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Controller of Estate Duty, Karnataka, Bangalore Vs. Andal Thayaramma - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectDirect Taxation
CourtKarnataka High Court
Decided On
Case NumberT.R.C. Nos. 17 of 1974 and 85 of 1975
Judge
Reported inILR1984KAR1368; [1985]151ITR197(KAR); [1985]151ITR197(Karn); 1984(2)KarLJ396
ActsEstate Duty Act, 1953 - Sections 7(1), 7(2), 34(1) and 34(2)
AppellantController of Estate Duty, Karnataka, Bangalore
RespondentAndal Thayaramma
Appellant AdvocateG. Sarangan, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateK.R. Prasad, Adv.
Excerpt:
- motor vehicles act, 1988 [c.a. no. 59/1988]sections 168 & 173; [ram mohan reddy, j] compensation appeal against - claimant was an in-patient in the hospital for 13 days non-examination of the doctor who treated the claimant at the general hospital - uncorroborated medical certificate which certifies that the claimant sustained fractures of the 6th, 7th and 8th ribs held, tribunal fell in serious error and occasioned grave injustice to the appellant in not properly appreciating the evidence both oral and documentary before concluding that the claimant suffered from fractures of the 6th, 7th and 8th ribs in the accident that occurred. thus it goes without saying that disability cannot be believed and is unacceptable. compensation of rs. 1,49,000/- awarded by tribunal was reduced to.....puttaswamy, j. 1. in t.r.c. no. 17 of 1974, the income-tax appellate tribunal, bangalore bench, bangalore ('the tribunal'), at the instance of the revenue, has referred the following questions under s. 64(b) of the e.d. act of 1953 (central act no. 34 of 1953) ('the act') : '(1) whether, on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, it was for the tribunal an error of law to hold that the provisions of section 7(1) of the estate duty act are not applicable to the case (2) whether, on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, it was for the tribunal an error of law to hold that the provisions of section 34(1)(c) of the estate duty act are not applicable to the case 2. in t.r.c. no. 85 of 1975, the tribunal at the instance of the accountable person ('assessee'), has referred the.....
Judgment:

Puttaswamy, J.

1. In T.R.C. No. 17 of 1974, the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal, Bangalore Bench, Bangalore ('the Tribunal'), at the instance of the Revenue, has referred the following questions under s. 64(b) of the E.D. Act of 1953 (Central Act No. 34 of 1953) ('the Act') :

'(1) Whether, on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, it was for the Tribunal an error of law to hold that the provisions of section 7(1) of the Estate Duty Act are not applicable to the case

(2) Whether, on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, it was for the Tribunal an error of law to hold that the provisions of section 34(1)(c) of the Estate Duty Act are not applicable to the case

2. In T.R.C. No. 85 of 1975, the Tribunal at the instance of the accountable person ('assessee'), has referred the following question :

'Whether, on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, the Tribunal was right in holding that the provisions of section 34(1)(c) of the Estate Duty Act were operative and applicable to the facts of the case ?'

3. In order to appreciate the questions referred to this court and the answers to be furnished thereto, it is necessary in the first instance to notice the facts of the cases.

4. T.R.C.No. 17 of 1974 : One A. G. Changalarayalu, a member of a Mitakshara Hindu undivided family ('HUF') consisting of himself, his wife Smt. Andal Thayaramma, his son and a daughter, died on April 17, 1964. The HUF owned movable and immovable properties.

5. On the death of her husband, Andal Thayaramma filed a return under Act before the Assistant Controller of Estate Duty, Bangalore ('ACED'), who by his order dated February 21, 1969 (annexure-A), inter alia, held that a sum of Rs. 1,46,711, being the value of the half share of the lineal descendants of the deceased was agreeable with the estate passing on the death of the deceased for the purpose of the rate of duty payable. Against the said order of ACED and the aforesaid aggregation, with which alone we are presently concerned, the assessee filed an appeal before the Appellate Controller of Estate Duty, Southern Zone, Madras ('Appellate Controller'), who by his order dated December 26, 1970 (annexure-B), dismissed the same. Against the said orders of the Appellate Controller, the assessee filed a second appeal before the Tribunal, which by its order dated February 23, 1974, accepted the same and held that the said aggregation was impermissible. Hence, this reference at the instance of the Revenue.

