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Once a notice u/s 148 is issued within the period of limitation, jurisdiction becomes vested in the ITO to proceed to reassess. Before the Madras High Court in
[2021] 18 ITR-OL 88 (Mad)the petitioners made a limited challenge that notices issued under section 148 being received by them was dispatched belatedly and after the expiry of the period of limitation u/s 149.
Upon reading of section 149 the Court held that the section categorically enumerates the issuance of notice within a period of four years and six years, as the case may be. In their further pointer, it held that Issuance of notice” means, the order of notice is signed by the competent authority. Once the order of notice is signed by the competent authority, that is sufficient that the actions are initiated. Thereafter, delivery
or receipt of the order is irrelevant as far as the requirements contemplated under the provisions of the Income-tax Act is concerned meaning thereby that service can be done even after the last date and that will not upset the with the date of issue of notice.
The Court held that a delay in delivering either by the process server or by the postal department or on account of the sudden declaration of holidays or due to public holidays, etc. cannot be taken benefit of by the assessee in challenging limitation.
The procedure of Affixing digital signatures for authentication by NFAC will rule out litigation on this subject of limitation of issue of notice as both the date and time of signing is easily verifiable.

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