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CIT vs. Trend Electronics (Bombay High Court)
October, 20th 2015

(i) It is axiomatic that power to reopen a completed assessment under the Act is an exceptional power and whenever revenue seeks to exercise such power, they must strictly comply with the prerequisite conditions viz. Reopening of reasons to indicate that the Assessing Officer had reason to believe that income chargeable to tax has escaped assessment which would warrant the reopening of an assessment.

(ii) These recorded reasons as laid down by the Apex Court must be furnished to the assessee when sought for so as to enable the assessee to object to the same before the Assessing Officer. Thus in the absence of reasons being furnished, when sought for would make an order passed on reassessment bad in law. The recording of reasons (which has been done in this case) and furnishing of the same has to be strictly complied with as it is a jurisdictional issue. This requirement is very salutary as it not only ensures reopening notices are not lightly issued. Besides in case the same have been issued on some misunderstanding/ misconception, the assessee is given an opportunity to point out that the reasons to believe as recorded in the reasons do not warrant reopening before the reassessment proceedings are commenced. The Assessing Officer disposes of these objections and if satisfied with the objections, then the impugned reopening notice under Section 148 of the Act is dropped/withdrawn otherwise it is proceeded with further. In issues such as this, i.e. where jurisdictional issue is involved the same must be strictly complied with by the authority concerned and no question of knowledge being attributed on the basis of implication can arise. We also do not appreciate the stand of the revenue, that the respondent-assessee had asked for reasons recorded only once and therefore seeking to justify non-furnishing of reasons. We expect the state to act more responsibly (GNK Driveshafts (India) Ltd. Vs. ITO 259 ITR 19 (SC) CIT Vs. Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd 340 ITR 66 followed)

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