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Delhi HC: Assessment Order Conducted Against Dead Person Without Stating All Legal Representatives is Void

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Delhi High Court Law Insider

Aastha Thakur

Published on: 20 November 2022 at 23:08 IST

The Delhi High Court has quashed the assessment order passed against the dead person without bringing on record all his legal representatives is void.

The matter was dealt by the division bench of Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora, who observed that the assessee’s legal heirs fully informed the assessor of his death.

Additionally, the ITR clearly disclosed who filed it: here the legal representative. However, the scrutiny proceedings were erroneously carried out in the name of the deceased assessee without bringing all of his legal heirs to the record as required by law due to a lack of knowledge of the facts on record.

The petitioner is the son of the deceased assessee, the Late Virendra Kumar Bhatnagar, who died on March 10, 2018.  On demise of his father, the petitioner filed an e-application for registration as a legal representative of the deceased assessee in the records of the Income Tax Department.

His application was accepted, and he was allowed to use E-portal of the deceased assessee’s to fill required sections on behalf of the deceased assessee as the registered legal representative.

The petitioner filed the income tax return (ITR) of the deceased assessee for AY 2018–19 in his capacity as a legal representative. In the ITR, it was duly verified and declared that the ITR was being filed by the petitioner in his capacity as a representative of the deceased assessee.

The Assessing Officer issued notice in the name of the deceased assessee u/s 143(2) for the assessment year for limited scrutiny. The AO concluded the aforesaid assessment proceedings and passed the consequential assessment order in the name of the deceased assessee, bearing his PAN, and assessing the total income.

The petitioner asserted that since the notice was issued in the name of a deceased person and the scrutiny proceedings were requested in that person’s case, there was a serious jurisdictional error. Neither the legal heirs’ names nor their PAN numbers were mentioned in the notification. The AO did not take any measures to register all of the dead assessee’s legal heirs at the time of the notice.

The petition was granted, and the court revoked the assessment order along with all consequential proceedings and notices.

Case Title: Vikram Bhatnagar Versus ACIT