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Delhi High CourtIndian Cases

Commissioner Of Income Tax vs Shankarlal Ved Prakash Huf on 27 November 2003

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Delhi High Court
Commissioner Of Income Tax vs Shankarlal Ved Prakash Huf on 27 November, 2003
Equivalent citations: (2004)187CTR(DEL)8
Bench: D.K. Jain, Madan B. Lokur
1. CM 97/2002 & RA 96/2002 This is an application by the Revenue under Section 5 of the Limitation Act, 1963, r/w Section 151 CPC, seeking condensation of delay of “about 12 months” in filing the review application against the order passed by this Court on 10th April, 2001, in ITA No. 1/2000. By the impugned order, following the decision of this Court in ITC No. 35/1999, Revenue’s appeal under Section 260A of the IT Act, 1961 (for short ‘the Act’), was not entertained.

2. In the application, which is supported by an affidavit of the CIT, Delhi-VII, New Delhi, it is stated that delay in filing the review application was on account of the fact that the decision to file SLP/review application had to be taken in consultation with multiple authorities, namely, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (for short CBDT) or the Ministry of Law, etc. which was a time-consuming process. A list of dates and events filed with the application reads as follows:

S. Date Events
1. 10-4-2001 Order of the Hon’ble Delhi High Court
in ITA No. 65/2000.
2. 7-5-2001 Certified copy of order received by
the Standing Counsel.
3. 28-5-2001 Order received in the office of the
concerned CCIT.
4. 18-7-2001 The CIT sent the file to the CBDT for
its opinion as regards filing of SLP.
5. 29-10-2001 Opinion of the Law Ministry dt. 15th
Oct., 2001 received in the office of
the CCIT (Admn.). Solicitor General
opined that instead of filing SLP
review petition be filed.
6. Restructuring of the Department
and change in the jurisdiction of
the AO etc.
7. 13-11-2001 Matter referred to the Standing Counsel
in view of the opinion of the Ministry
of Law.
8. 27-3-2002 Sending the file to another Standing
Counsel after receiving the same from
the first one.
9. 23-4-2002 File received back from the second
Standing Counsel.
10. 30-4-2002 Sending the file to yet another
Standing Counsel.
11. 1-6-2002 to Summer vacation of the High Court.
12. 12-7-2002 Filing of the review petition.

The application is resisted by the respondent-assessed.

3. We have heard Mr. R.C. Pandey, learned senior standing counsel for the Revenue and Mr. C.S. Aggarwal, learned counsel for the assessed.

4. Relying on the decision of the apex Court in State of Haryana v. Chandra Mani and Ors. . Mr. Pandey has vehemently submitted that since the processing of the file from one Ministry to another and then from one standing counsel to another took a considerable time, causing the delay, the Court may take a pragmatic view in the matter and condone the delay. Reliance is also placed on another decision of the apex Court in Collector, Land Acquisition v. Mst. Katiji and Ors. .

5. Having regard to the factual scenario, as projected in the afore-extracted list of dates and events, we are unable to agree with learned counsel for the applicant that a sufficient cause for condensation of delay of more than 400 days in filing the review application is made out. It is evident from the said list that in the first instance the office of the Chief CIT took almost two months in forwarding the file to the CBDT for its opinion. Mercifully, the Board took more than three months in obtaining the opinion of the Ministry of Law. What happened thereafter is again a true reflection of the file pushing and passing on the buck, ethos. To say the least, the file has been dealt with in a most casual and cavalier manner.

6. We are conscious of the observations of the Supreme Court, that the expression “sufficient cause” should be considered with pragmatism in justice-oriented approach rather than the technical detection of sufficient cause for explaining every day’s delay. True, that having regard to the fact that the State Represents collective cause of the community, certain amount of latitude to it is permissible but in a case of apparent lethargy, like the present one, Chandra Mani’s case (supra) cannot be permitted to be used as a shield for inaction. We are of the view that on facts in hand no cause, much less a sufficient cause has been made out for condensation of delay in filing the review application and we are constrained to dismiss the application. Ordered accordingly.

Consequently the review application is also dismissed as barred by limitation. However, having regard to the facts of the case, there will be no order as to costs.