Dear Subscriber, The following important judgement is available for download at itatonline.org. CIT vs. Akil Gulamali Somji (Bombay HighMessage 1 of 1 , Feb 1View Source
Failure To Obtain JCIT’s Approval Renders s. 153C Assessment Order Void
Pursuant to search & seizure action u/s 132 on the premises of a third party, certain documents belonging to the assessee were found and seized pursuant to which a notice u/s 153C was issued to the assessee and assessment u/s 153C r.w.s. 144 were framed. In passing the assessment orders, the AO (ITO) omitted to obtain the consent of the JCIT as mandated by s. 153D. Before the Tribunal, the assessee argued that the failure to obtain the JCIT’s consent rendered the assessment a nullity. The Tribunal (137 ITD 94) upheld the plea on the basis that as the heading to s. 153D refers to a “prior approval” and uses negative wording and the word “shall”, compliance of s. 153D is mandatory and cannot be waived by the assessee. Reliance was also placed on Clause 9 of the Manual of Office Procedure which makes it clear that an assessment order under Chapter XIV-B can be passed only with the previous approval of the JCIT and that the approval must be in writing and stated to have been obtained in the body of the assessment order. On appeal by the Department to the High Court, HELD dismissing the appeal:
Though the question raised proceeds on the basis that approval of the JCIT was given as he had corrected the draft assessment order and the changes were incorporated by the AO in the final assessment order, the finding of fact was recorded by the Tribunal is that no prior approval of the Joint Commissioner was taken before the ITO passed the order. In view of the above, there is no reason to entertain the proposed question and the appeal is dismissed.
S. 292BB does not have retrospective effect