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Assistant Commissioner of Vs. Punna Textiles Industries (P.) - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtIncome Tax Appellate Tribunal ITAT West Bengal
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(2002)258ITR121Cal
AppellantAssistant Commissioner of
RespondentPunna Textiles Industries (P.)
Excerpt:
.....assessment year 1991-92.2. the appeal of the revenue is out of time by 11 days. the department has filed an application for condonation of delay.3. the learned authorised representative of the assessee opposed the application of the department for condonation of delay. accordingly, we heard the application for condonation of delay.4. the learned departmental representative, in his submission, placed reliance on the contents of the application filed for condonation of delay and requested that the delay be condoned and the appeal be heard on the merits. it was stated that there was delay in the receipt of authorisation from the office of the commissioner of income-tax and the same was received on april 28, 1997, whereas the last day for filing the appeal as per section 253(3) expired on.....
Judgment:
1. This is an appeal filed by the Revenue for the assessment year 1991-92.

2. The appeal of the Revenue is out of time by 11 days. The Department has filed an application for condonation of delay.

3. The learned Authorised Representative of the assessee opposed the application of the Department for condonation of delay. Accordingly, we heard the application for condonation of delay.

4. The learned Departmental Representative, in his submission, placed reliance on the contents of the application filed for condonation of delay and requested that the delay be condoned and the appeal be heard on the merits. It was stated that there was delay in the receipt of authorisation from the office of the Commissioner of Income-tax and the same was received on April 28, 1997, whereas the last day for filing the appeal as per Section 253(3) expired on April 19, 1997. The appeal papers were prepared on April 28, 1997, and April 29, 1997, and, hence, the appeal was filed on April 30, 1997. On the other hand, the learned Authorised Representative of the assessee submitted that no reason for the delay in grant of authorisation from the office of the Commissioner of Income-tax has been explained by the Department and, hence, the application does not explain any unforeseen circumstances which caused the delay in filing the appeal.

5. We have considered the final submissions. In the application for condonation of delay only few dates and that too all relating to the period after the expiry of the prescribed date of limitation, as stated above are mentioned. Shockingly save and except few dates, no other explanation has been put forward, much less proper and plausible explanation, as to why the authorisation for filing the second appeal was granted as late as on April 28, 1997, when the due date for filing the second appeal was to expire on April 19, 1997. To bring out the reason on record the learned Authorised Representative was requested to file an affidavit of the concerned Commissioner of Income-tax in this regard. In spite of the specific direction of the Bench, the required affidavit was not filed.

6. It seems that the authority has taken the entire matter very leisurely and in a casual manner. In a decision of the Supreme Court in CWT v. Amateur Rider's Club [1994] Supp. 2 SCC 603, their Lordships rejected the application outrightly filed on behalf of the Government holding as follows ; "3. This explanation is incapable of furnishing a judicially acceptable ground for condonation of delay. After the earlier objections of this court made in several cases in the past, we hoped that the matters might improve. There seem to be no visible support for this optimism. There is a point beyond which even the courts cannot help a litigant even if the litigant is Government which is itself made the shackles of bureaucratic indifference. Having regard to the law of limitation which binds everybody, we cannot find anyway of granting relief. It is true that Government should not be treated as any other private litigant as, indeed, in the case of the former the decisions to present and prosecute appeals are not individual but are institutional decisions necessarily bogged down by the proverbial red-tape. But, there are limits to this also. Even with all this latitude, the explanation offered for the delay in this case merely serves to aggravate the attitude of indifference of the Revenue in protecting its common interests. The affidavit is again one of the stereotype affidavits making it susceptible to the criticism that the Revenue does not seem to attach any importance to the need for the promptitude even where it affects its own interest."Calcutta Municipal Corporation v. Pawan Kumar Saraf, AIR 1999 SC 738, have held that even if the court should be liberal in condonation of delay, it should be inexcusable unless sufficient cause is shown. It is not the law that when an application seeking the condonation of delay is filed by the State or any authority, the court must invariably condone the delay irrespective of whether sufficient cause is shown or not.

Further, the Supreme Court in the case of State of West Bengal v.Administrator, Howrah Municipality, AIR 1972 SC 749, has held that the Department should give sufficient reasons for not filing the appeal within the period stipulated in the Act and no circumstances or event which arise after the expiry of the limitation can constitute such cause. In view of the facts and circumstances of the present case, leading to the delay for filing of appeal before the expiry of the period of limitation as prescribed under Section 253(3) of the Act, the decision of the Supreme Court in the aforesaid case directly applies.

8. Viewing thus, we have no option but to reject the petition of the Department for condonation of delay in filing of the appeal beyond the prescribed statutory period.

9. In the result, the appeal is dismissed in limine, i.e., without going into the merits of the grounds raised therein.


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