Order passed without granting Personal Hearing violates principles of natural justice: Madras HC remands matter back to AO [Read Order]

Order passed - Personal Hearing - violates principles - natural justice - Madras High court - AO - Taxscan

The Madras High Court remanded the matter to the AO for fresh consideration. The petitioner is directed to submit their reply to the show-cause notice within a period of 6 weeks.

The petitioner, M/s. FL Smidth Pvt Ltd. challenged the assessment orders passed under the provisions of the Central Sales Tax Act for the assessment years 2007-08 and 2008-09. The writ petitions were admitted and order of interim stay was granted in the year 2016 and the writ petitions have been pending.

However, the Revenue did not file any counter affidavit nor sought for vacating the interim orders. When the writ petition was taken up for final hearing during November 2020, the Single Judge opined that the appellant has to avail the alternate remedy and Article 226 of the Constitution of India is not meant to short-circuit or circumvent the statutory procedures.

The Court while exercising its jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India may be very slow in interfering with the orders passed by statutory authorities when appeal is provided for, and this is more so when cases arise under the taxing statutes.

However, these are self imposed restrictions and each case has to be considered and decided on its own merits.

The Supreme Court has observed that whenever an alternate remedy is provided under a taxing statute, the same should not be bypassed as factual matters have to be agitated before the authority who will be the best person to take a decision on the same and in a writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, disputed question of fact would not be gone into.

The division bench of Justice T.S.Sivagnanam and Justice R.N.Manjula directed the appellant to treat the impugned assessment orders as show cause notices and submit their objections within a period of three weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this judgment.

The court further directed the Assessing Officer to afford an opportunity of personal hearing to the appellant and pass orders on merits and in accordance with law.

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