Delay of 1163 days in filing the appeal due to languid and inane conduct of the assessee cannot be condoned as it would result in the limitation period becoming otiose
This is what was held in the case of
SRF Limited vs. ACIT (ITAT Delhi)
on November 13, 2014 (Date of pronouncement).
The relevant para of the judgement is as under:
(i) We are of the view that there is an extraordinary delay of 1163 days in filing this appeal for which assessee has to show “sufficient cause” but the cause shown by the assessee may be considered a “sufficient cause” for the intervening period when old officers left or parted with the company and till new Manager Taxation Mr. Hemant Gupta joined, meaning thereby from October 2007 to 29.2.2008, but we are unable to see any “sufficient cause” which could justify or properly explain the delay which occurred from last date of filing the appeal as per statutory provisions of the Act to departure of Shri Suresh Chawla – AVP – Taxation i.e. from 17.6.2006 to October 2007 and from joining of Mr. Hemant K. Gupta – Manager Taxation to the date of filing this appeal i.e. from 29.2.2008 to 12.8.2009. From impugned order of the CIT(A) dated 30.3.2006, we clearly observe that Shri Suresh Chawla AVP (Taxation) of the company was present at the time of delivery of the order with Shri Satya Sethi, Advocate and Shri Harsh Singhal the representative of the assessee company which reveals that Shri Suresh Chawla was well aware about the impugned order from the date of the order i.e. from 30.3.2006, therefore, delay in filing appeal was not due to ignorance but the delay was caused due to languid and inane conduct of the assessee. We also note that the date on which Mr. Hemant Kumar Gupta found relevant papers in a file folder is neither mentioned in the application for condonation of delay nor in the affidavit of Mr. Gupta. Therefore, “sufficient cause” as shown by the assessee is not acceptable in the light of ratio of the decision of Hon’ble Apex Court in the case of Chief Postmaster General and Others vs Living Media India Ltd. and Another (supra) and Pundlik Jalam Patil (Dead) by LRS vs Executive Engineer (supra). In above facts and circumstances of the present case, we are of the considered opinion that if such kind of extraordinary delay is condoned without any sufficient cause, then the provisions of prescribed limitation period would become otiose and infructuous.
(ii) Thus, we respectfully hold that the benefit of the ratio of the decisions of Vedabai (supra) and Mst. Katiji (supra) is not available for the assessee. On the other hand, the decisions as relied by the ld. DR i.e. decisions of Hon’ble Apex Court in the cases of Chief Postmaster General and Others vs Living Media India Ltd. and Another (supra) and Pundlik Jalam Patil (Dead) by LRS vs Executive Engineer (supra) are squarely applicable to the present case as the “sufficient case” shown by the assessee in the application for condonation of delay is neither supported by the affidavit of Mr. Hemant Kumar Gupta nor by the submissions and other contentions of the assessee. Therefore, we reach to a fortified conclusion that the assessee miserably failed in establishing and substantiating “sufficient cause”, as required by the statutory provisions of the Act, for the extraordinary delay of 1163 days. Hence, present application for condonation of delay is dismissed.