Oct 17, 2020
Income tax: Faceless Appeals Scheme challenged in Delhi High Court
A petition has been filed in Delhi HC seeking a direction to government to grant an opportunity of hearing to all taxpayers/assessees under the Faceless Appeals Scheme 2020. The petitioner has challenged the discretionary power of the Chief Commissioner or the Director General of Income Tax in granting chance of hearing to assessee. In the matter Delhi HC has issued notice to the Income-Tax department and reply has been sought in four weeks. Matter to be heard on December 15.
Counsel for the petitioner stated that in terms of the new Faceless Appeal Scheme, 2020, the right of being heard, even through the videoconferencing mode shall be subject to the approval of the Chief Commissioner or the Director General and therefore, the same is discretionary, i.e. he "may' or "may not" provide a right of personal hearing in the matter. That’s why scheme be termed discriminatory, arbitrary and illegal to the extent it provides a virtual hearing as per the circumstances to be approved by the administrative authorities under the Income Tax Act, 1961.
Petitioner further submitted that the right to provide or not to provide a hearing in the matter is also against the principle of audi alteram partem i.e. no person should be judged without a fair hearing in which each party is given an opportunity to respond to the evidence against them. Petitioner also mentioned that the Faceless Appeal Scheme is contrary to sections 250(1), 250(2) and 250(5) of the Act, which specifically state that right of hearing shall be granted to an assessee at the appeal stage.