6. T.R.C. No. 85 of 1975 : One Shambulingegowda of Sakleshpur, who was a member of an HUF and a Mitakshara coparcenary consisting of himself and his four sons, (i) Shop Shivappa (ii) Shop Subbegowda, (iii) Shop Shanthappa, and (iv) Shop Siddegowda, died on May 28, 1966. The HUF owned various movable and immovable properties.

7. On the death of Shambulingegowda, his eldest son, Shop Shivappa, filed a return under the Act before the ACED, who on an examination of the same and by his order dated November 30, 1968 (annexure-A), determined the 4/5ths share value of the lineal descendants at Rs. 4,63,974 and aggregated the same for determining the rate of estate duty payable on the estate passing on the death of the said Shambulingegowda. In the appeal filed by the assessee, the said aggregation has been upheld by the instance of the assessee.

8. In T.R.C. No. 17 of 1974, the Tribunal, relying on a Division Bench ruling of this court in Ratnamala Amma v. Asst. CED : [1970]75ITR238(KAR) , has held that the share of lineal descendants cannot be aggregated. But, in T.R.C. No. 85 of 1975, when a similar question arose, the very same Tribunal took the view the ratio in Ratnamala Amma's case : [1970]75ITR238(KAR) was not attracted and that the principles enunciated by the Supreme Court in Balakrishnan Menon v. Asst. CED : [1972]83ITR162(SC) applied.

9. Both these cases were initially heard by a Division Bench consisting of Srinivasa Iyengar and Rama Jois JJ. and their Lordships having regard to the conflicting view expressed by the Tribunal and doubting the correctness of the view expressed in Ratnamala Amma's case : [1970]75ITR238(KAR) have referred them to a larger Bench for disposal. Accordingly, these cases have come up before us.

10. Sri G. Sarangan, learned advocate appearing for the Revenue, and Sriyuths K. R. Prasad and S. G. Shivaram, learned advocates appearing for the assessees in T.R.Cs. Nos. 17 of 1974 and 85 of 1975, respectively, relying on certain rulings that will be noticed at the appropriate stages, have urged for answering the questions in favour of their respective parties.

11. We have earlier noticed that in both the cases there were lineal descendants and the value of their shares have been aggregated in determining the rates of estate duty payable by the assessees under the Act. But, the dispute between the assessees and the Revenue is whether the value of the shares of the lineal descendants can or cannot be aggregated under the Act. In order to resolve this short but interesting question, accentuated by conflicting views expressed by the Tribunal, we consider it proper to independently examine the Act and the material provisions of the Act, viz., ss. 7 and 34.

12. In interpreting the Act and the material provisions, it is pertinent to remember the oft-quoted classical statement of Rowlatt J. in Cape Brandy Syndicate v. IRC [1921] 1 KB 64 , referred to with approval by our Supreme Court in more than one case, which reads thus :

'In a taxing Act one has to look merely at what is clearly said. There is no room for any intendment. There is no equity about a tax. There is no presumption as to a tax.Nothing is to be read in, nothing is to be implied. One can only look fairly at the language used.'

13. In construing the the provisions of the Act, our Supreme Court in CED v. Alladi Kuppuswamy : [1977]108ITR439(SC) , has expressed thus (p. 451) :

'The last plank of the argument of the respondent was that the Estate Duty Act being a fiscal statute should be construed strictly so as to give every benefit of doubt to the subject. There can be no quarrel with this proposition but when the phraseology of a particular section of the statute takes within its sweep the transaction which is taxable, it is not for the court to strain and stress the language of the section so as to enable the tax-payer to escape the tax.'

14. Bearing these principles, we shall now proceed to ascertain the true scope and ambit of the Act, in general, and ss. 34 and 7 of the Act, in particular in that order.

