High Court Of Madras
Bhawarlal C. Bafna vs. Assistant Commissioner Of Income Tax
Section 253, 260A
V.S. Sirpurkar & N.V. Balasubramanian, JJ.
Tax Case (Appeal) No. 32 of 2002
5th June, 2002
P.P.S. Janardhana Raja, for the Assessee : None, for the Revenue
N.V. BALASUBRAMANIAN, J. :
This appeal is preferred against the order of the Tribunal dismissing the appeal preferred by the assessee. Mr. Janardhana Raja, learned counsel appearing for the assessee, forcefully submitted that the Tribunal was not justified in refusing the adjournment sought for on the date of hearing. He submitted that the assessee had sought for an adjournment on the ground that counsel for the assessee was away from Chennai and the request made on behalf of the assessee should have been considered by the Tribunal favourably and the appeal should have been adjourned by the Tribunal. On the merits of the matter, Mr. Janarthana Raja, learned counsel for the assessee, submitted that the Tribunal was not justified in holding that the assessee has not established that the debt written off has become bad and he also submitted that the addition made of a sum of Rs. 1,25,000 to the undisclosed investment in bank is not justified. Learned counsel therefore submitted that the Tribunal was not justified in its view on the merits of the case as well.
We have carefully considered the submissions of learned counsel for the assessee. As far as the first point raised by learned counsel for the assessee is concerned, we find that the Tribunal has fixed the date of hearing of the appeal on 12th Dec.,1994, when the assessee filed a petition for stay of the recovery of tax. Thereafter, the appeal was adjourned as many as ten times and it was found by the Tribunal that all the adjournments took place at the request of the assesseeâs counsel. It was adjourned on 24th Aug., 2001, and on that date there was no representation on behalf of the assesseeâs counsel. Thereafter, the matter was adjourned to 21st Dec., 2001. Even on 21st Dec., 2001, counsel for the assessee was not present. The Tribunal therefore felt that there was no point in adjourning the matter further and proceeded to hear the appeal on the merits. We hold that the Tribunal was perfectly justified in exercising its discretion in refusing to grant adjournment considering the fact that the appeal was adjourned earlier for more than 11 times. We are of the view that the filing of the letter seeking adjournment is not sufficient, as it cannot be expected that the case would be adjourned as a matter of right by filing a letter seeking adjournment. The Tribunal took note of the conduct of the assesseeâs counsel in seeking repeated adjournments and not being prepared to conduct the case and decided to proceed with the case on the merits of the case. We do not find any infirmity in that part of the order of the Tribunal in not granting adjournment to the assessee and proceed to decide the case on merits of the case.
As far as the merits of the case are concerned, we find that the assessee has not established that the debt had become bad. It was specifically found by the CIT(A) that the write off of the debt was not bona fide as the assessee has not taken steps for recovery of the debt and it was also admitted that even during the accounting year, some payments were received by the assessee towards debt, which shows that the debt has not really become bad. We hold therefore that the Tribunal was correct in its view that the assessee has not established that the debt which has been written off, has become bad.
Insofar as the addition of Rs. 1,25,000 is concerned, we find that the assessee has failed to explain the unexplained cash balances. We find, the assessee, in spite of several opportunities granted, was not able to establish the source for the sum of Rs. 1,25,000.
We find that the findings on both the questions are pure questions of fact and no question of law, much less substantial question of law arises out of the order of the Tribunal calling for interference. Accordingly, the appeal stands dismissed. No costs.
[Citation : 257 ITR 687]