Hearing through Video Conferencing; Failure to file Affidavit for Dealy in Filing Income Tax Appeal: Kerala HC allows to File Condonation Application Afresh [Read Order]

The Kerala High Court was allowed to file condonation of application afresh as the Income Tax Appeal was dismissed in the absence of cogent reason and the assessee failed to file an affidavit on time due to facing difficulty in Hearing through video conferencing.

The Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (the Tribunal), by the impugned order, had dismissed the appeal preferred by the appellant assessee, Save A Family Plan (India) solely for the reason that the affidavit filed in support of the delay condonation application seeking to condone the delay in filing the appeal before the Tribunal did not contain any cogent reasons for the delay occasioned.

The Tribunal was of the view that a better affidavit to support the delay condonation application was necessary and, towards that end, had directed the appellant to file a better affidavit in support of the delay condonation application.

Apparently, notwithstanding the time granted to the appellant, the said affidavit was not filed, and consequently, the Tribunal proceeded to dismiss the delay condonation application. Senior counsel Sri.V.Abraham Markose, appeared on behalf of the appellant, submitted that the fresh affidavit as sought by the Tribunal was, in fact, ready to be filed before the Tribunal on the date when the appeal was posted.

However, since the hearing was through video conference and was difficult to express by the appellant to upload the fresh affidavit, the affidavit did not reach the Tribunal on the said date.  A division bench comprising Justice A Kjayasankaran Nambiar and Justice Kauser Edappagath disposed of the Income Tax Appeal with the following directions:

“i. The appellant shall file the additional affidavit explaining the reasons for the delay occasioned in filing the appeal before the Tribunal within two weeks from today.

ii. On receipt of the said affidavit, the Tribunal shall consider the application preferred by the appellant for condonation of delay in filing the appeal before the Tribunal within a further period of three weeks after hearing the appellant.

iii. To enable the Tribunal to do so, we set aside the impugned order dated 03.07.2023 of the Tribunal.”

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