15. The Act has been enacted to levy and collect estate duty. The term 'estate duty' defined in the Act, as duty under the Act is defined in article 366(9) of the Constitution, as 'a duty to be assessed on or by reference to the principal value, ascertained in accordance with such rules as may be prescribed by or under laws made by Parliament or the Legislature of a State relating to the duty, of all property passing upon death or deemed, under the provisions of the said law, so to pass'.

16. Section 2 of the Act defines certain terms. Section 2(15) defines 'property' as including any interest in property, either movable or immovable. Section 2(16) defines 'property passing on the death' as including property passing either immediately on the death or after any interval, either certainly or contingently, and either originally or by way of substitutive limitation.

17. Section 3 of the Act sets out certain special rules of interpretation in interpreting certain provisions, terms or concepts occurring in the Act. Wherever the context so justifies, the court is bound to apply those rules of interpretation and thus achieve the purposes of the Act.

18. Section 5 of the Act is the charging section. Section 5 provides for the levy of estate duty on the principal value of the property that passes or is deemed to pass from the deceased to be ascertained in accordance with the detailed provisions made thereto in the Act.

19. Part IV of the Act deals with aggregation of property and rates of duty payable thereon under the Act. Section 34 deals with aggregation. Section 35 deals with the rates of duty whenever there are aggregations under s. 34 of the Act and not otherwise.

20. Section 34 of the Act as originally enacted reads thus :

'34. Aggregation. - (1) For determining the rate of estate duty to be paid on any property passing on the death of the deceased, all property so passing, excluding -

property exempted from duty under clauses (c), (d), (e), (i) and (j) of sub-section (1) of section 33, but including -

(i) property on which no estate duty is leviable under section 35,

(ii) property exempted from duty under clauses (a), (b), (f), (g), (h) and (k) of section 33, and

(iii) agricultural land situate in any State not specified in the First Schedule,

shall be aggregated so as to form one estate and the duty shall be levied at the rate or rates applicable in respect of the principle value thereof :

Provided that any property so passing, in which the deceased never had an interest, not being a debt or right or benefit that is treated as property by virtue of the Explanations to clause (15) of section 2, shall not be aggregated with any other property, but shall be an estate by itself and the estate duty shall be leviable at the rate or rates applicable in respect of the principle value thereof. (2) Every estate shall include all income accrued upon the property included therein down to and outstanding at the date of the death of the deceased.

(3) Property passing on any death shall not be aggregated more than once nor shall estate duty in respect thereof be levied more than once on the same death.

(4) Where an estate includes any property which is exempt from estate duty, the estate duty leviable on the property which is not so exempt shall be an amount bearing to the total amount of duty which would have been payable on the whole estate had no part of it been exempted the same proportion as the unexempted value of the property bears to the value of the whole estate.

Explanation. - For the purposes of this sub-section, property which is exempt from estate duty means any property which is exempt from estate duty under section 33 and also any agricultural land situate in any State not specified in the First Schedule.'

21. But, by the Estate Duty (Amendment) Act of 1958 (Central Act No. 33 of 1958) ('the amending Act') that came into force on July 1, 1960, which governs these cases, the above section has been recast and substituted and that section with certain minor amendments made thereafter by the later Finance Acts that are not material to notice, reads thus :

'Aggregation of property and rates of duty

34. (1) For the purpose of determining the rate of the estate duty to be paid on any property passing on the death of the deceased, -

(a) all property so passing other than property exempted from estate duty under clauses (c), (d), (e), (i), (j), (l), (m), (mm), (n), (o) and (p) of sub-section (1) of section 33;

(b) agricultural land so passing, if any, situate in any State not specified in the First Schedule; and

(c) in the case of property so passing which consists of a coparcenary interest in the joint family property of a Hindu family governed by the Mitakshara, Marumakkattayam or Aliyasantana law, also the interests in the joint family property of all the lineal descendants of the deceased member;

shall be aggregated so as to form one estate and estate duty shall be levied thereon at the rate or rates applicable in respect of the principal value thereof.

