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ITAT unhappy with delay in hearing of special bench cases; formulated guidelines for expeditious hearing

January 3, 2019[2019] 101 62 (Ahmedabad - Trib.)

IT : Stay applications are filed seeking extension of the stay granted by the Tribunal in respect of income tax and interest demands, arising out of the assessment orders, which are impugned in appeals before Tribunal and have been referred to a Special Bench of the Tribunal and the assessee pointed out that though the Special Bench was constituted almost two years ago, the matter has not come up for hearing at all

• The Tribunal held that such an inordinate delay in fixation of hearing of special benches cases, particularly when stay is granted, is not only inappropriate and contrary to the scheme of the Art, but it does reduce the efficacy and utility of the mechanism of special benches to deal with important matters on which there is divergence of views by the Division Benches or which are otherwise of wider ramifications and national importance. With a view to ensure the expeditious hearing of cases referred to Special Benches and Third Members. The Tribunal has formulated some guidelines that the Special Benches shall, commence hearing within 120 days of the Benches being constituted and if it is not in a position to commence hearing, it shall record the reasons, in brief, for delay in commencement for hearing and that it is only in exceptional circumstances that the adjournment may be granted and it should not exceed period of 30 days.

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