In carrying out the indepth scrutiny and run through of the sequence of dates and events of the scrutiny proceedings the Madras High Court in 16 ITR-OL 503 found the following violations of natural justice filament :
1. There was a long gap between the date of filing of the return and the date when the proceedings were first commenced;
2. The order in question in so far as it related to the issue was a mere repetition of the entire notice and the contentions raised by the assessee in reply to show cause notice and the case law referred to had not been adverted to.
3. For the first time a show-cause notice is Issued at the eleventh hour
In setting aside the assessment the High Court left the following food for thought :
“That the notice soliciting a response could well have been issued in a timely manner particularly when the contentious issue had been identified as early as on August 23, 2019 and September 13, 2019 when queries had been put to the assessee and its responses solicited. Specific issues, as and when identified could be put to the assessee then and there to ensure timely and proper response and finalisation.”
We can only wish that these basic tenets would obviously be kept in mind in carrying faceless assessment responsibilities.