(2) Where any such estate as is referred to in sub-section (1) includes any property exempt from estate duty, the estate duty leviable on the property not so exempt shall be an amount bearing to the total amount of duty which would have been payable on the whole estate had no part of it been so exempt, the same proportion as the value of the property not so exempt bears to the value of the whole estate.

Explanation. - For the purposes of this sub-section, 'property exempt from estate duty' means -

(i) any property which is exempt from estate duty under section 33;

(ii) any agricultural land situate in any State not specified in the First Schedule;

(iii) the interest of all coparceners other than the deceased in the joint family property of a Hindu family governed by the Mitakshara, Marumakkattayam or Aliyasantana law.

(3) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1) or sub-section (2), any property passing in which the deceased never had an interest, not being a right or debt or benefit that is treated as property by virtue of the Explanation to clause (15) of section 2, shall not be aggregated with any property, but shall be an estate by itself, and the estate duty shall be levied at the rate or rates applicable in respect of the principal value thereof.

(4) Every estate shall include all income accrued upon the property included therein down to and outstanding at the date of the death of the deceased.

(5) For the purposes of this section, no property shall be aggregated more than once nor shall estate duty in respect thereof be levied more than once on the same death.'

22. It is now necessary to make a detailed analysis of this section.

23. Earlier, we have noticed that the charge to estate duty arises when property passes or is deemed to pass from the deceased. In such a situation and as necessary concomitant, s. 34 of the Act provides for aggregation of all such properties subject to such exemptions provided thereto by the Act. When there is such aggregation, the rate of estate duty to be levied shall be on the whole of such aggregated property.

24. Aggregation for rate purposes provided in the Act is nothing new or novel and is on the familiar pattern in other taxation measures like the I.T. Act and levy of estate duty in England, on which, the Act is generally modelled, however, taking care to comprehend the peculiarities prevailing in our country. We are conscious that it is unsafe to interpret the Act with reference to other enactments or the enactments prevailing in England and the rulings rendered by English courts on those provisions. But, still we are of the view that what has been stated in the classic treatises like Dymond's Death Duties and Green's Death Duties on the general principles of aggregation is worth recalling. On 'aggregation' Dymond's Death Duties (Fifteenth Edition) states thus :

'The rates of duty depend on the value of the property passing; for determining the rate, the principle of 'aggregation' was introduced by the Finance Act, 1894, s. 4 (amended by the Finance Act, 1900, s. 12, the Finance Act, 1907, s. 16 and the Finance Act, 1927, s. 51). Thus, where several distinct estates pass on a person's death, as, for instance, his free estate and settled property, under different titles, the values of all the properties are required to be added together and the rate of duty is ascertained from the aggregated total. Property (exclusive of certain settled property) not exceeding Pound 15,000 (Finance Act, 1894, s. 16(3) as substituted by Finance Act, 1954, s. 33(1), and amended by Finance Act, 1972, s. 120(3) is the main exception : this exception (known as the 'small estate') grew by stages from a figure of Pound 1,000 in the original s. 16(3), and the 1954 Act, which increased the amount to Pound 10,000 altered the constitution of the 'small estate' by including in it property settled by the deceased and certain other defined types of settled property and contained a 'marginal' provision (still operative) where the Pound 10,000 (now Pound 15,000) is exceeded. Formerly there was also an important exception from aggregation (under the proviso to s. 4 of the 1894 Act) for property in which the deceased never had an interest, subject (under s. 33(2) of the 1954 Act) to the partial aggregation inter se of policies of insurance and interests therein where these were free from general aggregation; but as respects deaths on and after 20th March, 1968, this relief was removed from claims on a gift basis by the Finance Act, 1968, s. 38, and with the elimination of duty on most of such property, the exception was repealed altogether as respects deaths after 15th April, 1969, by the Finance Act, 1969, subject in each case to limited savings for policies and annuity contracts effected before 20th March, 1968.

