1. The petitioners are the sons and legal representatives of one K. S. Rangaiah Setty (who is hereinafter referred to as 'the assessee'). An order of assessment under the provisions of the Income-tax Act, 1961 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act') was passed against the assessee in respect of the assessment year 1964-65 and a notice of demand under section 156 of the Act was served on him. The assessee having committed default, a certificate was issued to the Tax Recovery Officer under the provisions of section 222(1) of the Act. After the issue of the said certificate, the assessee died on October 13, 1970, leaving behind him the petitioners as his legal representatives. Thereafter, a warrant of attachment was issued by the Tax Recovery Officer to attach certain properties in the possession of the petitioners without mentioning the names of the petitioners as the defaulters in the notice. The said warrant of attachment was questioned before this court in Writ petition No 16 of 1972 by the petitioners. In the statement of objections filed on behalf of the revenue, it was submitted that warrant would be withdrawn and steps would be taken to recover the arrears from the petitioners in accordance with law. In view of the said statement made on behalf of the revenue, the petition became infructuous and it was disposed of accordingly on December 17, 1973. In the meanwhile, under rule 60 of the Income-tax (Certificate Proceedings) Rules, 1962 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Rules'), which requires the issue of the a notice to the legal representatives of a deceased defaulter, notice in Form ITCP 29 had been served on the petitioners. Hence after the disposal of the Writ Petition No. 16 of 1972 further proceedings were taken in order to recover the arrears of income-tax due and payable by the assessee from the petitioners. Aggrieved by the said proceedings, the petitioners have filed these writ petitions.
2. The principal ground on which these petitions are founded is that the recovery proceedings are illegal and unauthorised in the absence of service of notice of demand under section 156 of the Act on the petitioners who are the legal representatives of the assessee. The said contention is resisted by the revenue.
3. In support of his contention, Sri. K. Srinivasan, learned counsel for the petitioners, relied upon the decision of the Allahabad High Court in Satyapal Verma v. Income-tax Officer : 106ITR540(All) . The said decision no doubt lends support to the contention urged in these petitions. With great respect to the learned judges who decided the said case, I cannot agree with the conclusion reached by the Allahabad High Court in the said case.
4. The extent of the liability of legal representatives in respect of the income-tax due and payable by an assessee is set out in section 159 of the Act. Section 159(1) provides that where a person dies, his legal representative shall be liable to pay any sum which the deceased would have been liable to pay if he had not died, in the like manner and to the same extent as the deceased. Sub-section (3) of section 159 states that the legal representatives of the deceased shall for the purpose of the act be deemed to be assessees and sub-section (6) provides that the liability of the legal representatives under section 159 shall, subject to the provisions of sub-sections (4) and (5), be limited to the extent to which the assessee is capable of meeting the liability.
5. It is not disputed that the assessee had become a defaulter and a certificate had been issued under section 222 of the Act against him during his lifetime. The procedure that should be adopted for recovering the arrears of income-tax from the legal representatives of a deceased defaulter is to be found in the rules enacted in Schedule II of the Act. Rule 85 of Schedule II reads as follows :
'If at any time after the issue of the certificate by the Income-tax Officer to the Tax Recovery Officer, the defaulter dies, the proceedings under this Schedule (except arrest and detention) may be continued against the legal representative of the defaulter, and the provisions of this Schedule shall apply as if the legal representative were the defaulter.'
6. Rule 60 of the Rules requires the issue of a notice to the legal representative of a deceased defaulter under rule 85 read with rule 2 of Schedule II in Form No. ITCP 29, before further coercive steps may be taken in order to recover arrears of tax. Rule 3 of Schedule II directs that no steps in execution of a certificate shall be taken until the period of fifteen days has elapsed since the date of the service of notice required by rule 2. Rule II provides for the adjudication by the Tax Recovery Officer into any claim or objection regarding the attachment or sale of any property in execution of a certificate. From the order passed by the Tax Recovery Officer under rule 11, and appeal is provided to the appropriate authority under rule 86 of Schedule II. The provisions of section 159, rules 85,2,3,11 and 86 of Schedule II of the Act and rule 60 of the Rules, form a complete code regarding the rights, liabilities and remedies of a legal representative of a deceased defaulter against whom a tax recovery certificate had been issued during his lifetime in so far as the liability to pay the tax due by the defaulter is concerned, Sub-section (1) of section 159 taken along with rule 85 suggests that on the death of an assessee,the proceedings for recovery of the tax due from a defaulter against whom a certificate has been issued can be proceeded with against the legal representatives from the stage at which the defaulter died. In other words, if would not be necessary for the purposes of recovering the arrears of tax due by a deceased defaulter against whom a certificate has already been issued during his lifetime from his legal representatives to resort to any other step preceding the stage at which the defaulter died. Hence the contention of Sri. Srinivasan that, in order to recover the arrears of tax due from a deceased defaulter, fresh notice of demand under section 156 of the Act should be served on the legal representatives of the deceased defaulter, is untenable.
7. Sri. Srinivasan tried to derive some support to his submission from a decision of this court in B. Shah Mahmood v. Assistant Commissioner, Ramanagaram : 47ITR55(KAR) and the decision of the Supreme Court in Sahu Rajeshwar Nath v. Income-tax Officer  72d ITR 617 . Both those decisions were rendered on the basis of the provisions of the Income-Tax of 1922, where such elaborate provisions as we find in the Act and the Rules framed thereunder, were not available. It is further to be seen that the acceptance of the contention of Sri. Srinivasan would make rule 85 of Schedule II illogical. Rule 85 declares that a legal representative of a defaulter against whom a certificate has been issued, should be treated as a defaulter. If on such a legal representative a notice under section 156 of the Act has to be served again, then he would cease to be a defaulter immediately after such service is made because under the scheme of the Act an assessee would become a defaulter only when he has not paid the tax mentioned in the notice of demand issued under section 156 within the time prescribed by section 220(1) of the Act. The illogicality lies in the fact that, whereas rule 85 treats such a legal representative as a defaulter forthwith, section 220(4) does not treat a person on whom a notice under section 156 has been issued until the time prescribed in section 220(1) has expired. A construction which will lead to such an absurd result should be avoided by courts. I am of the opinion that under the Act and the Rules framed thereunder, the procedure for recovery of tax due from a legal representative of an assessee has been simplified and to a large extent is made to confirm to the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure in so far as the liability of a legal representative is concerned. A reading of the judgment of their Lordships of the Allahabad High Court in Satyapal Verma's case : 106ITR540(All) shows that the several provisions of the Act and the Rules referred to above had not been brought to their notice in the course of the argument.
8. Since in these cases, all the steps that are required to be taken under the Act and the Rules have been taken, the petitioners cannot have any grievance. These petitions fail and they are dismissed.
9. No costs.