Omission by the AO to explicitly specify initiation of penalty proceedings makes the penalty order void

CIT vs. SSA’s Emerald Meadows (Supreme Court) 

The Karnataka High Court had to consider the following question of law.

“Whether, omission if assessing officer to explicitly mention that penalty proceedings are being initiated for furnishing of inaccurate particulars or that for concealment of income makes the penalty order liable for cancellation even when it has been proved beyond reasonable doubt that the assessee had concealed income in the facts and circumstances of the case?”

The High Court ruled in favour of the assessee with the following observations: 

“The Tribunal has allowed the appeal filed by the assessee holding the notice issued by the Assessing Officer under Section 274 read with Section 271(1)(c) of the Income Tax Act, 1961 (for short ‘the Act’) to be bad in law as it did not specify which limb of Section 271(1)(c) of the Act, the penalty proceedings had been initiated i.e., whether for concealment of particulars of income or furnishing of inaccurate particulars of income. The Tribunal, while allowing the appeal of the assessee, has relied on the decision of the Division Bench of this Court rendered in the case of COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX -VS- MANJUNATHA COTTON AND GINNING FACTORY (2013) 359 ITR 565. In our view, since the matter is covered by judgment of the Division Bench of this Court, we are of the opinion, no substantial question of law arises in this appeal for determination by this Court. The appeal is accordingly dismissed.”

The department filed a Special Leave Petition to challenge the aforesaid judgement of the High Court. HELD by the Supreme Court dismissing the SLP:

“We do not find any merit in this petition. The special leave petition is, accordingly, dismissed.”


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