The rates of duty increase with the size of the agreeable estate, and until 1969 duty was chargeable (on what is sometimes called a 'slab' basis) on the whole agreeable value according to the rate band which it came within; the rates, originally rising from 1 per cent. for estates between Pound 100 and Pound 500 to a maximum of 8 per cent. for estates exceeding Pound 1,000,000, were increased by successive Finance Acts till they reached 1 per cent. for estates between a minimum dutiable figure of Pound 5,000 and Pound 6,000 rising to 80 per cent. for estates over Pound 1,000,000; subject to reduction in the full amount of the duty where the margin above the next step was (comparatively) small (under the Finance Act, 1914, s. 13(1).......' (vide pages 2 and 3 'Introduction').

* * * F. Aggregation 'For the purpose of determining the Estate Duty to be paid on any property passing on the death of the deceased, all property so passing in respect of which Estate Duty is leviable has to be aggregated (with special exceptions) so as to form one estate, and the duty levied on the principal value thereof : Finance Act, 1894, s. 4, as amended by Finance Act, 1969, Sched. 21, Pt. V.

Aggregation affects only property which is actually or notionally chargeable with Estate Duty on the death, so that where property passing is exempt from Estate Duty, it is not liable to aggregation. For exemptions from Estate Duty, including relief for widows, charities, etc., (Finance Act, 1972), see Chapter XX, p. 1012 et seq. But the fact that the Estate Duty chargeable on a particular fund may be covered by an allowance (e.g., of Settlement Estate Duty paid on a prior death), or is irrecoverable, will not render that fund immune from aggregation, the duty being none the less leviable. The duty is similarly leviable, and the property liable to aggregation, where the rate of duty is reduced to nil by an allowance for Legacy Duty or Succession Duty under the Finance Act, 1949, s. 29 (see p. 1193 et seq., and the wording of s. 29(1)(b). Subject to the provisions relating to small estates (pp. 665-681, infra), property passing under a particular title does not escape aggregation by reason of its separate value not exceeding Pound 15,000. The principles of aggregation are not affected by the provisions of the various Double Taxation Agreements (see p. 1346 et. seq.), although where they exclude property from liability to duty they also exclude it from aggregation.' (vide pages 663 & 664).

On the same topic, Green's Death Duties (Seventh Edition) states thus :

'Amount of duty. - For determining the amount of Estate Duty, all the property liable to Estate Duty on the death is aggregated so as to form one 'estate'. The duty is then ascertained by applying to the aggregate 'estate' an ascending percentage scale of rates in respect of successive 'slices' of the estate. Under the current scale an 'estate' not exceeding Pound 12,500 goes free, and the rates thereafter rise from 25 per cent. (on the 'slice' between Pound 12,500 and Pound 17,500) to 85 per cent. (on the 'slice' in excess of Pound 7,50,000). Finally the amount of duty payable on each item is determined by apportioning the total of the duty on the successive 'slices' making up the aggregate 'estate' rateably according to value among the various components of the 'estate'.

Where duty is charged on agricultural property and industrial premises, plant or machinery used in a business, the amount of duty attributable to the property is reduced by 45 per cent.

Where the property passing on the death, after excluding property settled by persons other than the deceased, does not exceed Pound 12,500, it is protected from aggregation with that settled property and is treated as an 'estate by itself'. Marginal provisions afford a partial relief where the figure of Pound 12,500 is exceeded. The duty charged on the non-settled property is restricted to the amount of the excess over Pound 12,500.' (vide page 5).

* * *Aggregation* * * 'The duty is leviable, notwithstanding that it may be remitted. But, in most cases in which the question of aggregation could arise, the property in respect of which the duty is remitted is excluded from aggregation either by the terms of the enactment which authorises the remission or by concession. These cases appear in the list of exceptions below.

If the duty presumptively payable in respect of settled property on a future death is commuted, it is no longer leviable, and the value of such property cannot be taken into account when the death occurs.

Duty which is covered by an allowance (e.g., for Settlement Estate duty or foreign duty) is none the less leviable, and the absence of an actual payment does not exclude the property from aggregation. Duty is also leviable, notwithstanding that the Crown may fail to recover it.

