Section 144B (7) of CBDT provides in favor of a personal hearing to be given to the assessee in case of income variations: The High Court of Delhi

Under sub-clause (h) of Section 144B (7)(xii) read with Section 144B (7) (viii), the respondent/revenue has been given the power to frame standards, procedures and processes for approving the request made for according personal hearing to an assessee who makes a request qua the same. The aforesaid has been followed by the Delhi High Court while adjudicating the case of SDS Infratech Private Limited v. National Faceless Assessment Centre Delhi, New Delhi [W.P.(C) 6272/2021 & CM APPLs. 19818-19/2021], which was decided by a two-judge bench comprising Justice Manmohan and Justice Navin Chawla on 9 July 2020.

The facts of the case are as follows. Present writ petition had been filed challenging the Assessment Order dated 21st April 2021 passed by the Respondent and seeking directions thereby prohibiting the Respondent from collecting the demand raised by the Respondent.it was contended by the counsel for petitioner that he had been denied justice because he was not provided with a fair opportunity of Video Conferencing to the petitioner or oral hearing, prior to closure/finalization of impugned tax assessment, which has been clearly laid down in the relevant statutory norms and Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) instructions. On the contrary, it was contended by the counsel for respondent that the expression used in clause (vii) of sub-section (7) of Section 144B is ‘may’ and not ‘shall’ and therefore, there is no vested right in the petitioner to claim a personal hearing.

The court heard the facts and arguments presented. It relied upon the interpretation of section 144B (7) given by this court and considered the case of Sanjay Aggarwal v. National Faceless Assessment Centre Delhi while arriving at a decision that “Keeping in view the aforesaid facts and mandates of law, the impugned assessment order dated 21st April, 2021 is set aside and the matter is remanded back to the Assessing Officer, who shall grant an opportunity of hearing to the petitioner by way of a Video Conferencing and thereafter pass an order in accordance with law. With the aforesaid direction, the present writ petition along with pending applications stand disposed of.”

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