Punjab & Haryana H.C : This is a petition for quashing of the notices dt. 4th March, 2000, issued by the ITO, Ward No. 1, Sirsa, (respondent No. 1) under s. 148 of the IT Act, 1961 (for short “the Act”), for assessment/reassessment of the income of the petitioner in relation to the asst. yrs. 1993-94, 1994-95 and 1995-96.

High Court Of Punjab & Haryana

Grover Nursing Home vs. Income Tax Officer & Ors.

Sections 147, 148, 149

Asst. years 1993-94, 1994-95, 1995-96

G.S. Singhvi & Nirmal Singh, JJ.

Civil Writ Petn. No. 6942 of 2000

31st October, 2000

Counsel Appeared

S.K. Mukhi, for the Petitioner : R.P. Sawhney with Rajesh Bindal, for the Respondents

JUDGMENT

G.S. SINGHVI, J. :

This is a petition for quashing of the notices dt. 4th March, 2000, issued by the ITO, Ward No. 1, Sirsa, (respondent No. 1) under s. 148 of the IT Act, 1961 (for short “the Act”), for assessment/reassessment of the income of the petitioner in relation to the asst. yrs. 1993-94, 1994-95 and 1995-96.

2. The facts of the case are that the petitioner, Grover Nursing Home, Sirsa, is a partnership firm consisting of two partners, namely, Dr. B.D. Grover and Dr. Ramesh Kumari, both of whom are assessees under the Act. The firm came into existence in pursuance of the deed of partnership executed on 10th Sept., 1992. Prior to this, Dr. B.D. Grover was carrying on independent practice and was filing returns in his capacity as the proprietor of Grover Maternity and Nursing Home, Sirsa. He filed a return on 30th Nov., 1993, for the asst. yr. 1993-94 declaring an income of Rs. 49,429. For the asst. yr. 1994-95, he filed the return on 18th Oct., 1994, showing an income of Rs. 55,222. For the asst. yr. 1995-96, he filed the return dt. 31st Jan., 1996, declaring an income of Rs. 75,580. All these returns were processed under s. 143(1)(a) of the Act. The return of income on behalf of the petitioner was filed for the first time on 31st Aug., 1995, for the asst. yr. 1995-96 (for the period from 24th Oct., 1994, to 31st March, 1995). The same was also processed by the competent authority under s. 143(1)(a) of the Act. In the meanwhile, the Assistant Director of Income-tax, Investigation (respondent No. 2) issued letters/notices dt. 2nd Dec., 1993, 24th Oct., 1994, and 2nd Feb., 1995, to Dr. B.D. Grover asking the details and sources of investment on the building of a nursing home. Dr. Grover filed replies dt. 26th Dec., 1993, 30th Nov., 1994, and 9th Feb., 1995, and furnished the details of the constructed area of the plot, the break-up of construction made in different years and the various outstanding loans. He also got done valuation from a registered valuer. Therefore,respondent No. 2 authorised Shri R.L. Aggarwal, Valuation Officer of the Department, to inspect the properties of Dr. B.D. Grover and to make investigation under s. 131(1)(d) of the Act. The Valuation Officer issued notice dt. 28th July, 1995 (annexure P-16) to Grover Hospital and Maternity Nursing Home, Dabwali Road, Sirsa, to furnish various documents and information mentioned therein. To this, a reply dt. 9th Nov., 1995, was sent by Dr. Grover in his capacity as partner of Grover Nursing Home. Along with the reply, he enclosed the documents mentioned at items Nos. 1 to 6 and 11 of the notice. He also stated that the report of the registered value has been misplaced and a copy thereof shall be submitted later on.

