Allahabad High Court Judgement

Allahabad High Court Judgement

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JUDGEMENT HEADLINE : A Nationalised Bank Is Surely Not Dependant On The Availability Or Non Availability Of An Officer For Filing An Appeal Before The Tribunal In Time.
JUDGEMENT TITLE : Union Bank Of India Vs. Income Tax Appellate Tribunal And 2 Ors. On 15/04/2014 By Allahabad High Court
CORAM : Hon'ble Dhananjaya Yeshwant Chandrachud,Chief Justice And Hon'ble Dilip Gupta,J.


Chief Justice's Court

Case :- INCOME TAX APPEAL No. - 71 Of 2014

Appellant :- Union Bank Of India
Respondent :- Income Tax Appellate Tribunal And 2 Ors.
Counsel For Appellant :- Sanjiv Singh
Counsel For Respondent :- C.S.C., IT

Hon'ble Dr. Dhananjaya Yeshwant Chandrachud,Chief Justice
Hon'ble Dilip Gupta,J.

This Appeal By The Assessee Under Section 260-A Of The Income Tax Act, 1961 Arises From An Order Of The Income Tax Appellate Tribunal Dated 13 December 2013, The Relevant Assessment Year Being A.Y. 2009-10. The Tribunal Has Dismissed The Application For Condonation Of A Delay Of 282 Days In Filing The Appeal Before The Tribunal Against An Order Of The Commissioner (Appeals).
The Following Questions Of Law Have Been Raised :-
"A. Whether, The Sufficiency Of Cause Shown By The Appellant And Rejected By The Appellate Tribunal Has Resulted In Failure Of Justice To The Appellant?
B. Whether, The Pedantic Approach In Matters Of Question Of Limitation Is Justifiable In Deciding Limitation Matters?"

The Material Facts Are That The Order Of The CIT (A) Was Passed On 30 September 2011. The Appeal Was Filed On 6 September 2012. In The Application For Condonation Of Delay, It Was Stated That The Chartered Accountant Of The Bank Was Busy With The Finalisation Of The Tax Until 30 September 2011 And Returned Back The File To The Bank In The Second Week Of October 2011. After Receipt Of The File, The Chief Manager Forwarded The File To The Zonal Office Of The Bank On 18 October 2011. The Chief Manager Was Transferred To Another Branch Of The Bank And The Office Of The Chief Manager Remained "vacant For Some Time". Then, It Has Been Stated That The Papers Which Were Returned Back By The Zonal Office Remained Unattended Due To Non Availability Of The Chief Manager And It Was Only A Few Days Earlier When The Pending Papers Were Being Sorted Out That It Was Realised That The Appeal Has Not Been Filed .
The Application Is As Vague As It Can Be. The Date When The Chief Manager Of The Bank Had Been Transferred Has Not Been Mentioned And How Long The Office Of The Chief Manager Remained Vacant Has Also Not Been Mentioned. In Any Event, This Can Be Absolutely No Valid Explanation For Condonation Of Delay. A Nationalised Bank, Which Has Its Own Systems And Processes, Is Surely Not Dependant On The Availability Or Non Availability Of An Officer For Filing An Appeal Before The Tribunal. In A Recent Judgment Of The Supreme Court In Office Of The Chief Post Master General Vs. Living Media India Limited1 The Principles, Which Must Guide The Court In Deciding Whether To Condone The Delay On The Part Of A Government Department Or The Agencies Or The Instrumentalities Of The Government, Have Been Laid Down. The Observations Of The Supreme Court Are As Follows:-
"In Our View, It Is The Right Time To Inform All The Government Bodies, Their Agencies And Instrumentalities That Unless They Have Reasonable And Acceptable Explanation For The Delay And There Was Bonafide Effort, There Is No Need To Accept The Usual Explanation That The File Was Kept Pending For Several Months/years Due To Considerable Degree Of Procedural Red-tape In The Process. The Government Departments Are Under A Special Obligation To Ensure That They Perform Their Duties With Diligence And Commitment. Condonation Of Delay Is An Exception And Should Not Be Used As An Anticipated Benefit For Government Departments. The Law Shelters Everyone Under The Same Light And Should Not Be Swirled For The Benefit Of A Few. Considering The Fact That There Was No Proper Explanation Offered By The Department For The Delay Except Mentioning Of Various Dates, According To Us, The Department Has Miserably Failed To Give Any Acceptable And Cogent Reasons Sufficient To Condone Such A Huge Delay."

In The Present Case, The Tribunal Has Furnished Good And Cogent Reasons For Declining To Entertain The Appeal Holding That Sufficient Cause Was Not Shown. No Substantial Question Of Law Would, Hence, Arise.
The Appeal Is, Accordingly, Dismissed.

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