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By the provisions of section 153A /153D approval is to be obtained by the Assessing Officer on the draft assessment order before passing the assessment order in search cases. 


In [2023] 21 ITR-OL 665 (All) 85 search assessment cases were approved on the same day arousing suspicion in the minds of the tribunal as mere mechanical approval. 


In quashing the assessment the Court also held that it is humanly impossible to go through the records of 85 cases in one day to apply independent mind to appraise the material before the approving authority while stressing that the approval of draft assessment order being an in-built protection against any arbitrary or unjust exercise of power by the Assessing Officer, cannot be said to be a mechanical exercise, without application of independent mind by the approving authority on the material placed before it and the reasoning given in the assessment order.


Reassessments u/s 147 and even regular assessments are often dragged to the last month/ last fortnight/ last week/last date of their limitation and by and large approvals u/s148A/148 to notice /order/draft orders are obtained on the same day in multiple cases all of which may call for questioning if and only if a ground on mechanical discharge of approval is put up before the appellate authority or Courts . 


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