State Bank of India, CHENNAI v. DCIT, Ghaziabad

ITA 337/CHNY/2016 | 2013-2014
Pronouncement Date: 28-10-2016

Appeal Details

RSA Number 33721714 RSA 2016
Assessee PAN AAACS8577K
Bench Chennai
Appeal Number ITA 337/CHNY/2016
Duration Of Justice 8 month(s) 11 day(s)
Appellant State Bank of India, CHENNAI
Respondent DCIT, Ghaziabad
Appeal Type Income Tax Appeal
Pronouncement Date 28-10-2016
Appeal Filed By Assessee
Bench Allotted B
Date Of Final Hearing 14-09-2016
Next Hearing Date 14-09-2016
Assessment Year 2013-2014
Appeal Filed On 16-02-2016
Judgment Text
IN THE INCOME - TAX APPELLATE TRIBUNAL B BENCH CHENNAI . . BEFORE SHRI A. MOHAN ALANKAMONY ACCOUNTANT MEMBER & SHRI DUVVURU R L REDDY JUDICIAL MEMBER I T.A. NO S . 3 36 337 338 339 340 341 AND 342 /MDS/201 6 ASSESSMENT YEAR S :20 13 - 14 AND 2014 - 15 M/S. STATE BANK OF INDIA 1 SALEM MAIN ROAD KOMARAPALAYAM NAMAKKAL DISTRICT. [PAN: A A A C S8577K ] VS. THE DEPUTY COMMISSIONER OF I NCOME TAX C ENTRALIZED PROCESSING CELL TDS VAISHALI GHAZIABAD. ( / APPELLANT ) ( / RESPONDENT ) / APPELLANT BY : SHRI A.S. SRIRAMAN ADVOCATE / RESPONDENT BY : SHRI SUPRIYO PAL J CIT / DATE OF HEARING : 15 . 0 9 .201 6 / DA TE OF P RONOUNCEMENT : 28 . 1 0 .201 6 / O R D E R PER BENCH : TH E S E SEVEN APPEAL S FILED BY THE SAME ASSESSEE ARE DIRECTED AGAINST CONSOLIDATED ORDER OF THE LD. COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX ( APPEALS ) SALEM DATED 17 . 12 .20 1 5 RELE VANT TO THE ASSESSMENT Y EAR S 20 13 - 14 AND 2014 - 15. THE ONLY COMMON GROUND RAISED IN ALL THE APPEALS IS THAT THE LD. CIT(A) ERRED IN NOT CONDONING THE DELAY IN FILING THE APPEAL AND DECIDE THE ISSUE ON MERITS. 2. ALL T HE APPEAL S OF THE ASSESSEE ARE FOUND TO HAVE BEEN FILED LATE B Y ONE DAY BEFORE THE TRIBUNAL . THE LD. COUNSEL FOR THE ASSESSEE HAS FILED A I.T.A. NO S . 336 - 342 /M/ 16 2 PETITION FOR CONDONATION OF DELAY BY STATING THAT THE ACTUAL DATE OF RECEIPT OF THE ORDER OF THE LD. CIT(A) WAS ON 16.01.2016 BUT INADVERTENTLY MENTIONED IN THE COL. NO. 9 OF THE APPEAL MEMO THAT IT WAS RECEIVED ON 17.12.2015 THEREBY THE REGISTRY OF THE TRIBUNAL HAS ISSUED DEFECT MEMO OTHERWISE THERE WAS NO DELAY ON THE PART OF THE ASSESSEE IN FILING THE APPEALS BEFORE THE TRIBUNAL. THEREFORE HE PLEADED THAT THE INADVERTENT MI STAKE COMMITTED WHILE FILLING COL. 9 IN THE APPEAL MEMO MAY BE EXCUSED AND ADMITTED THE APPEALS FOR HEARING. THE LD. DR DID NOT OBJECT TO THE SUBMISSIONS OF THE LD. COUNSEL FOR THE ASSESSEE. IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE SUBMISSIONS OF THE LD. COUNSEL FOR THE ASSE SSEE AND SINCE THERE WAS NO FACTUAL DELAY IN FILING OF THE APPEAL WE ADMIT THE APPEAL S FOR HEARING. 