The Departmental Valuation Officer submitted a report dt. 6th Aug., 1999, indicating therein that the cost of construction was Rs. 27,72,361. On receipt of the said report, respondent No. 1 issued three notices dt. 16th June, 1999, to Dr. B.D. Grover under s. 142(1) and (3) of the Act asking him to furnish information stipulated in the notices. Dr. Grover submitted a reply dt. 2nd Sept., 1999, stating therein that he had not made any construction whatsoever and had not concealed the particulars of his income in the returns filed for the years 1993-94, 1994-95 and 1995-96. After considering his assertions, respondent No. 1 filed the notices issued to Dr. B.D. Grover in his capacity as proprietor of Grover Maternity and Nursing Home, but at the same time, he issued the impugned notices to the petitioner under s. 148 of the Act for making assessment in relation to the asst. yrs. 1993-94 and 1994-95 and reassessment in relation to the year 1995-96. The petitioner has challenged the notices annexures P-1 to P-3 and the reasons (annexure P-23 collective) communicated by respondent No. 2 along with the letter dt. 18th April, 2000, on the ground that the valuation report submitted by the Departmental Valuation Officer cannot be made the basis for forming an opinion about the escapement of income within the meaning of s. 147 of the Act and in any case, the assessment/reassessment cannot be made after the expiry of the limitation. In the written statement filed on behalf of the respondents, it has been averred that after collecting information regarding the loan obtained by the petitioner from the Haryana Financial Corporation, respondent No. 2 confronted it with the said information and called upon it to furnish details and source of investment on assets pledged with the Corporation. In reply, the petitioner submitted some information regarding the covered area and the total cost of construction. The matter regarding cost of construction was then referred by respondent No. 2 to the Departmental Valuation Officer. On receipt of his comments, notices dt. 27th March, 1998, under s. 148 of the Act were issued to Dr. B.D. Grover in his capacity as proprietor of Grover Maternity and Nursing Home, Sirsa, for the asst. yrs.

1993-94, 1994-95 and 1995-96. In respondent to the notices, Dr. Grover filed the returns for the relevant assessment years and also submitted that he had not made any construction whatsoever. According to him, the construction had been raised by the petitioner-firm in which he was a partner.

In view of these assertions, notices issued to Dr. Grover were dropped and proceedings were initiated against the petitioner under s. 147 of the Act as no return of income had been filed for the asst. yrs. 1993-94 and 1994-95 in order to bring to tax the unexplained investment which represented difference in the cost of construction shown over and above what was estimated by the Departmental Valuation Officer of the Department. Notice under 148 of the Act was also issued for the asst. yr. 1995-96 to bring to tax the difference in the return filed by the petitioner and the expenditure made. The respondents have further averred that the property of the petitioner was visited by the Valuation Officer along with Dr. B.D. Grover on 9th Nov., 1995, before estimating the cost of construction and he, i.e., Dr. Grover, did not raise any objection. According to the respondents, the writ petition should be dismissed being premature because the petitioner can raise all objections before the concerned authority. In paras. 13 and 15 of the written statement, the respondents have made the following averments : “13. That is reply to para. 13, it is submitted that proceedings under s. 147 of the Income-tax Act were initiated in the hands of the firm, Grover Nursing Home, Sirsa. The proceedings in the case of Dr. B.D. Grover only were dropped as no proceedings were initiated against Dr. R.K. Grover. It was done only when Dr. B.D. Grover produced photocopies of bills of purchase of construction material in his individual name. So the course of action taken in the case of the firm to bring to tax the unexplained investment being deemed income, cannot be said to be bad in law more particularly when the correct fats were brought to the notice of respondent No. 1 by one of the partners of the petitioner-firm, namely, Shri B.D. Grover, that no construction was done by him individually but by thepetitioner- firm Grover Nursing Home, Sirsa. As regards the petitioner’s objection regarding the valuation report being in the name of individuals, it is baseless. On going through Sl. No. 4 of the valuation report which refers to the property referred for valuation, it is revealed that the name, number, address and complete location of the property has been mentioned as Grover Hospital Maternity and Nursing Home, Dabwali Road, Sirsa. On Dabwali Road, Sirsa, the property is under the name of Grover Nursing Home owned by two doctors namely Shri B.D. Grover and Smt. Ramesh Kumari. Even the property was visited by the Valuation Officer along with Dr. B.D. Grover on 9th Nov., 1995, before estimating the cost of construction. At no point of time, Dr. B.D. Grover objected that no valuation was possible as the property referred to was different from that to be valued. Moreover, the objection of the petitioner firm is not valid because the slight change in the mentioning of name is simply a technical mistake and mere mentioning of name as Grover Hospital Maternity and Nursing Home against Grover Nursing Home does not change the character of the building.

