SATYANARAYANA RAO J. -
(1.) THIS is an application by the assessee under Section 66 (3) of the Income Tax Act, 1961, questioning the correctness of the appellate Tribunal's decision, that the application of the assessee under Section 66 (1) of the Act for a reference to the High Court was out of time. The application was rejected by the Appellate Tribunal on the ground that it was barred by limitation. The order of the Appellate Tribunal, which was the subject-matter of the application under Section 66 (1) is dated 4th March, 1952. The assessee, at the time the order address, care of Kalyanarama Ayyar at Madras. Kalyanarama Ayyar received the order on 14th March, 1952, and he, in due course, communicated it to the assessee at Ceylon, which was received by the assessee on 30th March, 1952. Meanwhile, the advocate who appeared for the assessee before making an application under Section 66 (1) of the Act. The telegram which was issued by the assessee from Colombo on 8th May, 1952, was received by the advocate on 9th May, 1952. On 13th May, 1952, the advocate filed the application in the prescribed form, but it was signed by him alone. The application was returned on 14th May, 1952, with the following endorsement :-
"The application is not signed by the proper person. Fresh application signed either by the applicant himself or by the general power-of-attorney holder may be filed in triplicate".
(2.) ON 27th May, 1952, the advocate represented the application, which was also signed by the assessee. When the application came up for hearing before the Appellate Tribunal on behalf of the department a preliminary objection was raised, that the application was barred by time, and that it was 14 days beyond the time allowed under section 66 (1).The main ground of attack was that the application was not signed either by the assessee or by his duly authorised representatives when it was presented on 13th May, 1952, and as by the time of re-presentation the period of 60 days had elapsed, the application must be treated as barred by limitation. The Appellate Tribunal accepted the contention of the department and rejected the application. The ground on which the Appellate Tribunal founded its decision was that the necessary authority for signing the application was not produced along with the application filed on the 13th of May, and that "power-of-attorney" filed before the Tribunal at the hearing of the appeal did not authorities the advocate to sign the reference application.
On behalf of the applicant, was contented by the learned Advocate-General that this view of the Tribunal was wrong. We agree with that contention. The advocate when he appeared before the Tribunal to argue the appeal, filed a vakalat, which authorised him
"to appear for me in the above assessment, appeal, revision, application, reference or other proceeding, to receive all notices and letters and all orders passed therein, to apply for and get return of all documents filed, copies of all papers and orders and to receive any refunds that may be due in the above proceedings."
(3.) THE authority so conferred upon the advocate did not and in law could not terminate with the disposal of the appeal by the Tribunal, and his authority to act on behalf of the assessee undoubtedly continued. If, in fact, there was a reference to this Court, and on such reference this Court expressed its opinion and any variance in the order of the Appellate Tribunal as a result of the order of this Court had to be made, it cannot for a moment be seriously contented that the advocate, who appeared before could not appear at the latter stage without producing a fresh vakalat. THE view of the Appellate Tribunal that there should be a specific authorisation in the vakalat itself, to sign a reference application is, in our opinion, also not correct.Under Section 66 (1) of the Income Tax Act, 1961, the assessee is required to the file the application in the prescribed form. THE Form R (T) prescribed by the Central Board of Revenue under the rule-making power vested in it by virtue Section 59 provides for the signature of the applicant and of the authorised representative, if any. Authorised representatives is defined in Rule 2 (ii) of the Appellate Tribunal Rules, 1946, as meaning "in relation to an assessee a person duly authorised by the assessee under Section 61 to attend before the Tribunal." Section 61 includes a lawyer as a person entitled to appear before the Tribunal. By reason of this definition, a lawyer or an advocate entitled to appear Section 61 of the Act before a Tribunals an "authorised representative" within the meaning of the rule. He would, therefore be a person entitled to sign and present an application on behalf of assessee as his authorised representative and the application presented on 13th May, 1952, undoubtedly contained his signature. This aspect of the matter was overlooked by the Appellate Tribunal. THE view of the Appellate Tribunal that the advocate was not an authorised representative, and that he should have been specifically authorised to sign the application by a further authorisation is wrong. If we confine ourselves to the reasoning adopted by the Appellate Tribunal, the question raised must undoubtedly be answered for the fore going reasons in favour he of the assessee and we must hold that the application was presented in time.;