Madras H.C : Condition No. 5 in the circular issued by the CBDT [F.No. 400/234/95-IT(B) dt. 23rd May, 1996— Ed.] which empowers the Chief CITs and Directors General (Investigation) to reduce or waive penal interest for late submission of return of income, non-payment or inadequate payment of advance tax.

High Court Of Madras

P. Velu Chettiar vs. CCIT & Anr.

Section 119(2)(a), 234A, 234B, 234C,

Asst. year 1993-94 to 1996-97

R. Jayasimha Babu, J.

Writ Petn. No. 3799 of 1999 & Writ Misc. Petn. No. 5432 of 1999

17th November, 2000

Counsel Appeared

R. Janakiraman, for the Petitioner : Mrs. Chitra Venkatraman, for the Respondents

ORDER

R. JAYASIMHA BABU, J.:

Condition No. 5 in the circular issued by the CBDT [F.No. 400/234/95-IT(B) dt. 23rd May, 1996— Ed.] which empowers the Chief CITs and Directors General (Investigation) to reduce or waive penal interest for late submission of return of income, non-payment or inadequate payment of advance tax. etc. reads thus : “(v) where the return of income is filed voluntarily without detection by the IT Department and due to circumstances beyond the control of the taxpayer such return of income was not filed within the statutory time-limit or advance tax was not paid at the relevant time” The petitioner filed his return on 29th Jan., 1997, for the years 1993-94 to 1996-97 voluntarily and paid tax. Further, he did not offer any explanation for the delay in filing the returns and did not show what the circumstances were, which could be regarded as being beyond his control and which had come in the way of the returns not being filed in due time. The Chief CIT, therefore, rejected the petition under s. 119(2)(a) for waiver of interest. .In the order of the Chief CIT, it has been noted that CIT, Trichy, had opined that the petition deserves to be dismissed as no reason for the inordinate delay has been given in the application. The CIT has also recorded that he had heard the representative of the applicant regarding the applicability of the conditions mentioned in the circular and that the representative was unable to show the applicability of any one of those conditions. The criticism that the Chief CIT has relied on the order of the CIT, Trichy is not a fair one. The Chief CIT has applied his mind and found that the conditions mentioned in the circular were not satisfied. Though, it is true, as submitted by the counsel, that the return was filed voluntarily and the tax was paid, that by itself does not entitle the assessee to the benefit of waiver. Condition No. 5 of the Board’s circular further requires that the CIT be satisfied about the circumstances which could be regarded as being beyond the control of the taxpayer for not filing the return within the stipulated time-limit. The fact that the assessee had a taxable income from the year 1994-95, is evident from the order of the assessment and the tax paid. No explanation has been given as to why the return was not filed within time for that year. The fact that the assessee had not been assessed to tax earlier, does not by itself constitute a justification. By filing the return belatedly, one cannot claim that fact itself as clothing the person with immunity from the liability for interest.

6. The petition is, therefore, dismissed. No costs. Consequently, W.M.P. No. 5432 of 1999 is also dismissed.

[Citation : 256 ITR 490]

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