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CIT vs. Amitabh Bachchan (Supreme Court)
June, 06th 2016

S. 263: Even if AO applies mind and decides not to assess expenditure as unexplained u/s 69C because the assessee withdrew the claim for deduction, the CIT is entitled to revise the assessment on the ground that the matter needed further investigation

(i) The CIT took the view that notwithstanding the withdrawal of the claim by the assessee, in view of the earlier stand taken that the said expenses were incurred for security purposes of the assessee, the Assessing Officer ought to have proceeded with the matter as the assessee was following the cash system of accounting and the filing of the re-revised return, prima facie, indicated that the additional expenses claimed had been incurred. Withdrawal of claim by assessee can be for variety of reasons and this does not mean that Assessing Officer should abandon enquiries regarding sources for incurring expenses. Assessee follows cash system of accounting and the claim regarding additional expenses was made through duly verified revised return. The claim was pressed during assessment proceedings carried on by A.O. after filing revised return and it was specially stated in letter dated 13.02.2004 that expenses were for security purposes and that payments have been made out of cash balances available etc. Under the circumstances, the Assessing Officer was expected to examine the matter further to arrive at a definite finding whether assessee incurred expenses or not and in case, actually incurred, then what were sources for incurring these expenses. Assessing Officer was satisfied on withdrawal of the claim and in my view, his failure to decide the matter regarding actual incurring of additional expenses and sources thereof resulted into erroneous order which is prejudicial to the interest of revenue.”

(ii) There can be no doubt that so long as the view taken by the Assessing Officer is a possible view the same ought not to be interfered with by the Commissioner under Section 263 of the Act merely on the ground that there is another possible view of the matter. Permitting exercise of revisional power in a situation where two views are possible would really amount to conferring some kind of an appellate power in the revisional authority. This is a course of action that must be desisted from. However, the above is not the situation in the present case in view of the reasons stated by the learned C.I.T. on the basis of which the said authority felt that the matter needed further investigation, a view with which we wholly agree. Making a claim which would prima facie disclose that the expenses in respect of which deduction has been claimed has been incurred and thereafter abandoning/withdrawing the same gives rise to the necessity of further enquiry in the interest of the Revenue. The notice issued under Section 69-C of the Act could not have been simply dropped on the ground that the claim has been withdrawn. We, therefore, are of the opinion that the learned C.I.T. was perfectly justified in coming to his conclusions insofar as the issue No.(iii) is concerned and in passing the impugned order on that basis. The learned Tribunal as well as the High Court, therefore, ought not to have interfered with the said conclusion.

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