The valuation has been specifically made in respect of the building situated at Dabwali Road, Sirsa, belonging to Grover Nursing Home which is constituted by two doctors, namely, S/Shri B.D. Grover and Ramesh Grover. This fact also gets support from the very initiation of the proceedings by respondent No. 2 vide his letter dt. 2nd Dec., 1993, on the basis of information gathered by him for the office of the Haryana Financial Corporation from where the petitioner-firm had raised loan for construction of building. Further, in view of the specific provisions contained in s. 292B of the IT Act, which for the sake of convenience is reproduced below, the proceedings shall not be invalid or deemed to be invalid merely by reason of any omission/defect : ‘No return of income, assessment, notice, summons or other proceedings, furnished or made or issued or taken or purported to have been furnished or made or issued or taken in pursuance of any of the provisions of this Act shall be invalid or shall be deemed to be invalid merely by reason of any mistake, defect or omission in such return of income, assessment, notice, summons or other proceeding if such return of income, assessment, notice summons or other proceeding is in substance and effect in conformity with or according to the intent and purpose of this Act.” In view of the above, the issuance of notice under s. 148 of the IT Act in the case of Grover Nursing Home, Sirsa, on the basis of the report of the Valuation Officer leading to the belief that income chargeable to tax has escaped assessment, is quite justified and is valid.

5. That the contents of para 15 are denied as far as the question of action/reference to case to the Departmental Valuation Officer by the Asstt Director of IT is being alleged as unjurisdictional or bad in law. The objection of the petitioner regarding collection of information and reference to the Valuation Cell is baseless in view of sub-s. (1A) of s. 131 of the IT Act inserted by the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Act, 1975, w.e.f. 1st Oct., 1975. For the sake of convenience, sub-s. (1A) is reproduced below : “If the Director General or Director or Jt. Director of Asstt. Director or Deputy Director, or the authorised officer referred to in sub-s. (1) of s. 132 before he takes action under cls. (i) to (v) of that sub-section, has reason to suspect that any income has been concealed or is likely to be concealed, by any person or class of persons within his jurisdiction, then, for the purposes of making any enquiry or investigation relating thereto, it shall be competent for him to exercise the powers conferred under sub- s. (1) on the IT authorities referred to in that sub-section, notwithstanding that no proceedings with respect to such person or class of persons are pending before him or any other IT authorities. Sub-s. (1) of s. 131 of the IT Act authorises the issuing of commissions. So in view of the aforesaid provisions, there was no illegality or infirmity in referring the matter regarding the valuation of property to the Departmental Valuation Officer by respondent No. 2 which he was authorised to do, notwithstanding that no proceedings with respect to the above person were pending before him or any other IT authority. It is further wrong to allege that the petitioner had disclosed all the facts. The case in hand is not a case of change of opinion. Concealment of income is clearly established in the present case when the fact of unexplained investment in building is found. Notices under s. 148 of the IT Act have been issued in the present case after recording reasons. It is wrong to allege that the action is in anyway unjurisdictional or mala fide.

6. As already stated above, the processing of return for the asst. yr. 1995-96 was made under s. 143(1)(a) of the IT Act on 21st Dec., 1995, which cannot be termed as an assessment. The same can be reopened legally when the AO has reason to believe that income chargeable to tax has escaped assessment. However, proviso to s. 147 of the IT Act is applicable only where an assessment has been made under sub-s. (3) of s. 143 and there is a failure on the part of the assessee to disclose fully and truly all material facts necessary for his assessment for thatassessment year. In this case there is no hit and trial but on the basis of information supplied by one of the partners of the firm that the construction belongs to the petitioner-firm, action under s. 147 of the IT Act has been taken in the hands of the petitioner-firm and proceedings in the hands of Dr. B.D. Grover had become infructuous as no suchbuilding was shown by the partner in his individual returns filed for the asst. yrs. 1993-94, 1994-95 and 1995-96 prior to the date of start of business in the name of the petitioner firm, i.e., 24th Oct., 1994.

