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Here is a landmark ruling from a landmark judge DR. MS. ANITA SUMANTH J. of the Madras High Court in KALAIGNAR TV PVT. LTD.  V. CIT and another (2022] 449 ITR 492 (Mad) who is lead to believe on the basis of assessment docket sheet notings that there was no intention of the officer to afford a fair or a de novo hearing, which, in her view, borders on contempt. In this case the assessment has been rolled back to the tax officer for redoing with the following directions:


i) The Assessing Officer shall provide to the assessee all evidence collected which he proposes to use in the course of assessment against the assessee.


(ii) Liberty was given to the Assessing Officer to call for further documents which he feels are necessary for completion of the assess ment.


The tax officer sat over the first direction all through during the assessment reframing which appeared to be a copy paste of original assessment order. 


This High Court pointed out that in deciding the veracity of the assessment, the court, under article 226 of the Constitution of India is primarily concerned with the procedure followed by the assessing authority. At this juncture the Learned judge emphasised a further point that the framing of an assessment has to be in line with the procedures that have been set out in the Manual of Office Procedure – Volume-II issued by the Directorate of Income-tax. Her reference to the manual drover her to the point that the proper procedure for framing of assessment is not just one evolved by the courts, but one codified by the Department by way of the guidelines framed for the officers. paragraph 3.2.7 the manual requires officers to furnish copies of all documents that are referred to in the assessment order and relied upon by the officer to the assessee. 

This has not been done in this matter despite a specific direction by the Tribunal in this regard. 


So she held a view that Courts have consistently reiterated the position that an order as repugnant to the provisions of natural justice and proper procedure, as the present one, is liable to be set aside and that therefore she had no hesitation in doing so.


HOWEVER she declined the urge for remand by the department Standing Counsel to have another innings for reframing of the assessment and rather went on to hold that the impugned assessment stands annulled because of the blatant disregard to all cannons of law, fairness as well as to the order of the Tribunal while quoting from the hon’ble Supreme Court order in the case of Union of India v. Kamlakshi Finance Corporation Limited [1992] Suppl (1) SCC 443, in reiterating the well settled proposition that unless there is maintenance of judicial discipline at all hierarchies of assessment, it would be impossible for justice to be ren- dered. Unless authorities adhere not only just to the letter but also to the spirit of orders passed by the superior authorities discipline would be impossible to achieve.

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