3. AT THE OUTSET THE LD. COUNSEL FOR THE ASSESSEE HAS SUBMITTED THAT THE ASSESSING OFFICER DCIT CENTRALIZED PROCESSING CELL TDS VAISHALI GHAZIABAD HAS PASSED THE INTIMATION UNDER SECTION 200A OF THE INCOME TAX ACT 1961. THE ASSESSEE HAS BEEN LOCATED AT KOMARAPALAYAM AN INTERIOR PLACE IN NAMAKKAL DISTRICT. AGAINST THE ABOVE ORDER OF THE ASSESSING OFFICER THE ASSESSEE HAS PREFERRED APPEALS BEFORE T HE LD. CIT(A) SALEM. HOWEVER THERE WAS DELAY IN FILING VARIOUS APPEALS RANGING FROM 273 DAYS TO 372 DAYS. BEFORE THE LD. CIT(A) THE ASSESSEE HAS FILED AN AFFIDAVIT MAINLY CONTENDING THAT THE MANAGER OF THE ASSESSEE BANK W AS NOT IN A POSITION TO KNOW THA T IT IS AN APPEALABLE AND THEY HAD TO MAKE CONSULTATION WITH THEIR MANAGEMENT I.T.A. NO S . 336 - 342 /M/ 16 3 AND TAX ADVOCATE FOR PREPARING THE APPEALS AND RELATED DOCUMENTS SINCE THE CPC - TDS HAS PROCESSED THE TDS STATEMENT FURNISHED BY THE ASSESSEE UNDER SECTION 200A OF THE INCOME TAX ACT 1961 [ ACT IN SHORT] AND THE INTIMATION WAS COMMUNICATED . HOWEVER THE LD. CIT(A) HAS NOT CONDONE THE DELAY AND DECIDE THE APPEALS ON MERITS THE APPEALS FILED BY THE ASSESSEE WERE DISMISSED. IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE THE LD. COUNSEL FOR THE ASSESSEE HA S SUBMITTED THAT THE DELAY IN FILING THE APPEALS BEFORE THE LD. CIT(A) IS NEITHER WILFUL NOR WANTON AND MOREOVER THERE WAS NO NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF THE ASSESSEE BANK AND THUS PLEADED THAT THE DELAY IN FILING APPEALS BEFORE THE LD. CIT(A) MAY KINDLY B E CONDONED AND ORDERED FOR ADJUDICATING THE APPEALS ON MERITS. 4. ON THE OTHER HAND THE LD. DR STRONGLY OPPOSED TO CONDONE THE HUGE DELAY RANGING UPTO 372 DAYS SINCE THERE WERE NO GOOD REASONS SUPPORTED BY COGENT AND PROPER EVIDENCE TO CONDONE THE DELA Y. 5. WE HAVE HEARD BOTH SIDES PERUSED THE MATERIALS ON RECORD AND GONE THROUGH THE ORDERS OF AUTHORITIES BELOW. IN THIS CASE THE ASSESSEE BANK IS LOCATED AT FAR OFF PLACE I.E. KOMARAPALAYAM IN NAMAKKAL DISTRICT. THE CENTRALIZED PROCESSING CELL TDS VAISHALI GHAZIABAD HAS PROCESSED THE TDS STATEMENT FURNISHED BY THE ASSESSEE UNDER SECTION 200A OF THE ACT AND THE INTIMATION WAS COMMUNICATED. BEING A REMOTE LOCALITY THE BRANCH MANAGER OF THE ASSESSEE BANK COULD NOT GET THE LEGAL OPINION AS TO WHETHE R I.T.A. NO S . 336 - 342 /M/ 16 4 AGAINST THE INTIMATION COMMUNICATED BY THE CPC - TDS APPEALED BEFORE HIGHER FORUM AFTER CONSULTING WITH THE HIGHER AUTHORITIES AND THIS PROCESS TOOK SUFFICIENT TIME AND THEREBY CAUSED DELAY IN FILING THE APPEALS BEFORE THE LD. CIT(A). UNDER THE ABOVE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES WE ARE OF THE CONSIDERED OPINION THAT THERE WAS NO NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF THE ASSESSEE. 6. T HE EXPRESSION 'SUFFICIENT CAUSE' USED IN S ECTION 5 OF THE LIMITATION ACT 1963 AND OTHER STATUTES IS ELASTIC ENOUGH TO ENABLE THE COURTS TO APPLY THE LAW IN A MEANINGFUL MANNER WHICH SERVE THE ENDS OF JUSTICE. NO HARD AND FAST RULE HAS BEEN OR CAN BE LAID DOWN FOR DECIDING THE APPLICATIONS FOR CONDONATION OF DELAY BUT OVER THE YEARS VARIOUS COURT S HA VE ADVOCATED THAT A LIBERAL APPROACH SHOULD BE ADOPTED IN SUCH MATTERS SO THAT SUBSTANTIVE RIGHTS OF THE PARTIES ARE NOT D EFEATED MERELY BECAUSE OF DELAY. TH ERE IS NO PRESUMPTION THAT DELAY IS OCCASIONED