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Popatlal Umedmalji Jain Vs. The Income Tax Officer, Ward 1(5) and Ors. (Neutral Citation: 2024:BHC-AUG:2402-DB) - (High Court of Bombay) (05 Feb 2024)

Assessing Officer before issuing any notice under Section 148-A of IT Act, shall conduct an enquiry with the prior approval of the specified authority


Direct Taxation

The Petitioner has invoked jurisdiction of present Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, 1950 thereby praying for issuance of Writ of Mandamus to quash and set aside show cause notice dated 28th March, 2023, issued under Section 148-A of the Income Tax Act,1961 (IT Act) as well as the Order dated 10th April, 2023 passed therein.

The issue involved in the present petition is no more res integra. In similar set of facts and circumstances, this Court in case of Satguru Sai Extrusions Pvt.Ltd., V/s. Union of India, held that as per the language of sub-clause (a), the Assessing Officer, before issuing any notice under Section 148-A of IT Act, shall conduct an enquiry, if required, with the prior approval of the specified authority. The acts to be performed by the Assessing Officer would include conducting of any enquiry, if required. Under clause (b), an opportunity of being heard is to be provided to the assessee. Clause (c) requires that the reply of the assessee has to be taken into account and clause (d) requires an order to be passed for forming an opinion that notice under Section 148 of IT Act, has to be issued on the basis of the material available on record, which includes the reply of the assessee. It is further held that, the words "if required" have been set out in 148A(a) so as to leave it to the discretion of the Assessing Officer as to whether he desires to conduct an enquiry.

The Petitioner was served with the notice under Section 148-A of the Act claiming escapement of income chargeable to tax for the assessment year 2019-2020. Along with the notice the Petitioner was also supplied with information forming basis of notice under Section 148A(b). The Petitioner responded to said notice vide communication dated 1st April, 2023 and gave details of his income and also, produced Statement of Bank Account. On 10th April, 2023, the Respondent No. 1 passed the impugned order holding that, prima facie, income chargeable escaped within the meaning of Section 147 of the Act and proposed to re-asses such income and called upon the Petitioner to furnish details/allowances or deduction for the Assessment Year 2019-2020 within 30 days from the service of notice, by order under sub-section (d) of the Section 148A of the Act.

The Respondents shall follow the due procedure laid down in law and ensure that the Petitioner is extended an adequate and reasonable opportunity to contest the notice under Section 148, as is permissible in Law. Accordingly, all contentions of the parties are kept open.Petition disposed off.


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