Friday, April 21, 2017

AO's participation in raid doesn’t make reassessment void when he isn’t biased against assessee

The issue before the High Court was as under:

Whether ITAT fell into error in concluding that there was no infirmity in the framing of the assessment by an Officer who was involved in the search and seizure operations?

High Court held in favour of revenue as under:

1) Assessing Officer (AO) has been given the power under the Act to gather information for the purposes of assessment. The mode of gathering such information may vary from the mere issuance of a notice under Section 142 to the more intrusive method of entry and search/seizure envisaged under Section 133A, Section 133B and Section 132.

2) There is nothing inherently unconstitutional in permitting AOto gather the information and to assess the value of the information himself. It was not open to the High Court to have disabled AO from discharging his statutory functions.

3) If the assessee would establish that AO was in fact biased in the sense that he was involved in his personal capacity in the outcome of the assessment, it would be a good ground for setting aside the assessment order.

4) But to hold that bias was established only because the authorised officer under Section 132 and AO were the same person was an incorrect approach.

5) Assessee has, in addition to relying on the circumstance that the AO was a participant in the raiding party, not placed any other material to substantiate the allegation of bias.

6) No personal bias or malice or past history with the said official was alleged, much less proved. Thus, the argument that assessment was void on account of bias was unsustainable and had to be rejected. - [2017] 80 taxmann.com 257 (Delhi)
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