CIT(A) Cannot Decide Appeal Ex-Parte Merely Because of Failure to Attach Grounds of Appeal While Filing Memo in Form No. 35 Due to Technical Reasons

In a recent case of Prime ABGB (P) Ltd. v. National Faceless Appeal Centre, New Delhi, the court held that the Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeals) cannot pass an ex-parte order merely because the grounds of appeal were not attached at the time of filing the memo of appeal in Form No. 35 due to technical reasons.

The court found that the failure to attach the grounds of appeal as an attachment was due to technical reasons and did not reflect any malafide intention on the part of the assessee. The court further noted that the assessee had sufficiently reflected the grounds on which the order of assessment was being challenged in the appeal proceedings through its submissions.

The ex-parte order passed by the Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeals) was found to be in violation of the principle of natural justice as it was passed without considering the submissions made by the petitioner. As a result, the court allowed the assessee’s writ petition and set aside the impugned order. The matter was remanded to the Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeals) for fresh consideration.

It is important to note that the court’s decision highlights the significance of the principle of natural justice, which requires that every party to a dispute must be given a fair opportunity to present its case. The failure to attach the grounds of appeal due to technical reasons should not be a reason for passing an ex-parte order, especially when the submissions made by the assessee sufficiently reflect the grounds on which the order of assessment is being challenged.

In conclusion, the case of Prime ABGB (P) Ltd. v. National Faceless Appeal Centre, New Delhi reiterates the importance of adhering to the principle of natural justice while deciding matters related to tax appeals. The decision also emphasizes that technical reasons should not be used as an excuse for passing ex-parte orders without giving the assessee a fair opportunity to present its case.

[Prime ABGB (P) Ltd. v. National Faceless Appeal Centre, New Delhi (2023) 147 taxmann.com 357 (Bom.)]

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