ITAT can Call for Any Document / Record while disposing the Appeal: Delhi HC [Read Order]

Finance Act - Delhi High Court - taxscan

In Principal CIT v. ITAT & Anr, the division bench of the Delhi High Court ruled that the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT), being an appellate authority can call for any document/ record and examine the existence of the order which is the basis of an assessment for the purpose of disposing the appeal.

The bench was hearing a writ petition filed by the Revenue who was aggrieved with the order of the Tribunal wherein the Tribunal admitted an additional ground raised by the assessee on the jurisdictional issue and directed the Revenue to produce the copy of an order which was the basis for the assessment.

The Revenue, at the time of hearing, refused the same and contended that the assessee could obtain a copy of the same at any time. However, the assessee had argued that the RTI application preferred by them was rejected by the authorities.

In the petition, the revenue contended that having regard to the presumptive nature of Section 124 in the given facts of the case, the Tribunal could not have examined the existence of the said order in view of its limited jurisdiction. The record disclosed that the ITAT had directed, on several hearings, prior to issuance of the impugned order requiring production of the file and especially the order made under Section 127 of the Income Tax Act, 1961. Apparently, the Revenue also rejected an RTI query that was filed on behalf of the assessee.

The Revenue contended that the ITAT’s bye-laws are limited and cannot examine the existence of the order given the nature of Section 124.

The bench found the above contention unpersuasive. “As an appellate body, it certainly can call for the records and examine the existence of the order. That is, however, entirely different from the effect of Section 124 which may bring forward the effect of such order. In other words, existence of the order which is the basis of an assessment can certainly be looked into by the ITAT as an appellate body. This may be done even though the effect of such order on account of Section 124 and a further enquiry into its legality may or may not be available.” The bench said.

Read the full text of the order below.