Decided on November 18,1963



Chandra Reddy, J. - (1.) The relief claimed in all these petitions under Article 226 of the Constitution is the issuance of a Writ of Prohibition directing the Income-tax Officer, Nellore, to forbear from proceeding further in pursuance of the notice dated 5-9-1959.
(2.) All these petitions raise a common question relating to the interpretation of Section 34 of the Indian Income-tax Act. The petitioner is the same and hence these petitions could be disposed of in one judgment.
(3.) The facts material for the purpose of this enquiry may be briefly narrated. The petitioner carries on business in the exhibition and distribution of films and also owns a cinema theatre called New Talkies in Nellore. Assessments for the years 1943-44 to 1949-50 were made between 1944 and 1950. In the course of the assessment for the assessment year 1957-58, the assessing authority seems to have defected that several cash credits in the names of the petitioners near relations appeared to be bogus. Further investigation led him to the belief that there was concealment of income and that the petitioner had not disclosed fully and truly all the material facts. Consequent upon this the concerned officer by a notice issued in 1958 called upon the petitioner to prove the various credits which had been brought forward from year to year. The assessee declined to comply with this demand contending that these credits were already considered previously. This attitude of the petitioner obliged the Income-tax Officer to issue a show cause notice to the petitioner asking him why the assessments for the years 1943-44 to 1949-50 should not be reopened under Section 34, the amount escaped being more than a lakh of rupees. The petitioner replied that there was no case for invoking Section 34 and that, in any event, no action could be taken for reopening the assessment after 31/03/1956. Thereupon the proper Income-tax Officer submitted proposals to the Central Board of Revenue to reopen the assessment for the years mentioned above and the Central Board on being satisfied that it was a fit case for reopening the assessment permitted the Income-tax Officer to issue the notice. Pursuant to this the Income-tax Officer, by his notice dated 5-9-1959 required the petitioner to file a return of his total income as contemplated by Section 22 stating that he had reason to believe that his income assessable to tax for the years 1943 to 1949 has escaped assessment. Returns of income were filed by the petitioner in October, 1959 under protest. Then followed correspondence between the proper officer and the petitioner regarding certain cash credits and the income derived from some properties standing in the name of the petitioners wife and children which according to the department ought to have been included in the petitioners assessable income. Thereafter the enquiry was posted to 26-10-1959 and after it was adjourned several times at the request of the petitioner the petitioner filed these petitions for the reliefs mentioned above.;

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