Author: Ashita Singh, Student at Manipal University, Jaipur
“Legality of Prior approval of Joint Commissioner of Income Tax (JCIT) for assessment in search cases under (Section 153D of Income Tax Act, 1961)”.
Section 153D of the act withinside the gift Search Assessment regime mandates that a previous approval is important for a legitimate evaluation beneathneath Section 153A and 153C of the act. For the sake of brevity, the applicable extract provisions of Section 153D of the act are reproduced herein under:- “No order of evaluation or reassessment will be handed through an Assessing Officer under the rank of Joint Commissioner in admire of every evaluation 12 months stated in clause (b) of phase 153A or the evaluation 12 months stated in clause (b) of sub-phase (1) of phase 153B, besides with the previous approval of the Joint Commissioner. Provided that not anything contained on this phase shall follow wherein the evaluation or reassessment order, because the case maybe, is needed to be handed through the Assessing Officer with the previous approval of the Commissioner beneathneath sub-phase (12) of phase 144BA.” From the perusal of the Section 153D of the act examine with the CBDT Circular No. three of 2008, dated 12.three.2008, the legislative purpose may be collected to date as that the legislature in its maximum expertise made it obligatory that the exams of seek instances need to be made with the previous approval of advanced authority, in order that the advanced authority follow their thoughts at the substances and different attending instances on the premise of which the officer is making the evaluation and after due software of thoughts and on the premise of seized substances, the advanced authority ought to approve the Assessment order. Object of entrusting the obligation of Approval of evaluation in seek instances is that the Joint CIT, together along with his enjoy and adulthood of information need to scrutinize the seized files and every other cloth forming the inspiration of Assessment. It is an fundamental regulation that every time any statutory duty is casted upon any statutory authority such authority is needed to discharge its duty now no longer robotically, now no longer even officially however after due software of thoughts. Thus, the duty of granting Approval acts as an in-built safety to the taxpayer towards arbitrary or unjust exercising of discretion through the AO. The approval granted beneathneath phase 153D of the Act need to important replicate due software of thoughts and if the identical is subjected to judicial scrutiny, it need to stand for itself and need to be self-defending. Now the query arises as to whether or not a mechanical approval granted u/s 153D of the act may be handled as legitimate in view of the mandate of Sec. 153D of the Act vis-à-vis the legislative purpose of putting the stated phase withinside the statute. It is visible in exercise that the appraisal record in conjunction with the seized cloth, statements etc. from the research wing is obtained through the assessing officer at nearly on the fagend of the evaluation complaints with severa findings and similarly guidelines and pointers for similarly research to be accomplished through the Assessing Officer at his cease. During this phase, the Assessing Officer is likewise moreover required to facilitate the centralization of similarly instances for coordinated research which takes vast time. Examination of seized cloth, going thru the appraisal record, practise of questionnaires for the evaluation complaints calls for full-size time of the Assessing Officer. Even on the cease of the assessee subjected to such evaluation, vast time is likewise required to grant replies and make compliances to several questionnaires issued through the Assessing Officer.