DELHI HIGH COURT LAW INSIDER IN

Petition admitted by Delhi HC challenging the Faceless Income Tax Appeal Scheme

By SHELAL LODHI RAJPUT-

Faceless Income Tax Appeal Scheme, 2020 is under judicial scrutiny as Delhi HC has allowed a petition challenging the scheme. Government introduced Faceless Appeal Scheme on 25th September of this year, within three weeks of its launch it is under the court’s radar.

The petitioner Lakshya Budhiraja questioned the discretionary power of the Director General of Income Tax or the Chief Commissioner in granting chance of hearing to assessee. The court has issued notice to the Government. The matter will now be heard on December 15.

The petitioner says the right of being heard, even through the video conferencing mode will be subject to the approval of the Chief Commission or the Director General and therefore, the same is discretionary. This is why the scheme is violating the audi alteram partem principle of natural justice. The scheme is termed as discriminatory, arbitrary and illegal.

Petitioner further submitted that the Faceless Appeal Scheme is in contravention to the sections 250(1), 250 (2) and 250(5) of the Income Tax Act,1961. On the aforesaid grounds’ petitioner sought a direction to the tax department to grant an opportunity of hearing to all taxpayers/assessee and to hold that same is not at the discretion of Chief Commission or the Director General as proposed in the scheme.

The Faceless Appeal Scheme enables faceless filing and hearing of appeals in cases related to income tax. The allocation of cases will be done randomly to avoid any bias with the help of computer. To lodge an e-appeal, National Faceless Appeal Centre will be used by Income tax department and the assesseee will be informed about the acceptance and rejection of an appeal.

The petitioner challenged the discretionary part o the grounds of Article 14 of the constitution of India.