7. Shri S.K. Mukhi, counsel for the petitioner, argued that the impugned notices should be declared void and quashed because the report prepared by the Departmental Valuation Officer, which can at best, be termed as expression of opinion by an individual, cannot be made the basis for initiation of action under s. 147 of the Act. He then argued that the impugned notices should be declared as time-barred in view of the proviso to s. 147. In support of his arguments, learned counsel relied on the following decisions : (1) ITO vs. Master Keshav Suri (1997) 228 ITR (St) 156; (2) Acchut Kumar S. Inamdar vs. P.R. Hajarnavis (1981) 132 ITR 331 (Bom) : TC 66R.429. (3) Smt. Amala Das vs. CIT (1983) 34 CTR (P&H) 268 : (1984) 146 ITR 216 (P&H) : TC 51R.1112; (4) Kamalam Rajendran vs. IAC (1999) 156 CTR (Mad) 538 : (1999) 237 ITR 299 (Mad) (5) Desai Brothers vs. Dy. CIT (1999) 156 CTR (Guj) 120 : (1999) 240 ITR 121 (Guj); and (6) CIT vs. Laxmidebi Mehta (1993) 70 Taxman 399 (Cal). Shri R.P. Sawhney, senior advocate, appearing for the respondents, argued that the writpetition should be dismissed as premature because no punitive order has been passed so far against the petitioner and the objections sought to be raised in this petition against the impugned notices can be raised by it before the AO. Learned counsel referred to the provisions of s. 149(1)(b)(ii) and (iii) of the Act and argued that the impugned notices cannot be treated as time-barred. We have thoughtfully considered the respective submissions. The substantive part of s. 147 with its first proviso, ss. 148 and 149 on which reliance has been placed by the counsel for the parties read as under : “147. If the AO, has reason to believe that any income chargeable to tax has escaped assessment for any assessment year, he may, subject to the provisions of ss. 148 to 153, assess or reassess such income and also any other income chargeable to tax which has escaped assessment and which comes to his notice subsequently in the course of the proceedings under this section, or recompute the loss or the depreciation allowance or any other allowance, as the case may be, for the assessment year concerned (hereafter in this section and in ss. 148 to 153 referred to as the relevant assessment year) : Provided that where an assessment under sub-s. (3) of s. 143 or this section has been made for the relevant assessment year, no action shall be taken under this section after the expiry of four years from the end of the relevant assessment year, unless any income chargeable to tax has escaped assessment for such assessment year by reason of the failure on the part of the assessee to make a return under s. 139 or in response to a notice issued under sub-s. (1) of s. 142 or s. 148 or to disclose fully and truly all material facts necessary for his assessment, for that assessment year………. 148. (1) Before making the assessment, reassessment or recomputation under s. 147, the AO shall serve on the assessee a notice requiring him to furnish within such period, as may be specified in the notice, a return of his income or the income of any other person in respect of which he is assessable under this Act during the previous year corresponding to the relevant assessment year, in the prescribed form and verified in the prescribed manner and setting forth such other particulars as may be prescribed; and the provisions of this Act shall, so far as may be, apply accordingly as if such return were a return required to be furnished under s. 139. (2) The AO shall, before issuing any notice under this section, record his reasons for doing so149. (1) No notice under s. 148 shall be issued for the relevant assessment year.— (a) in a case where an assessment under sub-s. (3) of s. 143 or s. 147 has been made for such assessment year,— (i) if four years have elapsed from the end of the relevant assessment year, unless the case falls under sub-cl. (ii) or sub-cl. (iii); (ii) if four years, but not more than seven years, have elapsed from the end of the relevant assessment year unless the income chargeable to tax which has escaped assessment amounts to or is likely to amount to rupees fifty thousand or more for that year; (iii) if seven years, but not more than ten years, have elapsed from the end of the relevant assessment year, unless the income chargeable to tax which has escaped assessment amounts to or is likely to amount to rupees one lakh or more for that year; (b) in any other case,— (i) if four years have elapsed from the end the relevant assessment year, unless the case falls under sub-cl. (ii) or sub- cl. (iii); (ii) if four years, but not more than seven years, have elapsed from the end of the relevant assessment year, unless the income chargeable to tax which has escaped assessment amounts to or is likely to amount to rupees twenty-five thousand or more for that year;(iii) if seven years, but not more than ten years, have lapsed from the end of the relevant assessment year, unless the income chargeable to tax which has escaped assessment amounts to or is likely to amount to rupees fifty thousands or more for that year.

Explanation—In determining income chargeable to tax which has escaped assessment for the purposes of this sub- section, the provisions of Expln. 2 of s. 147 shall apply as they apply for the purposes of the section. (2) The provisions of sub-s. (1) as to the issue of notice shall be subject to the provisions of s. 151. (3) If the person on whom a notice under s. 148 is to be served is a person treated as the agent of a non-resident under s. 163 and the assessment, reassessment or recomputation to be made in pursuance of the notice is to be made on him as the agent of such non-resident, the notice shall not be issued after the expiry of a period of two years from the end of the relevant assessment year.”

