian Income-tax Act, 1922 (11 of 1922), or this Act in respect of the years for which the books of account or other documents are relevant are completed.

(9) The person from whose custody any books of account or other documents are seized under sub-section (1) or Sub-section (1 A) may make copies thereof, or take extracts therefrom, in the presence of the authorised officer or any other person empowered by him in this behalf, at such place and time as the authorised officer may appoint in this behalf.

(9A) Where the authorised officer has no jurisdiction over the person referred to in Clause (a) or Clause (b) or Clause (c) of Sub-section (1), the books of account or other documents or assets seized under that sub-section shall be handed over by the authorised officer to the Income-tax Officer having jurisdiction over such person within a period of fifteen days of such seizure and thereupon the powers exercisable by the authorised officer under Sub-section (8) or Sub-section (9) shall be exercisable by such Income-tax Officer.

(10) If a person legally entitled to the books of account or other documents seized under Sub-section (1) or Sub-section (1A) objects for any reason to the approval given by the Commissioner under Sub-section (8), he may make an application to the Board stating therein the reasons for such objection and requesting for the return of the books of account or other documents.

(11) If any person objects for any reason to an order made under Sub-section (5), he may, within thirty days of the date of such order, make an application to such authority, as may be notified in this behalf by the Central Government in the Official Gazette (hereinafter in this section referred to as the notified authority), stating therein the reasons for such objection and requesting for appropriate relief in the matter.

(12) On receipt of the application under Sub-section (10) the Board, or on receipt of the application under Sub-section (11), the notified authority, may, after giving the applicant an opportunity of being heard, pass such orders as it thinks fit.

(13) The provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), relating to searches and seizure shall apply, so far as may be, to searches and seizure under Sub-section (1) or Sub-section (1A).

(14) The Board may make rules in relation to any search and seizure under this section; in particular, and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing power, such rules may provide for the procedure to be followed by the authorised officer--

(i) for obtaining ingress into any building, place, vessel, vehicle or aircraft to be searched where free ingress thereto is not available ;

(ii) for ensuring safe custody of any books of account or other documents or assets seized.

Explanation 1.--In computing the period of ninety days for the purposes of Sub-section (5), any period during which any proceeding under this section is stayed by an order or injunction of any court shall be excluded.

Explanation 2.--In this section, the word ' proceeding ' means any proceeding in respect of any year, whether under the Indian Income-tax Act, 1922 (11 of 1922), or this Act, which may be pending on the date on which a search is authorised under this section or which may have been completed on or before such date and includes also all proceedings under this Act which may be commenced after such date in respect of any year.'

