2000-(158)-CTR -0601 -AP

COMMISSIONER OF INCOME-TAX v. PARKE DAVIS (INDIA) LTD.

IT Case No. 93 of 1998, decided on June 8, 1999.

HIGH COURT OF ANDHRA PRADESH

S. R. Ashok, for the Revenue : None, for the Assessee

JUDGMENT

P. VENKATARAMA REDDI, J. :

This is an application filed by the CIT, AP-I under section 256 (2) of the IT Act, 1961, seeking reference of certain questions of law for the opinion of this Court.

2. As we are of the view that the High Court of Andhra Pradesh has no jurisdiction to entertain this petition, we are not expressing any view on the merits whether any of the questions are questions of law to be referred for the opinion of the High Court.

3. The appeals before the Tribunal, Mumbai-E Bench, (it is not clear whether it is E-Bench or B-Bench) arose out of the assessment made for the year 1983-84 under section 143 (3) by the IAC, Assessment Range-V(A), Bombay. The reference application was dismissed by the Mumbai D-Bench by an order dt. 18th March, 1997, communicated to the respondent on 15th July, 1997.

4. The application under section 256 (2) in our view should have been filed in the High Court of Bombay and this Court has no territorial jurisdiction to entertain and decide the application. The words “the High Court” occurring in section 256 have obviously reference to the High Court within whose jurisdiction the Tribunal which declined to state the case, is located. It is not open to the petitioner to choose any other High Court for filing the application under section 256 (2).

5. The apparent reason for filing the application in the Andhra Pradesh High Court, though not disclosed in the petition as such, seems to be that subsequent to the disposal of the appeal, the assessment files of the respondent-company were transferred to Hyderabad and, therefore, all the proceedings, in whatever form they are, pertaining to the assessments past or present, should be dealt with by the authorities or Courts having jurisdiction over Hyderabad. Learned standing counsel for the Department sought to justify the action of the petitioner in filing the reference application in the Andhra Pradesh High Court on the basis of the Expln. to section 127 of the IT Act. Sec. 127 (1) deals with the power of the Director-General/Chief CIT/CIT to transfer the case from one AO to another at any stage of the proceedings. The Explanation amplifies the meaning of the word “case” and it reads as follows :

“Explanation. – In section 120 and this section, the word ‘case’,. in relation to any person whose name is specified in any order or direction issued thereunder, means all proceedings under this Act in respect of any year which may be pending on the date of such order or direction or which may have been completed on or before such date, and includes also all proceedings under this Act which may be commenced after the date of such order or direction in respect of any year.”

6. We are unable to appreciate how section 127 together with its Explanation could be resorted to transfer the proceedings from one Tribunal to another and to vest the jurisdiction in the High Court which it does not otherwise possess. The whole purport and purpose of section 127 is to transfer the proceedings from one AO to another. The Explanation should be understood in relation to the main provision which stipulates the transfer of case from one or more AOs to any other AO or officers. The words “all proceedings under the Act in respect of any year” occurring in the Explanation cannot be understood in vacuum and cannot be stretched to cover reference applications already filed or decided by the date of transfer under section 127. The reference application having been rejected by the Mumbai Bench of the Tribunal, the application under section 256 (2) ought to have been filed before the High Court of Bombay only. The interpretation sought to be placed on the Expln. to section 127 leads to incongruous results quite contrary to the scheme of the Act and has the effect of investing the prescribed authorities with the power to virtually interfere with the territorial jurisdiction of the concerned High Court. Hence, we are of the view that this ITC under section 256 (2) is not maintainable, as this Court has no jurisdiction. Hence, the IT case is dismissed.

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