Reopening without inquiry & further application of mind is void

Reopening without inquiry

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Sunil Agarwal vs. ITO (ITAT Delhi)
S. 147/ 151: If the AO reopens on the basis of information received from another AO without further inquiry, it means he has proceeded “mechanically” and “without application of mind”. If the CIT does not give reasons while according sanction, it implies that he has also not applied his mind. Both render the reopening void (All imp judgements referred)
Section 151 of the Act clearly stipulates that the CIT(a), who is the competent authority to authorize the reassessment notice, has to apply his mind and form an opinion. The mere appending of the expression ‘approved’ says nothing. It is not as if the CIT(A) has to record elaborate reasons for agreeing with the noting put up. At the same time, satisfaction has to be recorded of the given case which can be reflected in the briefest possible manner. In the present case, the exercise appears to have been ritualistic and formal rather than meaningful, which is the rationale for the safeguard of an approval by a higher ranking officer

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