DELIBERATELY OR ON ACCOUNT OF CULPABLE NEGLIGENCE OR ON ACCOUNT OF MALA FIDES. A LITIGANT DOE S NOT STAND TO BENEFIT BY RESORTING TO DELAY. IN FACT HE RUNS A SERIOUS RISK. REFUSING TO CONDONE DELAY CAN RESULT IN A MERITORIOUS MATTER BEING THROWN OUT AT THE VERY THRESHOLD AND CAUSE OF JUSTICE BEING DEFEATED. AS AGAINST THIS WHEN DELAY IS CONDONED T HE HIGHEST THAT CAN HAPPEN IS THAT A CAUSE WOULD BE DECIDED ON MERITS AFTER HEARING THE PARTIES. WHEN SUBSTANTIAL JUSTICE AND TECHNICAL CONSIDERATIONS ARE PITTED AGAINST EACH OTHER CAUSE OF SUBSTANTIAL JUSTICE I.T.A. NO S . 336 - 342 /M/ 16 5 DESERVES TO BE PREFERRED FOR THE OTHER SIDE C ANNOT CLAIM TO HAVE VESTED RIGHT IN INJUSTICE BEING DONE BECAUSE OF A NON - DELIBERATE DELAY. MOREOVER I N THE CASE OF N. BALAKRISHNAN V. M. KRISHNAMURTHY (1998) 7 SCC 123 THE HON BLE SUPREME COURT HAS OBSERVED AS UNDER: IT IS AXIOMATIC THAT CONDONATION OF DELAY IS A MATTER OF DISCRETION OF THE COURT. SECTION 5 OF THE LIMITATION ACT DOES NOT SAY THAT SUCH DISCRETION CAN BE EXERCISED ONLY IF THE DELAY IS WITHIN A CERTAIN LIMIT. LENGTH OF DELAY IS NO MATTER ; ACCEPTABILITY OF THE EXPLANATION IS THE ONLY CRITERION. SOMETIMES DELAY OF THE SHORTEST RANGE MAY BE UNCONDONABLE DUE TO WANT OF ACCEPTABLE EXPLANATION WHEREAS IN CERTAIN OTHER CASES DELAY OF VERY LONG RANGE CAN BE CONDONED AS THE EXPLANATION THEREOF IS SATISFACTORY. ONCE THE COURT ACCEPTS THE EXPLANATION AS SUFFICIENT IT IS THE RESULT OF POSITIVE EXERCISE OF DISCRETION AND NORMALLY THE SUPERIOR COURT SHOULD NOT DISTURB SUCH FINDING MUCH LESS IN REVERSIONAL JURISDICTION UNLESS THE EXERCISE OF DISCRETION WAS ON WHOLE UNTENABLE GROUNDS OR ARBITRARY OR PERVERSE. BUT IT IS A DIFFERENT MATTER WHEN THE FIRST COURT REFUSES TO CONDONE THE DELAY. IN SUCH CASES THE SUPERIOR COURT WOULD BE FREE TO CONSIDER THE CAUSE SHOWN FOR THE DELAY AFRESH AND IT IS OPEN TO SUC H SUPERIOR COURT TO COME TO ITS OWN FINDING EVEN UNTRAMMELLED BY THE CONCLUSION OF THE LOWER COURT. THE REASON FOR SUCH A DIFFERENT STANCE IS THUS: THE PRIMARY FUNCTION OF A COURT IS TO ADJUDICATE THE DISPUTE BETWEEN THE PARTIES AND TO ADVANCE SUBSTANTIAL JUSTICE. TIME LIMIT FIXED FOR APPROACHING THE COURT IN DIFFERENT SITUATIONS IN NOT BECAUSE ON THE EXPIRY OF SUCH TIME A BAD CAUSE WOULD TRANSFORM INTO A GOOD CAUSE. RULE OF LIMITATION ARE NOT MEANT TO DESTROY THE RIGHT OF PARTIES. THEY ARE MEANT TO SEE T HAT PARTIES DO NOT RESORT TO DILATORY TACTICS BUT SEEK THEIR REMEDY PROMPTLY. THE OBJECT OF PROVIDING A LEGAL REMEDY IS TO REPAIR THE DAMAGE CAUSED BY REASON OF LEGAL INJURY. LAW OF LIMITATION FIXES A LIFE - SPAN FOR SUCH LEGAL REMEDY FOR THE REDRESS OF THE LEGAL INJURY SO SUFFERED. TIME IS PRECIOUS AND THE WASTED TIME WOULD NEVER REVISIT. DURING EFFLUX OF TIME NEWER CAUSES WOULD SPROUT UP NECESSITATING NEWER PERSONS TO SEEK LEGAL REMEDY BY APPROACHING THE COURTS. SO A LIFE SPAN MUST BE FIXED FOR EACH REMEDY . UNENDING PERIOD FOR LAUNCHING THE REMEDY MAY LEAD TO UNENDING UNCERTAINTY AND CONSEQUENTIAL ANARCHY. LAW OF LIMITATION IS THUS FOUNDED ON PUBLIC POLICY. IT IS ENSHRINED IN THE MAXIM INTEREST REIPUBLICAE UP SIT FINIS LITIUM (IT IS FOR THE GENERAL I.T.A. NO S . 