Whether interest u/s. 244(1A) once granted cannot be withdrawn by resort to rectification u/s. 154?

Whether interest u/s. 244(1A) once granted cannot be withdrawn by resort to rectification u/s. 154?

Shri A. Younuskunju (ITAT)

ITAT observation

Even if he has granted the above interest wrongly, that will not entitle the Assessing officer to form a ground and agitate by means of rectification proceedings u/s. 154 of the Act, unless it can be said that there is a blatant and apparent mistake that has crept in, in the order of the Assessing officer, purely based on material facts on record. In the garb of an application for rectification, it is not open to the Assessing officer to seek re-opening of the order of the Assessing officer by re-arguing the whole matter. Unless there is a manifest error which is obvious, clear and is evident, the provisions of sec. 154 of the Act cannot be resorted to. What can be rectified u/s. 154 of the Act is a mistake which is apparent and patent. The mistake has to be such for which no elaborate reasons or enquiry is necessary. What is not permitted to be done by the Statute having been deliberately omitted to confer review jurisdiction on the Assessing officer, cannot be indirectly achieved by recourse to rectification u/s 154 of the Act. When an error was far from self-evident, it ceases to be apparent error. The so called inaccuracies or wrong calculation or wrong levy of  interest in the original assessment order so as to charge interest u/s. 220(2),  245D(6A) and withdrawal of interest under sec. 244(1A) were not patent  mistakes which constitute sine qua non for exercise of power u/s. 154 of the Act.  Thus, it is seen that the powers conferred by the Statute u/s. 154 on the Assessing officer are very limited and are circumscribed by the restrictions mentioned therein. In the case on hand, the earlier assessment was the subject  matter of issue before the Settlement Commission and the Settlement  Commission in this case passed the order on 29-06-1993 under section 245D(4)  of the Act for which an application was filed by the assessee before the Settlement Commission on 28/08/1989. At that time, the assessment was not completed and the impugned assessment was completed only on 22-03-1991 which is a reassessment.

Being so, the issue dealt by the Assessing officer in the rectification order u/s. 154 of the Act cannot be said to be a mistake apparent from record since the said view has been arrived at by the Assessing officer on an earlier occasion after due application of mind to the facts and circumstances of the case and the relevant material on an earlier occasion after due application of mind to the facts and circumstances of the case and the relevant material on record.

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