Srinivasa Iyengar, J.
1. These writ petitions are by the same assessee involving identical facts and points for determination.
2. In the first four writ petitions the challenge is to an order made by CWT on an application filed by the petitioner under s. 18(2A) of the Wealth-tax Act, 1957 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act'), dismissing the said application by his order dated January 28, 1975. The application was for waiver of the penalty imposable under s. 18(1)(a) of the Act. A similar application had been filed in relation to the assessment year 1972-73. The Commissioner dismissed that application also, following his order for the earlier years. That order is dated February 12, 1975, and is the subject matter of W.P. No. 2785/75. Facts are not in dispute. The returns for all these five assessment years had been filed on December 29, 1972. They had been filed before any notice under s. 14(2) or s. 17 of the Act had been issued. The assessments were completed by the WTO on January 22, 1973. It is pertinent to point out that the net wealth as declared by the assessee was accepted by WTO and the assessment completed accordingly. The WTO issued notices under s. 18(2) of the Act to show cause as to why penalty should not be imposed for the belated filing of the returns. The assessee sent a reply dated January 30, 1975, inter alia, pleading that the returns had not been filed earlier bona fide believing that there was no taxable wealth especially as a considerable portion of the assets belonging to her consisted of jewellery and these were excluded from the computation of net wealth. She further stated that consequent on the amendment of the W.T. Act, retrospectively, she had been advised to file the returns and accordingly she had done. She further pleaded that there was absolutely no suppression of any wealth and she had co-operated with the department in the finalisation of the assessment and returns had been filed voluntarily and bona fide. She accordingly prayed that the penalty proceedings should be dropped. She also filed petitions before the Commissioner under s. 18(2A) of the Act for waiver of the penalty. In that application also she stated that she had filed returns soon after the Act was amended in regard to jewellery and other articles intended for personal use and the returns had been filed voluntarily and she had co-operated with the department in finalising the assessment and had declared full and true particulars of her wealth and had paid the tax. She represented that in these circumstances the requirements of s. 18(2A) of the Act had been satisfied and, therefore, the penalty leviable may be waived.
3. The Commissioner observed that there was a search conducted in the house of the husband on April 23, 1972, and she had not filed that returns soon thereafter but had waited till December, 1972. He also observed that the WTO had a discussion with the authorised representative of the assessee who was also the authorised representative of her husband in regard to the assessment of the latter and these returns had been filed thereafter. He concluded by saying :
'In these circumstances, I am unable to consider the returns filed by the assessee as voluntary and before detection by the department. Even though no notice under section 17 was issued in this case, on the facts and circumstances of the case, I am not prepared to accept the assessee's contention that the returns were voluntary. Since one of the conditions required under section 18(2A) is not satisfied the petition in regard to all the years in question is rejected.'
4. It had been contended before the Commissioner that but for the inclusion of the jewellery, the assessee would not have been liable to pay tax at least for the first few years and at the material time there was a genuine belief in the minds of all the assessees, that jewellery need not be included. The Commissioner observed that this may be a bona fide belief but he was not concerned with these arguments while considering the application under s. 18(2A) of the Act and this was a point that could be urged by the assessee before the WTO.
5. It is contended by Sri. G. Saragan, learned counsel for the petitioner that the conclusion of the Commissioner that the returns were not voluntary and bona fide is untenable, and the only reason given for rejecting the applications is without any substance.
6. In my opinion the submission on behalf of the petitioner is sound and must be accepted. No notice under s. 14(2) or u/s. 17 of the Act had been issued. There was no proceeding or any attempt to take proceedings against the assessee as such. The search of the house of the husband was on April 23, 1972, and this by itself would not be a circumstance impelling the assessee to file the returns at least for the assessment years prior to 1972-73. She had given a reason as to why the returns were not filed earlier. The reason was that jewellery and other articles of personal use were not liable to be included in the computation of the net wealth and only by virtue of the amendment of the Act they had to be included. Even from the order of the Commissioner it is seen that he did not dispute that but for the inclusion of the value of the jewellery and silver articles, the wealth would be below the taxable limit for the first few years. This is not a case in which it could be said that just because there was search of the husband's house, the returns were filed as there were other relevant circumstances, viz., the amendment of the Act which would necessitate or impel a person to file the return. In Writ Petitions Nos. 5986 to 5988 of 1974 decided on December 13, 1978 [S. R. Jadav Desai v. WTO : 121ITR531(KAR) , I held that where returns had been filed in the status of HUF and they had not been filed pursuant to any notice under s. 17 or s. 14(2) of the Act, they were not filed under any compulsion but they were filed by the assessee on its own accord and, therefore, must be considered as having been filed voluntarily. In coming to that conclusion the observations in the case of Sankara Apaya Swami v. WTO : 103ITR649(KAR) had been relied upon as also the observations of the Allahabad High Court in the case of Kundan Lal Behari Lal v. CWT : 98ITR359(All) which decision had been upheld by the Supreme Court in CWT v. Kundan Lal Behari Lal : 99ITR581(SC) .
7. It is seen that the value of the jewellery declared and accepted was Rs. 27,000 for the assessment years 1968-69 and 1969-70 and Rs. 32,000 for the other assessment years. The net wealth determined for the assessment year 1972-73 was Rs. 1,41,541 and for the earlier two years was Rs. 1,32,000 and for the first two years was Rs. 1,02,200 and Rs. 1,13,600. The incidence of tax would be quite meagre. Considering the entire circumstances of the case there was no material justifying the conclusion that the filing of the conclusion that the filing of the returns was anything but voluntary and bona fide. The conclusion reached by the Commissioner is unsupportable on the material on record and is untenable.
8. Accordingly, the orders of the Commissioner rejecting the applications filed by the petitioner under s. 18(2A) of the Act are quashed. It appears to be obvious that the other requirements under s. 18(2A) of the Act are satisfied by the petitioner. The Commissioner shall dispose of the applications afresh expeditiously in accordance with the law. The petitioner shall have her costs in these petitions. Advocate's fee Rs. 200 (one set).