It is immaterial that the different parcels of property pass under different titles and to different beneficiaries, and that different persons are accountable. For example,

the following items are aggregated :Poundthe deceased's free estate bequeathed to his wife 12,000a gift inter vivos made by him to his son 1,000property settled by a stranger on trust for thedeceased for life and then for a charity 10,000--------Total 23,000-------- The amount of duty chargeable is determined by reference to that total of Pound 23,000 as 'the aggregate principal value of all the property comprised in the estate'; as explained later in this chapter, that amount is Pound 3,500 and it is attributed proportionally to the three items making up the 'estate'.' (vide p. 357).

With this backdrop of the legal principles, we will now ascertain the scope and ambit of s. 34 of the Act.

25. Section 34(1)(a) of the Act sets out in detail the properties exempted from duty but are still aggregated for rate purposes. A detailed enumeration of the properties exempted under s. 34(1)(a) and the extent of exemptions is not necessary for these cases. Section 34(1)(b) provides for aggregation of the value of agricultural lands that are not subject to estate duty under the Act. Section 34(1)(c) of the Act provides for the aggregation of a coparcenary interest in the joint family property of a Hindu family governed by the Mitakshara, Marumakkattayam or Aliyasantana law as also the interests in the joint family property of the lineal descendants of the deceased member.

26. Under the Act, as it originally stood prior to its amendment by the Amending Act, there were two rates of estate duty, one in the case of property, which consists of an interest in the joint family property of a Hindu family governed by the Mitakshara, Marumakkattayam or Aliyasantana law (vide Part I, Second Schedule to the Act) and the other in the case of other properties (vide Part II of the Second Schedule to the Act). In the case of properties falling under Part I, the first slab exempt from duty was Rs. 50,000 and in the case of properties falling under Part II, the first slab exempt from duty was Rs. 1,00,000. The Amending Act abolished these distinctions and differences, introduced a uniform first exemption slab at Rs. 50,000 and s. 34(1)(c) of the Act (vide Notes on Clause 30 of Bill No. 18 of of 1958 (page 339 of Gazette of India (Extraordinary) dated February 28, 1958). In the later amendments, the exemption limits have been raised. But, that does not make any difference on the scope and ambit of this provision. Section 34(1)(c) clearly provides for aggregation of the interests of lineal descendants of the deceased in the joint family property for purposes of determining the rate of duty leviable under the Act. The aggregation is of the interest of the lineal descendants only and not of others (vide Notes on Clause 17 of the Bill proposing the Amendment to original s. 34 of the Act). But, in the case of such aggregation it is necessary to notice that under Explanation (iii) of sub-s. (2) of s. 34 of the Act, the interests of all coparceners other than the deceased in the joint family property is exempted from payment of estate duty. We are of the view that this construction of s. 34 of the Act is in accord with the amendments made by the Amending Act.

27. In Maharani Raj Laxmi Kumari Devi v. CED : [1980]121ITR1002(All) and Ramniklal J. Daftary v. CED : [1982]136ITR422(Guj) , the High Courts of Allahabad and Gujarat have taken a similar view. We are in respectful agreement with the views expressed by their Lordships in these cases.

28. On the true scope and ambit of s. 7 of the Act, as we apprehend, the matter is concluded by the ruling of the Supreme Court in CED v. Alladi Kuppuswamy : [1977]108ITR439(SC) , in which Murtaza Fazal Ali J., speaking for the court, expressed thus (p. 443) :

'It would be seen that section 7(1) consists of two parts - the first part refers to the interest of the deceased which ceases on his death and according to this part, two conditions are necessary before there is a passing of the interest - (1) that there must be a cesser of the interest by virtue of the death of the deceased; and (2) that as a result of such cesser a benefit accrues or arises. The second part of sub-section (1) contains an inclusive category which brings within the fold of sub-section (1) a coparcenary interest in the joint family property of a Hindu family governed by the Mitakshara, Marumakkattayam or Aliyasantana law. In the instant case, we are mainly concerned with the Mitakshara law.'

