The Delhi High Court has set aside a reassessment notice issued by the Income Tax Department under Section 148 of the I-T Act against a dead person, saying the notice is null and void.
The bench of Justice Navin Chawla and Justice Manmohan was dealing with a plea recently filed by the son of late Bhanger Singh Tanwar challenging the notice dated March 30, 2019, issued against his father, the income tax assessee, who died on January 14, 2016.
The petitioner claimed that he did not receive the said notice. Subsequently, the notice was reissued on October 30, 2019. As no response was received to these notices, a Show Cause Notice dated December 15, 2019, was issued to the assessee. Finally, an assessment order dated December 23, 2019, was passed against the assessee. On receiving multiple notices, he challenged the proceedings on the ground that they were initiated against a person who had died prior to the issuance of a notice, and therefore, all proceedings are void ab initio (invalid from the outset).
The I-T department’s counsel submitted that notice under Section 148 of the Act was issued at the same address of the Assessee which is available in the ITD database. Though all the correspondences to the addressee were made through speed post, none of the correspondence prior to the assessment order dated December 23, 2019, was received back through a postal agency in the office of the respondent. Only the assessment order was received back with the remark that the addressee had died, the counsel added.
After hearing the arguments, the court held that the issue of the validity of notice and proceedings held subsequent thereto against a dead person is no longer res integra (a case without a precedent), while setting aside the notice along with all consequential proceedings.