Somnath Iyer, J.
1. In this writ petition, the petitioner, whose income was assessed by the income-tax authorities, owed a sum of Rs. 18,783.75 P. towards the arrears of tax, and the Parupathegar of the Nad Office, Coorg, who is respondent No. 3, called upon him on April 14, 1965, to pay up the arrears, and intimated him that, in default, his landed property would be forwarded to the concerned revenue authority a certificate under section 46 (2) of the Indian Income-tax Act, 1922.
2. The petitioner challenges this demand and the ground on which the challenge rests is that, as early as on September 11, 1958, a promissory note for Rs. 1,00,000 executed by the petitioner's debtors had been delivered to the Income-tax Officer for collection and appropriation towards the arrears of the tax due from him, and that the neglect on the part of the Income-tax Officer to make the collection of the debt, exonerated the petitioner from his liability to pay the arrears of tax.
3. In the counter-affidavit produced on behalf of the Income-tax Officer, it was denied that the petitioner handed over any promissory note to the had been endorsed in favour of the department, was also denied. It was explained that a promissory note was sent by post by the petitioner to the income-tax department and that the department was prepared to return it to the petitioner.
4. It is seen from the papers produced before us that, when the concerned officer of the income-tax department made a demand for the payment of the amount due under the promissory note, under section 46 (5A) of the Indian Income-tax Act, 1922, to which we shall refer as the Act, the debtor, to whom a notice was issued for the purpose, repudiated his liability under the promissory note. The maker of the note denied that he had received any consideration. It is seen that, although the Income-tax Officer made yet another demand, he did not succeed in recovering any part of the amount to which the promissory note related.
5. It is plain that, although under section 46 (5A) of the Act, the Income-tax Officer had the power to call upon the debtor of the petitioner to make the payment of a debt due to the petitioner towards the petitioner's arrears of income-tax, the Income-tax Officer did not become the agent of the petitioner for the recovery or collection of the debt due to him. Section 46 (5A) is an enabling section, which creates a machinery for the recovery of the income-tax arrears from a person who is indebted to the assessee. Paragraph 2 of that sub-section makes it clear that the Income-tax Officer may abandon the endeavour to recover the arrears in that way at his choice and the last paragraph of that sub-section provides that, when a person, who is called upon by the Income-tax Officer to pay a debt of the assessee, repudiates the debt, the Income-tax Officer can do nothing further in that matter.
6. That being the true position, the Income-tax Officer could not take any further steps for the recovery of the debt which was not admitted by the maker of the promissory note. So, the delivery of the promissory note to the Income-tax Officer and its endorsement, even if true, did not and could not result in the extinction of the petitioner's liability to pay the arrears of tax.
7. But Mr. Nanjappa appearing for the petitioner contends that a certificate of clearance granted to the petitioner by the concerned Income-tax Officer on January 12, 1960, discharged the petitioner. It is plain that it did not; for that certificate stated no more than that the petitioner was doing everything possible to pay the tax demanded promptly and regularly. It did not state that the arrears of tax due from him had been paid.
8. We, therefore, dismiss this writ petition. No costs.
9. Petition dismissed.