KAPUR, J. -
(1.) A rule was issued to the Income-tax Investigation Commission constituted under Act XXX of 1947 and Mr. Rama Nand Jain, Authorised Official, at the instance of K. S. Rashid and Son and others to show cause why writs of certiorari and prohibition should not issue to quash the orders passed by the Commission.
(2.) THE affidavit of K. S. Rashid Ahmad shows that the Central Government on the 31st of December, 1947, referred the cases of K. S. Rashid and Son, K. S. Rashid Ahmad, Saeed Ahmad, Saeeda Begum and Mrs. Zafar Mohd. to the Income-tax Investigation Commission for investigation and report. THE partnership K. S. Rashid and Son is stated to have started on the 5th of May, 1934. Mrs. Zafar Mohd. died on the 7th of January, 1946, and it is alleged that that partnership was thereby dissolved, and on the following day a new firm came into existence which took over the assets and liabilities of the old partnership. THE partners of this new firm, it is stated in paragraph 20 of the affidavit, were K. S. Rashid Ahmad, Saeed Ahmad and Saeeda Begum. A regular partnership deed was drawn up which has been registered under Section 26A of the of the Income-tax Act.
It is alleged Mr. Rama Nand Jain, the Authorised Official, started investigation into the affairs of the firm and the individuals constituting the firm for the period subsequent to the 31st of March, 1943, that being the date upto which the assessment of this firm had been completed. The returns for other assessment years have been filed but no decision has yet been given as to the liability of the firm for income-tax. The Authorised Official under Section 6 (3) of the Taxation on Income (Investigation Commission) Act, XXX of 1947, hereinafter called the Act, inspected the books, prepared notes, and it is alleged that an oral application was made to this Officer asking him to give a copy of the notes to the petitioner, but it was not given. On the 13th of May, 1948, first notice was issued to the partnership. On the 9th of April, 1949, was fixed by the Commission to whom the Authorised Official seems to have sent the application made for hearing arguments in the case, but the affidavit states that no orders were passed on this application on the ground that the Commission was expecting some kind of amendment by an Ordinance, and the Act was amended by an Ordinance No. IX of 1949 dated the 10th June, 1949.
In paragraph 9 of the affidavit it is stated :-
"The assessee were not informed of any evidence contemplated to be considered against them nor were they apprised of any documents which the Commission proposed to consider against them."
An application for inspection of the file was made but was rejected, and then an application was made for certified copies of certain orders but these also were not given.
The inspection of the books of accounts, the affidavit says, was fixed for the 15th of July, 1949, and the petitioners had to send for one Hidayat Ullah from Rawalpindi who it is stated was conversant with their accounts, but he could not be of much assistance as it appears that his own affairs had to be enquired into and he quickly made an exit back to Pakistan.
The Commission on the 29th of October, 1949, it is alleged, fixed the case for final hearing before them for the 22nd of November, 1949, and the petitioners were required to produce evidence in support of their case. On the 14th of November, 1949, the petitioners made an application to the Authorised Official that the petitioners had not been given the details of the matters in respect of which they were required to produce evidence "and the charges which they were required to meet". This application, it is complained, has not yet been disposed of; K. S. Rashid Ahmad was examined by the Commission from the 22nd November to 26th November, 1949.
(3.) ON the 15th of July, 1949, an application was filed before the Authorised Official that the amendment of the Act by the Ordinance did not cover the period after the 31st of March, 1943, and, therefore, he could not make any investigation in regard to that period but the account books were shown to him under protest. ON the 7th September, 1949, three applications are stated to have been filed. The copies of these applications were not filed before us, but it is stated that one was with regard to the affairs of Mrs. Zafar Mohd. that no investigation could take place in regard to her as she was dead, the other was with regard to the affairs of Saeeda Begum that she being a new partner and not having been assessed before was not subject to the jurisdiction of the Commission; and the third that the new firm was not liable to have its affairs investigated into.
It is clear, therefore, that the complaint of the petitioners contained in the four petitions, Civil Miscellaneous No. 259 of 1950 by K. S. Rashid Ahmad, Civil Miscellaneous No. 260 of 1950 by K. S. Rashid and Son, Civil Miscellaneous No. 261 of 1950 by Saeeda Begum, and Civil Miscellaneous No. 262 of 1950 also by K. S. Rashid and Son (formed in 1946) is principally directed to orders passed before the 26th January, 1950, when the Constitution came into force. The prayer in all of them is the same and is in the following words :-
"The petitioners, therefore, humbly pray to your Lordships that :
(a) a writ in the nature of prohibition be issued to the Commission and the authorised official directing them not to proceed with the investigations into the case of Mrs. Zaffar Mohd. No. 767.
(b) A writ in the nature of certiorari do issue for quashing proceedings.
(c) Such further direction or orders may be issued as to your Lordships may deem necessary and proper.
(d) Alternately proceedings before the Commission be revised by your Lordships under Article 227 of the Constitution of India and such steps be taken as may ensure substantial justice".
These petitions were filed on the 13th of June, 1950, and the rule was issued on the 25th July, 1950, after a report from the Investigation Commission had been called for.
Counsel for the respondents argued that this Court had no jurisdiction and, therefore, we should discharge the rule, that if the jurisdiction was there we should not interfere because there is a remedy provided in the Act itself, that the Act precluded the jurisdiction of this Court from interfering with the orders of the Commission, and that at any rate as the orders complained of were passed before the Constitution came into force neither Article 226 nor Article 227 would be available to the petitioners. The counsel put the case in two ways, and according to him both the objections that he was raising were fatal to the case of the petitioner.