Order under section 148 cannot be issued without giving an opportunity of being heard: HC
Fact and Issue of the case
Petitioner has approached this Court being aggrieved by order issued under the provisions of Section 148 A of the Income Tax Act, 1961. It is the case of the petitioner that pursuant to notice issued to the petitioner, the petitioner had filed reply and also sought for personal hearing. It is submitted that provisions of Section 148 A of the Income Tax Act, 1961 contemplate that the reply of the petitioner shall be considered and the petitioner shall be heard before the officer, decides to proceed to the step of issuing notice under Section 148 of the Income Tax Act. It is submitted that the procedure has not been complied within this case and order has been issued without affording to the petitioner an opportunity of being heard.
Observation of the Court
The Court has heard the learned counsel appearing for the petitioner and the learned Standing Counsel appearing for the respondent department and on a reading of Section 148 A of the Income Tax Act, 1961, We are of the opinion that before the officer proceeds the stage of issuance of notice under Section 148 of the Income Tax Act, he has to comply with the procedure contemplated by Section 148 A of the Income Tax Act. The Order does not show that the petitioner was afforded an opportunity of personal hearing before the order was issued. The provisions of Section 148 A(b) indicate that an order can be issued only after affording an opportunity of hearing. Therefore the said order is quashed. The matter is remanded to the file of the 1st respondent, who shall issue fresh orders after following the procedure contemplated by Section 148A(b) of the Income Tax Act and also after affording to the petitioner an opportunity of being heard. The petitioner shall appear before the 1st respondent at 11 A.M. on 21-11-2022. The 1st respondent shall thereafter hear the petitioner and take a fresh decision after considering the reply and any document produced by the petitioner in response to notice, within a period of one month from 21-11-2022.
The court ruled in favor of the assessee and ruled that since the officer did not provide a opportunity of being heard to the assessee the said order under section 148 stands quashed and directed the AO to follow the procedure as per section 148 and give an opportunity of personal hearing before the order is issued.K-.-Viswanath-Vs-DCIT-Kerala-High-Court