10. A perusal of the provisions quoted above shows that under s. 147, the AO can assess or reassess any income chargeable to tax if he has “reason to believe” that such income has escaped assessment for any assessment year. The AO can also assess any other income chargeable to tax which has escaped assessment and which comes to his notice subsequently in the course of proceedings under s. 147. He is also empowered to recompute the loss or depreciation allowance or any other allowance for the assessment year concerned. The proviso to s. 147 imposes a bar against the taking of action under that section after the expiry of four years from the end of the relevant assessment year, where an assessment under s. 143(3) or s. 147 has been made. This is subject to an exception that if the income chargeable to tax has escaped assessment for such assessment year by reason of failure on the part of the assessee to make a return under s. 139 or in response to the notice issued under s. 142(2) or s. 148 or to disclose fully and truly all material facts necessary for assessment in respect of a particular assessment year. Sec. 148 lays down that before making assessment or reassessment or recomputation under s. 147, the AO should serve upon the assessee a notice requiring him to furnish a return of his income or the income of any other person in respect of which he is assessable under the Act during the previous year corresponding to the relevant assessment year. Sub-s. (2) of s. 148 makes it obligatory for the AO to record his reasons for issuing notice under s. 148(1). Sec. 149 prescribes the time-limit for issuing notice under s. 148. Clause (a) of sub-s. (1) of s. 149 prohibits the issuance of notice after the stipulated period in a case where an assessment under sub-s. (3) of s. 143 or s. 147 has been made. Clause (b) of s. 149 prescribes the limitation for issuing notice in any other case.

11. The ambit and scope of ss. 147(a) and 148 of the Act was considered by the Supreme Court in Phool Chand Bajrang Lal vs. ITO (1993) 113 CTR (SC) 436 : (1993) 203 ITR 456 (SC) : TC 51R.825. After reviewing a number of judicial precedents on the ambit and scope of ss. 147 and 148 of the 1961 Act, a two-Judge Bench of the Supreme Court held as under : “From a combined review of the judgments of this Court, it follows that an ITO acquires jurisdiction to reopen an assessment under s. 147(a) r/w s. 148 of the IT Act, 1961, only if on the basis of specific, reliable and relevant information coming to his possession subsequently, he has reasons, which he must record, to believe that, by reason of omission or failure on the part of the assessee to make a true and full disclosure of all material facts necessary for his assessment during the concluded assessment proceedings, any part of his income, profits or gains chargeable to income-tax has escaped assessment. He may start reassessment proceedings either because some fresh facts had come to light which were not previously disclosed or some information with regard to the facts previously disclosed comes into his possession which tends to expose the untruthfulness of those facts. In such situations, it is not a case of mere change of opinion or the drawing of a different inference from the same facts as were earlier available but acting on fresh information. Since the belief is that of the ITO, the sufficiency of reasons for forming the belief is not for the Court to judge but it is open to an assessee to establish that there in fact existed no belief or that the belief was not at all a bona fide one or wasbased on vague, irrelevant and non-specific information. To that limited extent, the Court may look into the conclusion arrived at by the ITO and examine whether there was any material available on the record from which therequisite belief could be formed by the ITO and further whether that material had any rational connection or a live link for the formation of the requisite belief. It would be immaterial whether the ITO, at the time of making the original assessment, could or could not have found by further enquiry or investigation, whether the transaction wasgenuine or not if, on the basis of subsequent information, the ITO arrives at a conclusion, after satisfying the twin conditions prescribed in s. 147(a) of the Act, that the assessee had not made a full and true disclosure of the material facts at the time of original assessment and, therefore, income chargeable to tax had escaped assessment…….. One of the purposes of s. 147 appears to us to be to ensure that a party cannot get away by wilfully making a false or untrue statement at the time of original assessment and when that falsity comes to notice, to turn around and say ‘you accepted my lie, now your hands are tied and you can do nothing’. It would be a travesty of justice to allow the assessee that latitude.”

In Raymond Woollen Mills Ltd. vs. ITO (1999) 152 CTR (SC) 418 : (1999) 236 ITR 34 (SC), their Lordships of the Supreme Court rejected the challenge to the notice, issued for reassessment by observing that at that stage, the Court can only consider whether there is a prima facie case for reassessment and reopening proceedings cannot be struck down by going into sufficiency or correctness of the material relied upon by the assessing authority for the purpose of reopening. An analysis of the aforementioned decisions of the Supreme Court makes it clear that the Court can invalidate a notice issued under s. 148 of the Act only if it is satisfied that no material was available before the ITO on the basis of which he could form a belief that the income chargeable to tax had escaped assessment or that the said belief was not at all bona fide or was based on vague, arbitrary and non-specific information. However, the Court cannot go into the sufficiency of the reasons for forming the belief and sit in appeal over the opinion formed by the competent authority. We may now advert to the facts of this case for the purpose of deciding as to whether the impugned notices are vitiated due to violation of s. 147 or the same are time-barred. It is an undisputed position that after having got information about the loan obtained by the petitioner from the Haryana Financial Corporation, respondent No. 2 confronted Dr. B.D. Grover with the said information and called upon him to furnish details and the source of investment on assets pledged with the Corporation.

