Ignorance of law is certainly no excuse but, at the same time, there is no presumption in law that everybody knows the law.

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Ignorance of law is certainly no excuse but, at the same time, there is no presumption in law that everybody knows the law.

 

 

There are various cases wherein the non compliance is due to ignorance of the law by the assessee. The fact remains that “Ignorance of Law is not an excuse”. The Latin maxim “Ignorantia juris non excusat” or ignorantia legis neminem excusat”- which means that “ignorance of the law excuses not” and “ignorance of law excuses no one”. Admittedly, ignorance of law is certainly no excuse for a default committed.

However, the equal true fact is that there cannot be any presumption in law that everybody knows the law”. There may be a person who is quite illiterate, living in a remote village, rarely coming in touch with law enforcing machinery and not required to discharge any statutory obligations under a particular law.

Even the Hon’ble Supreme Court recently in the case of UOI Vs. Ashish Kumar Agrawal has decided the petition in favour of the UOI even though there was an ignorance of law and non compliance with the provision of section 148A of the Income Tax Act-1961

One may note that Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT), Jaipur Bench judgement in the below case vide its order dated 15th March, 2022 has made some remarkable observations with regard to the non compliance due to ignorance of law.

 

The case detail is as under:

 

Shri Suresh Kumar Agarwal

D-10, Gali No. 5,

Shanti Path, Panipech, Jaipur

 

Vs.

 

JDIT

I & CI

JaIpur

 

[ITAT Appeal No. 1073 & 1074/JP/2018]

 

 

Hon’ble Jaipur ITAT at Para 15 & 16 of the order observed as under:

15. We have heard both the parties, perused materials available on record and gone through orders of the authorities below. The learned Commissioner of Income-tax (Appeals) erred upholding the order by the AO, Where the assessee admitted his delay in reply for the notice and delay in complying the summons. Further the learned Commissioner of Income-tax (Appeals) failed to observe the submissions made by the assessee in the CIT (A).

16. We are of the view that there is no finding of the AO based on some contradictory evidence to disprove that explanation offered by the assessee was false or the assessee was not able to substantiate the explanation furnished or fails to prove that such explanation is not bona fide and that all the facts relating to the same and material to the computation of his total income has not been disclosed by him. We further arrive at a conclusion that ignorance of law is certainly no excuse for a default committed but, at the same time, there is no presumption in law that everybody knows the law. The application of this rule would differ from case to case and person to person. In a given case, there may be a person who is quite illiterate, living in a remote village, rarely coming in touch with law enforcing machinery and not required to discharge any statutory obligations under a particular law. Ignorance of law may be a good excuse in his case. As submitted by the Ld AR for assessee that there is no willful failure to comply with summons u/s 131(IA) of the IT Act dated 04.10.2013. Subsequently, the assessee has filed the details called for & off course late, but looking at the inability or ignorance about dealing these type of notices, lenient view can be considered about the compliance made afterwards.

The copy of the present order is as under:

 

Attachments area

 

Ignorance of law is an excuse- Jaipur ITAT

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