The Madras High court in (2022] 449 ITR 351 (Mad) held that the requirement of show-cause notice/draft assessment order is mandatory and cannot be sidestepped by the faceless assessment authority.
At the same time it held that any omission in this regard would be only a procedural or technical violation citing difference between 143(2) notice and other follow up notices and therefore curable as also drawing support from long list of other state high court orders.
These two observations somewhat go in conflict and deserve clarity from Supreme Court at the earliest.
Assessment is a continued exercise and any deeply flawed action during their course may also invalidate assessment in total especially when the new faceless scheme is meant to impart greater transparency and accountability and thus has imbibed rule of natural justice. Last and final show cause notice is as much a requirement under law as a first notice issued u/s 143(2).