K. S. PARIPOORNAN J. - The petitioner is a company. It provides financial assistance to urban local bodies for their development schemes. The assessments for the years 1971-72 to 1973-74 were made treating only the proportionate amount of expenses on the issue of the debentures during these years as revenue expenditure. In effecting the assessments for the years 1974-75, 1975-76 and 1976-77, the Income-tax Officer, Assessment, Companies, Calicut, did not allow deduction of the proportionate expenditure on the debenture issues referable to the years 1971-72 to 1973-74. So, the petitioner filed revisions before the respondent, the Commissioner of Income-tax, Kerala, Ernakulam, praying that the entire expenditure on the issue of debentures may be allowed for the year of issue itself. The petitioner felt aggrieved by the assessment orders for the years 1971-72, 1972-73, 1973-74, 1974-75, 1975-76 and 1976-77. The revisions for the years 1971-72 to 1973-74 were filed on February 12, 1980, and for the years 1974-75 to 1976-77 were filed on March 3, 1980. Admittedly, the revisions were filed beyond one year from the various dates on which the assessments were completed and communicated to the assessee. so the assessee-petitioner herein filed applications to condone the delay in filing the revisions. The respondent, Commissioner of Income-tax, passed exhibits P-1 and P-2 orders dated March 27, 1981, in the revisions filed for the years 1971-72 to 1973-74 and 1974-75 to 1976-77. In exhibit P-1, he come to the conclusion that there are no good grounds to condone the delay caused in filing the revisions. In exhibit P-2, the respondent held that it cannot at all be stated that the company was prevented by sufficient cause from filing the revision petitions in time. This original petition is filed seeking to quash exhibits P-1 and P-2 orders passing by the respondent in the revisions.
I heard counsel for the petitioner, Mr. T. L. Viswanatha Iyer, and also counsel for the Revenue, Mr. P. K. Ravindranatha Menon. It is common ground that the revisions were filed after inordinate delay. Under section 264(3), proviso, of the Income-tax Act, 1961, the Commissioner may, if he is satisfied that the assessee was prevented by sufficient cause from making the application within the period of one year from the date on which the order was communicated to him, admit the application made after expiry of that period. The Commissioner did exercise the jurisdiction vested in him under the proviso to section 264(3) of the Act. He adverted to the applications filed by the petitioner to condone the delay and has in an elaborate order reached the conclusion that there is no justifiable ground to condone the delay in filing the revisions for all the six years. It is true that the word 'sufficient cause' occurring in the proviso to section 264(3) of the Act should receive a liberal construction so as to advance substantial justice. It is further true that the discretion vested in the Commissioner is a judicial is a judicial one to be exercised in accordance with law -vide Kanga and Palkhivala, The Law and Practice of Income Tax, 7th edition, page 1178. The nature and content of the said power and the manner of its exercise have been elaborately discussed in Saurashtra Cement and Chemical Industries Ltd. v. CIT : 115ITR27(Guj) . In the light of the above principles of law and after bestowing anxious consideration to the facts of this case. I am not satisfied that the Commissioner has failed to exercise the jurisdiction vested in him under the proviso to section 264(3) of the Income-tax Act as contemplated by law. I am of the opinion that normally the question as to whether there is sufficient cause for not filing the revision petitions in time (or whether there are good grounds to condone the delay in filing the revisions out of time), is a pure question of fact. On a fair and proper reading of the revisional orders passed by the Commissioner, I am of the opinion that the finding reached by the Commissioner that there was no justifiable ground or reason to condone the delay has been arrived at after adverting to all the facts and circumstances of the case and is in accordance with law. I do not find any legal error or infirmity in recording such a finding in the instant case. The question raised by counsel for the petitioner that the Commissioner should have found that there was sufficient or justifiable reason is a pure question of fact depending upon appreciation of relevant facts and circumstance in the case. There is no error of jurisdiction or error of law apparent on the face of the record or any other illegality or infirmity to warrant interference with exhibits P-1 and P-2 orders.
The original petition is without merits. It is dismissed. There shall be no order as to costs.