336 - 342 /M/ 16 6 WELFARE THAT A PERIOD BE PUT TO LITIGATION). RULES OF LIMITATION ARE NOT MEANT TO DESTROY THE RIGHT OF THE PARTIES. THEY ARE MEANT TO SEE THAT PARTIES DO NOT RESORT TO DILATORY TACTICS BUT SEEK THEIR REMEDY PROMPTLY. THE IDEA IS THAT EVERY LEGAL REMEDY MUST BE KEP T ALIVE FOR A LEGISLATIVELY FIXED PERIOD OF TIME. A COURT KNOWS THAT REFUSAL TO CONDONE DELAY WOULD RESULT FORECLOSING A SUITOR FROM PUTTING FORTH HIS CAUSE. THERE IS NO PRESUMPTION THAT DELAY IN APPROACHING THE COURT IS ALWAYS DELIBERATE. THIS COURT HAS HELD THAT THE WORDS 'SUFFICIENT CAUSE' UNDER SECTION 5 OF THE LIMITATION ACT SHOULD RECEIVE A LIBERAL CONSTRUCTION SO AS TO ADVANCE SUBSTANTIAL JUSTICE VIDE SHAKUNTALA DEVI JAIN VS. KUNTAL KUMARI [AIR 19 69 SC 575] AND STATE OF WEST BENGAL VS. THE ADMINISTRATOR HOWRAH MUNICIPALITY [AIR 1972 SC 749]. IT MUST BE REMEMBERED THAT IN EVERY CASE OF DELAY THERE CAN BE SOME LAPSE ON THE PART OF THE LITIGANT CONCERNED. THAT ALONE IS NOT ENOUGH TO TURN DOWN HIS PLE A AND TO SHUT THE DOOR AGAINST HIM. IF THE EXPLANATION DOES NOT SMACK OF MALA FIDES OR IT IS NOT PUT FORTH AS PART OF A DILATORY STRATEGY THE COURT MUST SHOW UTMOST CONSIDERATION TO THE SUITOR. BUT WHEN THERE IS REASONABLE GROUND TO THINK THAT THE DELAY WA S OCCASIONED BY THE PARTY DELIBERATELY TO GAIN TIME THEN THE COURT SHOULD LEAN AGAINST ACCEPTANCE OF THE EXPLANATION. WHILE CONDONING DELAY THE C OU RT SHOULD NOT FORGET THE OPPOSITE PARTY ALTOGETHER. IT MUST BE BORNE IN MIND THAT HE IS A LOOSER AND HE TOO W OULD HAVE INCURRED QUIET A LARGE LITIGATION EXPENSES. IT WOULD BE A SALUTARY GUIDELINE THAT WHEN COURTS CONDONE THE DELAY DUE TO LACHES ON THE PART OF THE APPLICANT THE COURT SHALL COMPENSATE THE OPPOSITE PARTY FOR HIS LOSS. IN THE INSTANT CASE THE BRAN CH MANAGER OF THE ASSESSEE BANK WAS NOT AWARE WHAT TO DO AND HOW TO PROCEED FURTHER AGAINST THE INTIMATION PASSED BY THE DCIT CPC - TDS GHAZIABAD. THEREFORE AFTER CONSULTING ITS HEAD OFFICE AND INCOME TAX PRACTIONERS THE ASSESSEE PREFERRED APPEALS WITH DE LAY BEFORE THE LD. CIT(A). UNDER THE ABOVE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES AND IN VIEW OF THE LEGAL POSITION WE CONDONE THE DELAY IN FILING THE APPEALS BEFORE THE LD. CIT(A) AND ACCORDINGLY WE SET ASIDE THE COMMON ORDER PASSED BY THE LD. I.T.A. NO S . 336 - 342 /M/ 16 7 CIT(A) AND DIRECT HIM TO ADJUDICATE THE APPEALS ON MERITS AFTER GIVING SUFFICIENT OPPORTUNITIES OF HEARING TO THE ASSESSEE. 7 . IN THE RESULT ALL THE APPEAL S FILED BY THE ASSESSEE ARE ALLOWED FOR STATISTICAL PURPOSES. ORDER PRONOUNCED ON THE 28 TH OCTOBER 2016 AT CHENNAI. SD/ - SD/ - (A. MOHAN ALANKAMONY ) ACCOUNTANT MEMBER ( DUVVURU RL REDDY ) JUDICIAL MEMBER CHENNAI DATED THE 28 . 1 0 .201 6 VM/ - / COPY TO: 1. / APPELLANT 2. / RESPONDENT 3. ( ) / CIT(A) 4. / CIT 5. / DR & 6. / GF.