Thereafter, a detailed investigation was made into the valuation of the land and building of the Nursing Home. He then issued notices to Dr. B.D. Grover under s. 147 of the Act, who responded to the same by asserting that the building did not belong to him. Respondent No. 2 accepted his version and filed the notice. Simultaneously, he issued the impugned notices to the petitioner. While doing so, respondent No. 2 took into consideration the report of the Departmental Valuation Officer and the fact that the assessee has not offered any explanation about the difference in the valuation projected by it and the report of the Departmental Valuation Officer and further that the income-tax returns had not been filed for the years 1993-94 and 199495. On the basis of this material, he formed the belief that it was a case of escaped assessment. In our opinion, even though the report of the Departmental Valuation Officer cannot be made the sole basis for initiating action under s. 147 r/w s. 148 of the Act, it can certainly be considered with other facts for forming the belief that the income of the assessee had escaped assessment and in the facts of the present case, it is not possible to hold that the belief formed by respondent No. 2 is not based on any material whatsoever.

15. The plea of the petitioner that the notices should be declared as barred by limitation which appears to be based on the language of the first proviso to s. 147 merits rejection, its case is fully covered by s. 149(1)(b)(ii) and (iii) of the Act which prescribes limitation of seven years for initiation of action under s. 147 in a case like the present one. On the basis of the above conclusion, we hold that the impugned notices do not suffer from any jurisdiction or legal infirmity which may justify interference by this Court under Art. 226 of the Constitution of India.

16. We may now briefly refer to the decisions relied upon by learned counsel for the petitioner. In ITO vs. Master Keshav Suri (supra), a two-Judges Bench of the Supreme Court dismissed the special leave petition filed by the Revenue against the judgment of the Delhi High Court in which it was held that action under s. 147 r/w s. 148 of the Act cannot be legally taken with reference to the information in respect of which the limitation had expired. In Smt. Amala Das vs. CIT (supra), a learned single Judge of this Court held that reopening of the assessment on the basis of the subsequent valuation report prepared for wealth-tax purposes is impermissible because such valuation report is nothing more than a mere opinion and mere change of opinion cannot justify initiation of proceedings under s. 147(a). In Acchut Kumar S. Inamdar’s case (1981) 132 ITR 331 (Bom) (supra) a learned single judge of the Bombay High Court held that once the WTO had accepted the valuation of the land indicated in the return filed by the assessee the notice for reassessment cannot be issued on the premise that the land had been undervalued. The facts of Kamalam Rajendran’s case (supra) show that the assessee had disclosed the cost of construction and submitted that contractor’s bills. The same was accepted, but after some years notice under s. 147 of the Act was issued on the basis of a report prepared by the Income-tax Valuer. A learned single Judge of the Madras High Court quashed the notice by making the following observations : “The valuation report could, at best, be considered as a mere reason, but could not be a reason to be believed by the assessing authority, unless and otherwise there was a believable reason by the assessing authority that the petitioner had failed to file a return or failed to disclose, fully and truly all material facts. In the instant case, admittedly, the petitioner had fully and truly disclosed all the material facts by producing the vouchers and other contractor’s bills, etc. at the appropriate time for assessing the property supported by the valuation certificate under r. 1BB of the WT Rules for assessing the same both under the IT Act as well as under the WT Act. The notice of reassessment was not valid.” In Desai Brothers’ case (supra), a Division Bench of the Gujarat High Court held that the requirement of recording the reasons as a condition precedent to the initiation of proceedings under s. 147 was mandatory and the Court can examine the nexus between the material on record and the belief formed by the competent authority that the income had escaped assessment. In Laxmidebi Mehta’s (supra), a Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court held that where the first assessment proceedings had failed to result in a valid assessment due to lapse on the part of the IT authorities, they were not entitled to initiate fresh assessment proceedings on identical facts.

17. In our opinion, none of the aforementioned decisions has got any bearing on the petitioner’s challenge to the notice which, as mentioned above, do not suffer from any jurisdictional infirmity warranting interference by this Court. Hence, the writ petition is dismissed.

[Citation : 248 ITR 493]

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