(1.)(For himself, S. K. Das and N. Rajagopala Ayyangar JJ.) : This appeal is against an appellate decision of a Bench of the Calcutta High Court by which in reversal of the order made by the Trial Judge the Bench rejected the present appellant's application under Art. 226 of the Constitution. The appellant is a private limited company incorporated under the Indian Company's Act and has its registered office in Calcutta. It was assessed to income-tax for the assessment years, 1942-43, 1943-44 and 1944-45 by three separate orders dated January 26, 1944, February 12, 1944 and February 15, 1945, respectively. These assessments were made under S. 23(3) of the Indian Income-tax Act upon returns filed by it accompanied by statements of account. The first two assessments were made by Mr. L. D. Rozario the then Income-tax Officer and the last one by Mr. K. D. Banerjee. The taxes assessed were duly paid up. On March 28, 1951, three notices purporting to be under S. 34 of the Indian Income-tax Act, 1922, were issued by the Income-tax Officer calling upon the company to submit fresh returns of its total income and the total world income assessable for the three accounting years relating to the three assessment years, 1942-43, 1943-44 and 1944-45. The appellant company furnished returns in compliance with the notices but on September 18, 1951, applied to the High Court of Calcutta for issue under Art. 226 of the Constitution of appropriate writs or orders directing the Income-tax Officer not to proceed to assess it on the basis of these notices. The first ground on which this prayer was based was mentioned in the petition in these terms : - "The said pretended notice was issued without the existence of the necessary conditions precedent which confers jurisdiction under S. 34 aforementioned, whether before or after the amendment in 1948". The other ground urged was that the amendment to S. 34 of the Income-tax Act in 1948 was not retrospective and that the assessment for the years 1942-43, 1943-44 and 1944-45 became barred long before March, 1951.
(2.)The Trial Judge held that the first ground was not made out but being of opinion that the amending Act of 1948 was not retrospective, he held that the notices issued were without jurisdiction. Accordingly he made an order prohibiting the Income-tax Officer from continuing the assessment proceedings on the basis of the impugned notices.
(3.)The learned Judges who heard the appeal agreed with the Trial Judge that the first ground had not been made out. They held however that in consequence of the amendment of S. 34 in 1948 the objection on the ground of limitation must also fail.
A point of constitutional law which appears to have been raised before the appeal court was also rejected. The appeal was allowed and the company's application under Art. 226 was dismissed with costs.