Decided on August 05,1965



M.C.DESAI, J. - (1.)THE Income-tax Appellate Tribunal (Delhi Bench) has, at the assessees instance, submitted this statement of the case inviting this court to answer the following question.
(2.)WHETHER, in the circumstances of this case, the Commissioner of the Income-tax could lawfully revise the order of the Income-tax Officer with respect to the assessment year 1946-47, that is to say, for a period prior too the coming into force of section 33B of the Income-tax Act, by virtue of his powers under sub-section (1) of that section ?
The brief facts are that for the assessment year 1946-47, the Income-tax Officer passed an assessment order on March 29, 1951. On March 27, 1953, the Commissioner of Income-tax revised it in exercise of the jurisdiction conferred upon him by section 33B of the Income-tax Act. Section 33B was added with effect from March 30, 1948, by section 7 of the Income-tax and Businesses Profits Tax (Amendment) Act, No. 48 of 1948. Section 1(2) of the Amending Act laid down that :

Sections 3 to 12 shall be deemed to have come into force on the 30th day of March, 1948, and the amendment made in the Indian Income-tax Act, 1922 (XI of 1922), by section 2 shall be deemed to be operative so as to apply in relation to all assessments subsequent to the assessment for the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1948.

The contention advanced by Shri S. N. Misra for the assessee is that section 33B did not confer upon the Commissioner the power too revise the assessment order though made after March 30, 1948, because it was for the assessment year 1946-47, which had expired before March 30, 1948. What was meant was that section 33B was to be given retrospective effect only to this extent that a Commissioner could revise an order passed by an Income-tax Officer in respect of an assessment year which ended after March 30, 1948, even though it might have ended before September 8, 1948, on which date the Amending Act received the assent of the Governor-General.

(3.)ALL that is laid down in section 33B is that :
The Commissioner may call for an examine the record of any proceeding under this Act and if he considers that any order passed therein ......... is erroneous....... he may,...... pass such order threon as the circumstances of the case justify,.....

This provision is subject to the limitation that he cannot revise an order after the expiry of two years from its date. In the instant case we are concerned with an order which was made by the Income-tax Officer after section 33B was placed on the statute book. The question, whether the power conferred by it can be exercised in respect of an order made by an Income-tax Officer prior to March 30, 1948, does not arise. As the Commissioner exercised the power in respect of the order made after March 30, 1948, it cannot be said that by doing so he has given retrospective effect to the provisions of section 33B . There is no reference to any assessment year in section 33B and, therefore, it cannot be contended that it is being give retrospetive effect when the power conferred by it is exercised in relation to an order made with respect to an assessment year which ended prior to March 30, 1948. A provision is said to be given retrospective effect when it is applied to a past event. The only event that had happened before section 33B came into force was the expiry of the assessment year but since there is no reference in the section to the expiry of an assessment year (or to even an assessment year), it cannot be said that exercising the power conferred by it in respect of an assessment year that had expired before it came into force amounts to exercising it in respect of a past event. On April 30, 1948, the Commissioner became invested with the power to revise any order of the Income-tax Officer; it may be said that he an order made by an Income-tax Officer after March 30, 1948, but it could not be said that he could not revise an order of the Income-tax Officer, though made after March 30, 1948, if it related to an assessment year which, had expired previous to March 30, 1948. There is nothing in the words of section 33B to support such a contention.


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