S.C : Whether since impugned penalty order was passed under section 271E without recording any satisfaction, same was rightly set aside by authorities below

Supreme Court Of India

CIT, Panchkula vs. Jai Laxmi Rice Mills Ambala City

Assessment Years : 1991-92 And 1992-93

Section : 271E

A.K.Sikri And Rohinton Fali Nariman, JJ.

Civil Appeal Nos. 1457 Of 2008 & 3614 Of 2012

November 20, 2015


1. In these appeals, we are concerned with the question as to whether penalty proceeding under Section 271D of the Income Tax Act (hereinafter referred to as “the Act”) is independent of the assessment proceeding and this question arises for consideration in respect of Assessment Years 1991-1992 and 1992-1993 under the following circumstances:

In respect of Assessment Year 1992-1993, assessment order was passed on 26.02.1996 on the basis of CIB information informing the Department that the assessee is engaged in large scale purchase and sale of wheat, but it is not filing income tax. Ex-parte proceedings were initiated, which resulted in the aforesaid order, as per which net taxable income of the assessee was assessed at Rs. 18,34,584/-. While framing the assessment, the Assessing Officer also observed that the assessee had contravened the provisions of Section 269SS of the Act and because of this the Assessing Officer was satisfied that penalty proceedings under Section 271E of the Act were to be initiated.

2. The assessee carried out this order in appeal. The Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeals) allowed the appeal and set aside the assessment order with a direction to frame the assessment de novo after affording adequate opportunity to the assessee.

3. After remand, the Assessing Officer passed fresh assessment order. In this assessment order, however, no satisfaction regarding initiation of penalty proceedings under Section 271E of the Act was recorded. It so happened that on the basis of the original assessment order dated 26.02.1996, show cause notice was given to the assessee and it resulted in passing the penalty order dated 23.09.1996. Thus, this penalty order was passed before the appeal of the assessee against the original assessment order was heard and allowed thereby setting aside the assessment order itself. It is in this backdrop, a question has arisen as to whether the penalty order, which was passed on the basis of original assessment order and when that assessment order had been set aside, could still survive.

4. The Tribunal as well as the High Court has held that it could not be so for the simple reason that when the original assessment order itself was set aside, the satisfaction recorded therein for the purpose of initiation of the penalty proceeding under Section 271E would also not survive. This according to us is the correct proposition of law stated by the High Court in the impugned order.

5. As pointed out above, insofar as, fresh assessment order is concerned, there was no satisfaction recorded regarding penalty proceeding under Section 271E of the Act, though in that order the Assessing Officer wanted penalty proceeding to be initiated under Section 271(1)(c) of the Act. Thus, insofar as penalty under Section 271E is concerned, it was without any satisfaction and, therefore, no such penalty could be levied. These appeals are, accordingly, dismissed.

[Citation : 379 ITR 521]