254. Orders of Appellate Tribunal

254. Orders of Appellate Tribunal. — (1) The Appellate Tribunal may, after giving both the parties to the appeal an opportunity of being heard, pass such orders thereon as it thinks fit.

(1A) [***]

(2) The Appellate Tribunal may, at any time within six months from the end of the month in which the order was passed, with a view to rectifying any mistake apparent from the record, amend any order passed by it under sub-section (1), and shall make such amendment if the mistake is brought to its notice by the assessee or the Assessing Officer :

Provided that an amendment which has the effect of enhancing an assessment or reducing a refund or otherwise increasing the liability of the assessee, shall not be made under this sub-section unless the Appellate Tribunal has given notice to the assessee of its intention to do so and has allowed the assessee a reasonable opportunity of being heard :

Provided further that any application filed by the assessee in this sub-section on or after the 1st day of October, 1998, shall be accompanied by a fee of fifty rupees.

(2A) In every appeal, the Appellate Tribunal, where it is possible, may hear and decide such appeal within a period of four years from the end of the financial year in which such appeal is filed under sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) of section 253 :

Provided that the Appellate Tribunal may, after considering the merits of the application made by the assessee, pass an order of stay in any proceedings relating to an appeal filed under sub-section (1) of section 253, for a period not exceeding one hundred and eighty days from the date of such order 8[subject to the condition that the assessee deposits not less than twenty per cent of the amount of tax, interest, fee, penalty, or any other sum payable under the provisions of this Act, or furnishes security of equal amount in respect thereofand the Appellate Tribunal shall dispose of the appeal within the said period of stay specified in that order:

9[Provided further that no extension of stay shall be granted by the Appellate Tribunal, where such appeal is not so disposed of within the said period of stay as specified in the order of stay, unless the assessee makes an application and has complied with the condition referred to in the first proviso and the Appellate Tribunal is satisfied that the delay in disposing of the appeal is not attributable to the assessee, so however, that the aggregate of the period of stay originally allowed and the period of stay so extended shall not exceed three hundred and sixty-five days and the Appellate Tribunal shall dispose of the appeal within the period or periods of stay so extended or allowed:]

Provided also that if such appeal is not so disposed of within the period allowed under the first proviso or the period or periods extended or allowed under the second proviso, which shall not, in any case, exceed three hundred and sixty-five days, the order of stay shall stand vacated after the expiry of such period or periods, even if the delay in disposing of the appeal is not attributable to the assessee.

(2B) The cost of any appeal to the Appellate Tribunal shall be at the discretion of that Tribunal.

(3) The Appellate Tribunal shall send a copy of any orders passed under this section to the assessee and to the Principal Commissioner or Commissioner.

(4) Save as provided in section 256 or section 260A, orders passed by the Appellate Tribunal on appeal shall be final.