An overview of the Revised faceless CIT Appeal Scheme notified by the Government 

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An overview of the Revised faceless CIT Appeal Scheme notified by the Government 

1. As per new scheme a personal hearing through Video Conference can be requested and when request is made the same shall be allowed .
2.  No discretion with the CIT (A ) to refuse such request of oral hearing through VC. The relevant part of scheme reads as under:-
“12. No personal appearance in the Centres or Units.––(1) A person shall not be required to appear either personally or through an authorized representative in connection with any proceedings under this Scheme before the income-tax authority at the National Faceless Appeal Centre or appeal unit set up under this Scheme.
(2) The appellant or his authorized representative, as the case may be, may request for personal hearing so as to make his oral submissions or present his case before the Commissioner (Appeals), through the National Faceless Appeal Centre, under this Scheme.
(3) The concerned *Commissioner (Appeals) shall allow the request for *personal hearing and communicate the date and time of hearing to the appellant through the National Faceless Appeal Centre.
(4) Such hearing shall be conducted through video conferencing or video telephony, including use of any telecommunication application software which supports video conferencing or video telephony, to the extent technologically feasible, in accordance with the procedure “
3. The revised faceless scheme is welcome as it has addressed the main grievance of the appellant of principle of natural justice .
4. In earlier schemes the oral hearing through VC was discretionary and this power to allow oral hearing through VC was with CCIT and  not even with the ‘appeal unit’ which was to decide the appeal .
5. From Unit Based to CIT Based:
Under the revised faceless appeal scheme there is a change in procedure also. Earlier the  scheme was ‘appeal unit’ based. All power to condone delay in filing appeal, admitting additional grounds, additional evidence were with ‘appeal unit’ .
The  appeal order was also to be prepared by ‘appeal unit’ as draft order . Further such draft order was to be further reviewed by another ‘appeal unit’ . In case the ‘review appeal unit’ intends to vary the draft order prepared by the first ‘appeal unit’, then it has to go to the third  ‘appeal unit’ for finalization. The third ‘appeal unit’ was to finalize the appeal order. This order as finalized by the third appeal unit was to be  communicated to the appellant by Faceless Appeal Center.
Now under the revised scheme  all power of condonation, additional evidence , additional ground  are with CIT( A) only . No draft order. No review of such order by another unit or another CIT(A). The CIT( A) to draft and finalize the order and this order will be shared with the appellant through Faceless Appeal Center . Earlier it was ‘appeal unit’ based , now it is CIT(A) based.
6. Further now appellant can claim oral hearing through VC as a matter of right as against the old scheme where it was discretionary with CCIT to allow or not to allow such request of oral hearing through VC .
7. This change apparently has been done considering the challenge the old scheme faced in various High Courts,  being in gross violation of the principle of natural justice .
8. Now the new scheme appears to be simple and addresses the issue of natural justice as the appellant can ask for oral hearing through VC as a matter of right and the same has to be allowed.
9. The Appellant must be given a fair and adequate opportunity to represent its case .
The copy of the scheme is as under:

 

An overview of the Revised faceless CIT Appeal Scheme notified by the Government

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