10. A reading of Section 124(4) of the Act shows that in case the jurisdiction of the ITO is disputed, it will be determined by the Commissioner, and in case the objection relates to the area within the jurisdiction of different Commissioners, then by the concerned Commissioners or, in case of difference between them, by the Board. In the case in hand, the petitioner had filed an application, annex. V, before the Commissioner of Patiala and endorsed a 'copy to the Commissioner of Income-tax, Delhi. He filed another application, annex. U, on 19th of April, 1967, before the respondent No. 2, A person, who is adversely affected by the proceedings and contests the jurisdiction of the authority of the Tribunal adjudicating upon the case against him, can do nothing more than the filing of an application. After the application is filed, the onus is shifted on to theconcerned authorities to decide those applications expeditiously, before the final decision is recorded by the concerned ITO. The language of Section 124(4) is mandatory and leaves no option to the concerned authorities, but ,to decide the application for transfer and makes it obligatory, upon them, in case that application was not decided. Mr. Awasthy has, as referred earlier, asserted that by virtue of Section 124(5), the objection was not raised within one month from the' date of notice and it could not be raised later. A perusal of Section 124(5) shows that it embraces only Sections 139 and 148 of the Act in its ambit. Section 132(5) is not mentioned in it. The omission of a reference to Section 132(5) from Section 124(5) is not accidental. It is a deliberate omission and the reasons for this inference about the legislative intent are not far to seek. A closer study of Section 132 of the Act shows that it has the trappings of a small code in itself. It concerns with search and seizure and also provides a machinery as well as the procedure in its provisions for determining the tax liability or other ancillary matters of interest to the revenue, when such seizures are effected. As earlier stated, the proceedings under Section 132(5) are of a quasi-judicial nature, and the matters have to be determined after affording a reasonable opportunity to the person concerned of being heard and after making an enquiry as may be prescribed. The enquiry, envisaged by Section 132(5) of the Act, is an enquiry, which is usually made by the ITO in other matters to determine the tax liability of the assessees. After an enquiry, the ITO who is seized of this case, is to proceed in a summary manner and determine the undisclosed income in relation to the money, bullion, jewellery, etc., seized under Section 132. He is to calculate the tax amount, interest, etc., whatever portion of the money or other articles seized is explained in a satisfactory and reasonable manner by the person from whom those are seized, and are returned to him and the rest are to be retained. The final order or judgment under Section 132(5) is immune from the appeal provisions as provided in the I.T. Act. Only an application lies to the authority as notified in this behalf by the Central Govt., which is the Board of Direct Taxes, as permitted by Section 132(11) of the Act. When Section 132 is considered as a whole, it reveals that it has its own procedure for the search, seizure, determination of the point in dispute, quantum to be retained and also the quantum of the tax and interest on the undisclosed income, in relation to the amount seized. It has its own procedure for application under Sub-section (l1) in the place of appeal. It has all the fortifications of a code. The general provisions of the Act like the assessment under Section 139, etc., cannot be invoked in this provision. This provision exists in complete isolation of the other provisions of the I.T. Act and the general provisions of the I.T. Act neither can creep from underneath these fortifications nor can overlook with favour or disfavour over these to influence the procedure or judgment in the proceedings under Section 132 of the Act. Section 124(5) of the Act cannot be attracted for application to the case, because we cannot read in between the lines to find a place for a provision which is deliberately excluded by the Legislature from that statutory provision. Disagreeing with the argument of Shri D. N. Awasthy, I am to hold that Section 124(4) of the Act, which is a mandatory provision, applies to the provisions of Section 132(5) of the Act. Section 124 is a general provision in the Act, unless its operation was excluded either specifically or by implication. It will apply to the proceedings under Section 132(5).

11. It was then argued by Shri Awasthy that the petitioner had submitted to the jurisdiction of respondent No. 2, and he could not raise this objection after such submission. A specific statutory provision of the I.T. Act gives the person who is arrayed before the ITO for certain assessments, a right to question his jurisdiction. Such a right cannot be taken away by the simple acquiescence of the person in submitting to that jurisdiction. Before the proceedings are finally decided, such an objection can be raised at any time. The assessment proceedings had not yet made any specific headway, when the application, annex. ' V ', was filed by the petitioner. It required to be decided expeditiously by the Commissioner, Patiala, himself or in consultation with the Commissioner, Delhi, to whose jurisdiction the objection of the petitioner related. The mere fact that at one or more than one occasion the petitioner had given his address as ' 219, Model Town, Jullundur ', does not bind him permanently to that address. For certain circumstances or in the quest of the business one can change his address to a place which is convenient to him and raise an objection taking shelter under the statutory provisions of law for transfer of the case from that place. The address of the petitioner '219, Model Town, Jullundur' as referred in the return of the respondents did not glue him to that place for all times to come. Respondent No. 1, on a consideration of the papers, finding this address, as given by the petitioner, entrusted the case to the ITO, Jullundur, under the provisions Of Section 132 of the Act. The petitioner was neither estopped from raising an objection nor his acquiescence in submitting to the jurisdiction could negate his right to question the jurisdiction. Mr. D. N. Awasthy stated that since this was a case specifically assigned under Section 124(1), the question of raising an objection to the jurisdiction cannot be considered. This argument was notified in the earlier part of the judgment, while dealing with the scope of Section 124(4) for application to the provisions of the I.T. Act.

12. It was next argued by Shri D. N. Awasthy that the time-limit for finalisation of the assessment after the seizure by the I.T. authorities is ninety days. The petitioner, in order to delay the fihalization of the case,before the expiry of ninety days, tried to stall the proceedings by filing these applications. When a legal right is vested in a person by the statute, mala fides attributed to him in the exercise of that right do not have much scope for argument.

13. In view of the above discussion, as the provisions of Section 124(4) of the Act were violated and the objection of the petitioner regarding the question of the jurisdiction was not decided by the Commissioners concerned, the order, annex. 'W', dated 2nd of May, 1967, is vitiated and is hereby quashed. The writ petition is accepted and the Commissioners concerned shall decide the matter of jurisdiction and then the revenue shall decide the matter of Section 132(5) afresh in accordance with law. With these observations, the writ petition is accepted with no order as to costs.


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