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Mere reopening of the assessment won’t provide a cause of action for filing of writ petitions: HC

October 11, 2018[2018] 98 200 (Madras)

IT : When a notice is issued under section 148 to assessee, proper course of action for assessee is to file return and if he so desires, to seek reasons for issuing notice and on receipt thereof to file objections to issuance of notice. Reasons to be recorded by Assessing Officer for taking decision to reopen escaped assessment does not mean that such reasons are to be communicated along with notice itself

• Considering the fact that there were some materials on record and information with the Department of Income Tax, reopening of assessment in the writ petitions with reference to sections 147 to 153, was in accordance with law and there was no infirmity, as such. Thus, writ petitioner was bound to respond to Assessing Officer for purpose of arriving at conclusion and for taking a decision. In event of passing an order of assessment or reassessment, writ petitioner is entitled to prefer an appeal contemplated under provisions of Act. Contrarily, based on preliminary information gathered by Assessing Officer, notice issued for purpose of reopening of assessment would not provide a cause of action for filing of instant writ petitions. The writ petitioner had miserably failed to establish any legally acceptable ground for purpose of interfering with actions initiated by respondents by invoking provisions of the Income Tax Act, 1961. Thus, there is no infirmity as such, in respect of initiation of proceedings for reopening of the assessment under the Act and the writ petitions are devoid of merits. Entertaining a writ petition at notice stage, must be sparingly and cautiously done. The High Courts must be restrained from entertaining such writ petitions when very notice itself is under challenge.

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