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2015 (9) TMI 1123 - DELHI HIGH COURT

2015 (9) TMI 1123 - DELHI HIGH COURT - [2015] 378 ITR 137 (Del) - Extension of time for filing of ITR - Public Interest Litigation (PIL) - maintainability of PIL - Held that:- The period claimed by the petitioner as a matter of right of 180 days for filing the ITR is admittedly not prescribed, neither in the Statute nor in the Rules. According to the counsel for the petitioner also, the same has to be deduced from the scheme of the Act.

Unable to gauge any such scheme in the Act assur .....

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vailable thereafter for filing the ITR. The said audit is not dependent upon the prescription of the forms for report of the said audit and / or for filing of the ITR. Audit, as per my understanding is to be as per the Guidelines prescribed by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and the expectation, even if any for amendment to the form of the Audit Report and /or of the form for filing the ITR is not to interfere with the commencement or completion of the audit and which can by no s .....

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nnot be said to be having sufficient time to fill up the forms as per the audit already completed and to file the ITR.

It is not as if the Authorities have not applied themselves to the matter. The Authorities concerned, while have extended time for filing of the ITR from the due date of 31st July to 7th September, after having brought out the Notification dated 29th July, 2015 were of the opinion that there was no need for extension of due date of 30th September.It is also significan .....

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ot, without first being satisfied of the infringement of rights of the petitioner and/or prejudice being caused to the petitioner. If no right is infringed and no prejudice is found to be caused to the petitioner, merely because no prejudice would be caused to the respondents by extending the time for filing the ITR would not be a ground for interfering with the policy decision of the Government and granting such extension.

Save for the aforesaid direction, the petition is dismissed. .....

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bed for filing the Income Tax Returns under Section 139(1) in the form of Due Date is the constitutional and statutory right of the Assesse; and / or b. Issue appropriate Writ, Order or Direction, thereby declaring that the delay in notifying the prescribed Income Tax Forms under Rule 12 of the Income Tax Rules 1962, on and after 1st of April of every assessment year, is unconstitutional and is an consequence of the abdication of powers by the Respondents; and / or c. Issue appropriate Writ, Ord .....

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ess Release Dated 09.09.2015 as null and void and in contravention of the provisions of Part III of the Constitution of India, by virtue of which, the Respondent No.1 and 2 has not extended the date for filing of returns due by 30.09.2015 for Assessment Year 2015-2016 for certain categories of Assesses including Companies, and Firms and, Individuals Engaged in Proprietary Business / Profession etc., whose Accounts are required to be Audited in terms of the Income Tax Act 1961; and / or e. Issue .....

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Including Companies, and Firms and, Individuals Engaged in Proprietary Business / Profession etc., whose Accounts are required to be Audited as per Income Tax Act, 1961 from 30.09.2015 to 31.12.2015; and / or g. Pass any other order and / or direction, as this Hon ble Court may deem fit proper under the facts and circumstances of the present case and in the interest of Justice. 4. The petitioner, along with another person had earlier filed W.P.(C) No.8771/2015 impugning the decision dated 9th Se .....

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ioners as to how that petition was maintainable before this Bench. Upon the same, the counsel for the petitioners had withdrawn the petition with liberty to file a Public Interest Litigation (PIL). 5. However now, the petitioner pleading his own cause of action as a Chartered Accountant engaged by various clients to file returns as well as in his personal capacity, his own ITR being subject to audit, has filed this petition. 6. The position which emerges after hearing the counsel for the petitio .....

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cessary or expedient so to do for the purpose of proper and efficient management of the work of assessment and collection of revenue, issue from time to time, general or special orders including by way of relaxation of any of the provisions of inter alia Section 139. 7. It is the case of the petitioner that in exercise of power under Section 119(2), the CBDT can extend the date of 30th September as has been done in the current year also in relation to assessees not amenable to audit, the due dat .....

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for is 30th September, 2015. It is contended that the said forms were prescribed only vide Notification dated 29th July, 2015 and were made available only w.e.f. 7th August, 2015. 9. The argument of the counsel for the petitioner is that since the Assessment Year 2015-2016 commenced on 1st April, 2015 and the due date for filing the return is 30th September, 2015, i.e. after 180 days of commencement of the assessment year, under the scheme of the Act, 180 days are to be made available to the ass .....

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to do without giving any reason whatsoever. 10. I have enquired from the counsel for the petitioner as to what is the prejudice which the petitioner or other assesses suffer from the non-grant of such extension. It has been enquired whether not the audit required to be conducted of the accounts for the Financial Year 2014-2015 could have commenced only after 1st April, 2015 and whether not by the time the said audit is completed, the forms are available and the time, even if say from 29th July .....

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s not done for the Assessment Year 2015-2016; (c) certain provisions of the new Companies Act, 2013 have come into force only w.e.f. 2014-2015 and various clarifications whereof have been issued from time to time, even after 31st March, 2015; that the preparation of Audit Report was dependent on the said factors; and, (d) that the assesses, due date wherefor is 30th September, have been discriminated against vis-a-vis the assessees due date wherefor was 31st July and who were granted extension t .....

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the counsel for the petitioner also, the same has to be deduced from the scheme of the Act. 14. I am afraid, I am unable to gauge any such scheme in the Act assuring 180 days to the assessee for filing the ITR. As already observed above, filing of ITR for assesses due date wherefor is 180 days is dependent upon the accounts of the assessee being audited and which audit the counsel for the petitioner admits commences only on the beginning of assessment year. The said audit, in the case of some a .....

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t to the form of the Audit Report and /or of the form for filing the ITR is not to interfere with the commencement or completion of the audit and which can by no stretch of imagination be said to be a small task. Experience of life shows that the said audit itself takes the majority of the time, even if can be said to be prescribed of 180 days, for filing of the ITR. Once the audit is complete, in my opinion, the time admittedly available from 29th July, 2015 / 7th August, 2015 to 30th September .....

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ught out the Notification dated 29th July, 2015 were of the opinion that there was no need for extension of due date of 30th September. 16. It is also significant that the respondents, vide Press Release dated 9th September, 2015 have notified that the date of 30th September will not be extended and have advised the taxpayers to file the returns accordingly. It is thus not as if the respondents have kept the decision in this regard pending till the last date. After 9th September also, sufficient .....

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prescribed, for filing the ITR nor has been able to make out a case of the same causing any prejudice to himself. The time available, even say after 7th August, 2015 and till 30th September, 2015 is else not found by me to be illogical or unreasonable to enable the assessees to file the ITR. 18. The counsel for the petitioner has then argued that the respondents will not suffer any prejudice by granting such extension of time beyond 30th September, 2015 for filing ITR inasmuch as interest, if a .....

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ing the time for filing the ITR would not be a ground for interfering with the policy decision of the Government and granting such extension. 20. Faced therewith, the counsel for the petitioner has made two other arguments. Firstly, it is contended that since the due date of 31st July was extended till 7th September, the practitioners of Income Tax remained busy till 7th September, 2015 in filing the returns of the assessees due date wherefor was 31st July and have been left with very little tim .....

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