ITAT application should be heard afresh if the applicant was not given a fair chance to represent his case: High Court of Delhi

In an Income Tax Appellate Tribunal application where the applicant did not have adequate notice or a fait opportunity to represent his case, the Tribunal will be directed to set aside the order and hear the application afresh. This was held by a two member bench of the High Court of Delhi consisting of Justice Manmohan and Justice Navin Chawla in the case of Ankit Kapoor v the Income Tax Officer, Ward 63 & Another [W.P.(C) 6370/2021 & APPL .20030/2021] on the 23rd of Jult 2021.

The application was heard on the 14th of February 2020 and then listed for further hearing on the 28th of February 2020. However on 28th February, the matter was not listed on the cause list and the petitioner was informed by the registry that his matter had already been heard on 21st February 2020 and was dismissed on 27th February 2020. The petitioner, Ankit Kapoor stated that the impugned order was passed by The Income Tax Appellate Tribunal who is Respondent No.2 without mentioning it the matter on the cause list this has therefore caused grave prejudice against him. Accordingly the petitioner contends that the impugned order deserves to be quashed as he did not get an adequate and fair opportunity to represent his case. The petitioner further contended that he was under a bonafide belief that his case will be taken up for hearing on 28th February as pronounced in the court on the previous hearing and had no reason to believe otherwise.

The counsel representing Respondent No.2 submitted that not reflecting the matter in the cause list of 21st February 2020 was due to a clerical error but since the case was noted by the counsel before the bench, the matter was taken up early and as no one appearied on behalf of the petitioner, the matter was heard and dismissed. It was also added that the Income Tax Appeal Tribunal is not interested in the outcome of the writ appeal and will carry out the orders of the High Court, whatever it may be. The senior standing counsel for revenue accepts notice and stated that the non-publication of daily cause list would indeed cause inconvenience for the litigants.

Justice Manmohan declared “This Court is of the view that the petitioner did not have adequate notice or fair opportunity to represent his case as neither the daily order-sheets nor the revised cause list had been uploaded on the website of the ITAT. Consequently, the impugned order dated 27th February, 2020 passed by the ITAT in Miscellaneous Application No.183/2019 is set aside and the ITAT is directed to hear the said Miscellaneous Application afresh. This Court is also of the view that non-publication of daily ordersheets as well as the revised cause list on the website by the ITAT results in inconvenience to the litigants in general and to the lawyers in particular”. It was also added that “Accordingly, this Court directs the ITAT to upload the daily ordersheets and revised cause list on its website. System in this regard be put in place by the ITAT, if not already there, as expeditiously as possible, preferably, within three months”.

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