B.K.MEHTA, J. -
(1.)IN this petition the petitioner has challenged the notice issued by the respondent on March 31, 1970, for purposes of reassessment under section 147 of the Income -tax Act, 1961, for the assessment year 1965 -66. The challenged has arisen in the following circumstances :
The petitioner was assessed to income -tax as an individual for the assessment year 1965 -66 and his assessment order was made in respect of the said year on February 5, 1966. It appears that on March 31, 1970, the respondent issued a notice under section 148 of the Act for purposes of reassessing the petitioner. The said notice was posted on the same day at Navrangpura post office at Ahmedabad. However, this notice reached the petitioner on April 3, 1970. By this notice under section 148, the petitioner was called upon to make the return, if he so desired, within 30 days of the service of the notice. Being aggrieved by this notice, which, according to the petitioner, was served beyond the prescribed period, under section 148 of the Act, the petitioner has moved this court for appropriate writs, orders and directions to quash and set aside the said notice.
(2.)THE respondent has opposed this petition on the ground, Inter alia that the only obligation on the Income -tax office before assuming jurisdiction under section 147 of the Act was to issue a notice within the prescribed period, namely, four years as it was done here in the facts of the case and it was not necessary that this notice should have been served on the petitioner within that period, and if the notice is issued within the prescribed period, though served beyond the period, the Income -tax Officer would have jurisdiction to proceed with the reassessment proceedings.
The next question, therefore, which arises in this petition is whether the respondent has jurisdiction to proceed with the reassessment proceedings in respect of the assessment year 1965 -66 of the petitioner as the notice has been served beyond the prescribed period of 4 years. It is an admitted position that this notice was issued on March 31, 1970, but was served on the petitioner on April 3, 1970. It was urged on behalf of the petitioner, relying on the ratio of the decision of the Supreme Court in Banarasi Debi v. Income -tax Office, District IV, Calcutta, that the expressions 'issued' and 'served' should have the same meaning of purposes of assuming jurisdiction under section 147 of the Act. They are the words which have been judicially interpreted as having the same meaning. On behalf of the revenue it was urged that, having regard to the scheme contained in sections 147 to 153 and more particularly having regard to the different expressions used in section 148 as well as in section 149, namely, 'notice served' and 'notice issued', the intention of the legislature is that what is required before assuming jurisdiction for reassessment under section 147 is to issue a notice within the prescribed period and irrespective of the period serve it on the assessee concerned.
(3.)SECTION 147 of the Income -tax Act, 1961, provides for the power of reassessment of the income escaping assessment on account of the omission or failure on the part of an assessee to make a return under section 139 or to disclose fully and truly all material facts necessary for his assessment for the particular assessment year, or in case where the Income -tax Officer has, as a result of the information, reason to believe that income chargeable to tax has escaped assessment for any assessment year, he may, subject to the provisions contained in sections 148 to 153, reassess such income or recompute the loss or the depreciation allowance, as the case may be, for the assessment year concerned. Section 148 and 149, which are pertinent for the decisions of the questions arising in this petition, read as under :
'148. Issue of notice where income has escaped assessment. - (1) Before making the assessment, reassessment or recomputation under section 147, the Income -tax Office shall serve on the assessee a notice contained all or any of the requirements which may be included in a notice under sub -section (2) of section 139; and the provisions of this Act shall, so far as may be, apply accordingly as if the notice were a notice issued under that sub -section. (2) The Income -tax Officer shall, before issuing any notice under this section, record his reasons for doing so.'
'149. Time limit for notice. - (1) No notice under section 148 shall be issued, - (a) in cases falling under clause (a) of section 147 - (i) for the relevant assessment year, if eight years have elapsed from the end of that year, unless the case falls under sub -clause (ii); (ii) for the relevant assessment year, where eight years, but not more than sixteen years, have elapsed for the end of that year, unless the income chargeable to tax which has escaped assessment amounts to or is likely to amounts to rupees fifty thousand or more for that year; (b) in cases falling under clause (b) of section 147, at any time after the expiry of four years from the end of the relevant assessment year.
(2) The provisions of sub -section (1) as to the issue of notice shall be subject to the provisions of section 151.
(3) If the person on whom a notice under section 148 is to be served is a person treated as the agent of a non -resident under section 163 and the assessment, reassessment or recomputation to be made in pursuance of the notice is to be made on him as the agent of such non -resident, the notice shall not be issued after the expiry of a period of two years from the end of the relevant assessment year.' Section 151 provides :
'151. Sanction for issue of notice. - (1) No notice shall be issue under section 148 after the expiry of eight years from the end of the relevant assessment year, unless the Board is satisfied on the reasons recorded by the Income -tax Officer that it is a fit case for the issue of such notice. (2) No notice shall be issued under section 148 after the expiry of four years from the end of the relevant assessment year, unless the Commissioner is satisfied on the reason recorded by the Income -tax Officer that it is a fit case for the issue of such notice.'