Delhi HC refers matter to larger bench to decide writ jurisdiction in faceless assessment if AO located outside Delhi
GPL-RKTCPL JV v. National Faceless Assessment Centre –  145, 156 (Delhi)
Assessee-petitioner (jurisdiction at Chattisgarh) filed its return of income for the relevant assessment year. During the assessment, a show cause notice-cum-assessment order was served to which the assessee could not respond because of certain reasons. Without giving a proper opportunity of being heard to the assessee, the final assessment order was passed.
Assessee filed writ petition before the Delhi High Court by contending that the Assessing Officer (AO) violated the principles of natural justice while passing the assessment order.
However, the AO raised the question of the admissibility of the petition. It was contended that the petition filed by the assessee wasn’t maintainable as the situs of the jurisdictional AO was outside India.
The Delhi High Court held the issue of maintainability of a writ petition in faceless assessments where the jurisdiction of AO is situated outside the jurisdiction of the High Court will arise in repeatedly in many cases.
Thus to have a conclusive view on this, the matter is referred to a larger bench for a conclusive view. The High Court frames the following questions of law:
- a) Whether the Delhi High Court has the necessary territorial jurisdiction to entertain the writ petitions if the jurisdictional Assessing officer is located outside Delhi?
- b) Whether the Delhi High Court should entertain the writ petitions or refuse to exercise discretion to entertain the same on the ground that Jurisdictional Assessing Officer is located outside the jurisdiction of Delhi Court?
- c) Whether the presence of the National Faceless Assessment Centre in Delhi would be a sufficient ‘cause of action’ to confer jurisdiction on Delhi Court to entertain a writ petition?
- d) Whether the petitioner has the right to choose the High Court if a part of the cause of action arises within one or more High Courts?