Delhi High Court: A Division Bench of Dr S. Muralidhar and Talwant Singh, JJ. quashed an order of reassessment passed by the Assessing officer for non-compliance of the procedure outlined by the Supreme Court in GKN Driveshafts India (P) Ltd. v. CIT, (2003) 1 SCC 72.

The short point involved in the present case was — whether the Assessing Officer could have proceeded to finalise the reassessment pursuant to notices issued under Section 147/148 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 without compliance of procedure laid down by the Supreme Court in GKN Driveshafts case?

The High Court observed: “This Court has emphasised ins several decisions that the procedure outlined by the Supreme Court in GKN Driveshafts (India) Ltd. is sacrosanct. in other words, where in response to a notice issued under Section 147 by the AO, the Assessee seeks the reasons to believe that prompted the reopening, and files objections thereto, those objections have to be considered on their merits and only a reasoned order has to be passed thereon by the AO. Importantly, this has to happen prior to the AO proceeding with the reassessment.”

In the present case, it was noted, the Assessment Officer had not chosen to dispose of the objections filed by the petitioner against reopening of the assessment, but had proceeded to the stage of passing the impugned reassessment order.

The Court, therefore, set aside the reassessment order. Directions were issued to the Assessing Officer to consider the petitioner’s objections to reopening of assessment and dispose of them by a reasoned order within 4 weeks of the date of the order.[Surendra Kumar Jain v. CIT, 2019 SCC OnLine Del 9393, decided on 29-07-2019]

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