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Murliwala Agrotech Private Limited vs. DCIT - (Income Tax Appellate Tribunal) (01 Jun 2023)

Penalty proceedings are penal in nature, the charge of offence should be specific, unequivocal and unambiguous


Direct Taxation

Present appeal arises out of the order of the Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeals) [CIT(A)] in Appeal against the order under Section 271(1)(c) of the Income-tax Act, 1961 ( IT Act') passed by the learned Assessing Officer. The only effective issue to be decided in this appeal is as to whether the learned CIT(A) was justified in confirming the levy of penalty under Section 271(1)(c) of the Act in the facts and circumstances of the instant case.

The learned AR placed on record the copy of penalty notice issued under Section 274 r.w.s. 271(1)(c) the Act, wherein the ld. AO had not struck off the relevant portion duly mentioning the specific offence committed by the assessee as to whether it has concealed the particulars of income or furnished inaccurate particulars of income.

When the penalty proceedings are sought to be initiated by the Revenue under Section 271(1)(c) of the Act, the specific ground which forms the foundation thereof have to be mentioned in clear and unambiguous terms. This is very much required in order to ensure that the assessee would have proper opportunity to meet the charges leveled by the ld. AO and put forth its defence. The penalty proceedings are penal in nature and, hence, the charge of offence should be specific, unequivocal and unambiguous.

It is expected that the Revenue should either mention whether the assessee herein had concealed its particulars of income or furnished inaccurate particulars of income or committed both the offences. That is why in the show cause-notice prescribed for the penalty, these columns are specifically mentioned and the ld. AO is duly expected to strike off the irrelevant portion thereon. When the same is not done by the ld. AO in the show-cause notice, the said notice becomes defective and the entire penalty proceedings gets vitiated. Appeal of the assessee is allowed.


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