Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Meghalaya High Court disposes of plea against Income Tax notice under Section 148

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The Meghalaya High Court disposed of a petition filed with the grievance that a notice under Section 148 of the Income-Tax Act, 1961 has been issued without following the mandatory procedure under Section 148A thereof.

The petition filed by a private limited company also raised an incidental issue as to jurisdiction.

According to the petitioner assessee, the relevant notice that ought to have afforded the assessee seven days’ time to respond thereto was issued to an email id that was used for filing the return for assessment year 2017-18.

The assessee submitted the notice pertains to the assessment year 2018-19 and, by then, the email id of the assessee had been changed. The assessee said the notice was physically delivered at the address of the assessee on March 30, 2022 and, even before the reply could be issued, the notice under Section 148 of the Act was issued by recording that the assessee had not responded to the previous notice.

While considering the petition, the Division Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice W. Diengdoh observed that since the scheme of the relevant provisions requires a previous notice and seven days’ time to be afforded to the assessee to respond thereto and it appears that such procedure may not have been followed in this case, the subsequent notice under Section 148 of the Act and the order pertaining thereto are set aside and the matter is restored to the initial stage.

Therefore the Court directed that the assessee will have seven days to respond to the initial notice dated March 24, 2022 and such response will be considered by the appropriate authority before passing any order or taking any further steps, whether under Section 148 of the Act or otherwise.

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