Libertatem Magazine

Madras High Court: Dismisses a Writ Appeal Under Clause 15 of the Letters Patent

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Tezoram filed an appeal under Clause 15 to set aside the order dated 08.10.2020. He was issued a pre-assessment notice. However, he failed or chose not to acknowledge the same. The Respondent Commissioner pursuant to this order found that the Appellant was part of the business he claimed he had nothing to do with it. The matter was heard and decided upon by Hon’ble Justice T. S. Sivagnanam and Hon’ble Justice R. N. Manjula. 

Facts of the case:

The Appellant J. Tezoram, was bequeathed his father’s business due to his ill health. However, he contends that he is not the proprietor of his father’s business.  He maintains that he closed down the business towards the end of 2015 and went to his native place in Rajasthan. On his return in 2019, he found that his bank account, maintained with the Syndicate Bank, George Town Branch, Chennai, was frozen by the first Respondent/Department.

Arguments before the Court:

The Counsel for the Appellant submitted that due to the ill health of his father, he closed down the business and left for Rajasthan at the end of 2015. On his return, found that his bank account, maintained with the Syndicate Bank, George Town Branch, Chennai, was frozen by the first Respondent/Department.

The Appellant’s Counsel submitted that he was not served with any notice before passing the assessment order dated 10.09.2015. The same violates the principles of natural justice. Further, his father had closed the business in 2015, before which he had cleared all arrears of tax; therefore, the impugned assessment order has to be quashed.

The Counsel for the Respondent Assistant Commissioner stated that he had extensively set out the factual matrix to show that the Appellant was involved in the said business and was present at the time of inspection and the pre-assessment notice in 2015. 

Further, the Appellant, having been involved in the business and his father, is jointly and severally liable to pay the dues payable by his father and cannot escape by contending that he has nothing to do with the business.

Court’s observations:

The Court observed that the order of assessment was refused to be received, the learned Writ Court rightly held that the notice’s service was complete. The Writ Court had directed the Revenue to visit the business premises and file a report. Consequently, the first Respondent had visited the business premises and filed a report through an e-mail dated 07.10.2020, annexing photographs, which showed that the entity was functioning and carrying on business at the same address. The Court noted that the appellant’s stand that he has nothing to do with the business is a sham.
The Court further stated that there was no ground made out by the Appellant to interfere with the Order passed in the writ petition. 

Court’s order:

The Court dismissed the writ appeal.

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