Delhi High Court Sets Aside Notices Issued Against A Dead Person
The Court concluded that the Impugned Notice issued in the name of a dead person was null and void
The Delhi High Court allowed the writ petition by setting aside all proceedings/orders, including the Assessment Order and Notices issued in the name of a dead person.
The Division Bench of the High Court of Delhi, comprising Justices Navin Chawla and Manmohan, heard the matter titled Mrs Sripathi Subbaraya Manohara L/H Late Sripathi Subbaraya Gupta v Principal Commissioner Of Income Tax And Anr.
The Petitioner challenged the notices and orders issued in the name of Late Sripathi Subbaraya Gupta – the Assessee relating to the Assessment Year 2012-13, under the Income Tax Act, 1961, through a writ petition:
• Notice dated 22 March 2019 issued u/S 148 of the Act
• Assessment Order dated 14 November 2019 u/S 144/147 of the Act
• Penalty Notice(s) dated 14 November 2019 u/S 274 read with Section 271(1)(c) and Section 274 read with Section 271F of the Act.
The Petitioner submitted that Late Gupta had expired on 17 June 2014 and placed on record his Death Certificate issued by the Department of Public Health, Corporation of Chennai. The Petitioner contended that she was not aware of the above proceedings emanating from the notices and became aware of the Impugned Notice under Section 148 of the Act only when she received the Assessment Order and the Penalty Notices. The Petitioner further contended that notices issued in favour of a dead person, were invalid and all proceedings thereafter, were non-est.
The Respondent – Authorities did not deny the factum of the death of the Assessee – Late Gupta but raised a preliminary objection on the maintainability of the writ petition on the ground of availability of an alternate efficacious remedy being open to the Petitioner, in the form of an appeal. The Respondent contended that the Assessing Officer was not aware and had no knowledge about the demise of the assessee since the same was not informed to the Assessing Officer by the Petitioner despite issuance of various notices.
The bench considered the judgment of Savita Kapila v Assistant Commissioner of Income-Tax, (WP(C) 3258/2020) of the Delhi High Court which dealt with this issue and found no reason to differ from the law laid down therein. It found that the objections raised on the maintainability of this petition were no longer res integra through this judgment as well.
The Court concluded that the Impugned Notice dated 22 March 2019 u/S 148 of the Act, having been issued in the name of a dead person, was null and void, and all consequent proceedings/orders, including the Assessment Order and Notices dated 14 November 2019, being equally tainted, were liable to be set aside.
Therefore, the Court allowed the writ petition accordingly.