10 June 2024


Judgments

High Court of Bombay

Prakash Krishnavtar Bhardwaj Vs. Income Tax Officer and Ors.

MANU/MH/0078/2023

09.01.2023

Direct Taxation

Notice itself would be invalid, if signature of the Assessing Officer have not been affixed on the notice issued under Section 148 of the IT Act

Present Writ Petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, 1950 seeks from this Court, a Writ of Certiorari to quash and set aside the impugned notice under clause (b) of Section 148A dated 21st March, 2022, order under clause (d) of Section 148A dated 2nd April, 2022 and notice under Section 148 dated 2nd April, 2022 passed by the Respondents under the Income Tax Act, 1961 (IT Act).

The High Court of Calcutta in B.K. Gooyee vs. Commissioner of Income Tax, was considering the legal impact of an unsigned notice issued under Section 34 of the Income Tax Act, 1922 and whether there can be a waiver of a right of an assessee to challenge the same on the ground that the notice was unsigned. Whilst holding that a lack of signature on a notice invalidates the same, it has further gone on to hold that there can be no waiver to the right of an assessee to raise this objection where the condition precedent for assuming jurisdiction by the Assessing Officer is not fulfilled.

On applying ratio of judgment of High Court in B.K. Gooyee vs. Commissioner of Income Tax, to the facts of the present case, the signature of the Assessing Officer admittedly not having been affixed on the notice issued under Section 148 of the Act, the notice itself would be invalid and consequently, the Assessing Officer could not assume jurisdiction to proceed in the matter in terms of Section 148 of the Act.

In the present case, the notice under Section 148 dated 2nd April, 2022 having no signature affixed on it, digitally or manually, the same is invalid and would not vest the Assessing Officer with any further jurisdiction to proceed to reassess the income of the Petitioner. Consequently, the notice dated 2nd April, 2022 under Section 148 of the Act issued to the Petitioner being invalid and sought to be issued after three years from the end of the relevant assessment year 2015-16, any steps taken by the Respondents in furtherance of notice dated 21st March, 2022 issued under clause (b) of Section 148A of the Act and order dated 2nd April, 2022 issued under clause (d) of Section 148A of the Act, would be without jurisdiction, and therefore, arbitrary and contrary to Article 14 of the Constitution of India. Consequently, the notice dated 2nd April, 2022 issued by the Respondents under Section 148 of the Act, order dated 2nd April, 2022 under clause (b) of Section 148A of the Act and notice dated 21st March, 2022 issued under clause (b) of Section 148A of the Act is quashed.

Tags : Assessment Notice Legality

Share :