29. Section 7(2) only carves out certain exceptions to what is provided in s. 7(1) of the Act. We are of the opinion that this enunciation made in a case arising on the death of a Hindu widow before the Hindu Succession Act of 1956 (Central Act 30 of 1956) ('the 1956 Act') came into force is equally applicable to cases arising on and after the 1956 Act came into force. In his Treatise on Hindu Law, III edition, on the topic 'Joint Family and Tax law' dealing with s. 7 of the Act at page 509 of Vol. I, S. V. Gupte has also expressed the same view.

30. In Gurupad Khandappa Magdum v. Hirabai Khandappa Magdum : [1981]129ITR440(SC) , on which strong reliance was placed for the assessees to contend that on a combined reading of s. 6 of the 1956 Act and s. 7 of the Act, there would be an actual partition and cesser of interest, the Supreme Court has ruled that s. 6 of the 1956 Act only creates a fictional partition and not an actual partition. We see no merit in the contention of the assessees that Gurupad Khandappa Magdum's case : [1981]129ITR440(SC) , has the effect of creating an actual partition in the event of death of a coparcener of a joint Hindu family governed by the Mitakshara law and, therefore, there can be no aggregation of the share values of the lineal descendants under s. 34 of the Act.

31. In the Maharani Raj Laxmi Kumari Devi's case : [1980]121ITR1002(All) , the Allahabad High Court dealing with a similar contention urged for the assessees, on a detailed examination of the provisions of the 1956 Act and s. 7 of the Act, has rejected the same (vide pages 1006 to 1009). We are in respectful agreement with the reasoning and conclusions of their Lordships in Maharani Raj Laxmi Kumari Devi's case : [1980]121ITR1002(All) , on this point also.

32. We have carefully read the ruling of the Supreme Court in Balakrishnan Menon's case : [1972]83ITR162(SC) . We are of the opinion that this ruling that dealt with the case of 'Sthanam property' in the State of Kerala and the true scope and ambit of s. 7(3) of the Act, does not really bear on the construction of s. 7(1) and (2) of the Act with which alone we are concerned in these cases and the same does not assist either the Revenue or the assessees. We are, however, of the view that the principles enunciated in Balakrishnan Menon's case : [1972]83ITR162(SC) , does not in any way detract on the agreeability of the share values of the lineal descendants for rate purposes under s. 34 of the Act.

33. In Rathnamala Amma's case : [1970]75ITR238(KAR) , this court did not consider and express any opinion on the true scope and ambit of s. 34 of the Act. We are of the view that the ratio in Rathnamala Amma's case : [1970]75ITR238(KAR) , does not really bear on any of the questions that arose before the Tribunal or are referred for our opinion. We, therefore, consider it unnecessary to closely examine this case and express on the correctness or otherwise of this ruling.

34. On the above discussion, it follows that our answers to the questions referred by the Tribunal in the two cases have to be in favour of the Revenue and against the assessees. We, accordingly, answer the questions.

T.R.C. No. 17 of 1974.Questions Answers1. Whether, on the facts and in On the facts and circumstancesthe circumstances of the case, of the case, the Tribunalit was for the Tribunal an error committed an error of law inof law to hold that the provisions holding that section 7 of theof section 7(1), Estate Duty Act, Act was not applicable.are not applicable to the case ?2. Whether, on the facts and in On the facts and circumstancesthe circumstances of the case,it of the case, the Tribunalwas for the Tribunal an error of committed an error of law inlaw to hold that the provisions holding that section 34(1)(c)of section 34(1)(c), Estate Duty of the Act had no application.Act, are not applicable to thecase ?T.R.C. No. 85 of 1975.Question AnswerWhether, on the facts and in On the facts and circumstancesthe circumstances of the case, of the case, the Tribunal wasthe the Tribunal was right in right in holding that sectionholding that the provisions of 34(1)(c) of the Act wassection 34(1)(c) of the Estate applicable.Duty Act were operative andapplicable to the facts of thecase ?

35. As noticed earlier, the questions raised were not free from doubt and the Tribunal had even expressed conflicting views. In these circumstances, we consider it proper to direct the parties to bear their own costs. We, therefore, direct the parties to bear their own costs.


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