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State of Karnataka (Through Deputy Commissioner of Agricultural Income-tax) Vs. B.G. Desai - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectDirect Taxation
CourtKarnataka High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revision Petition Nos. 1849 and 1850 of 1979
Judge
Reported in[1984]150ITR382(KAR); [1984]150ITR382(Karn)
ActsKarnataka Agriculture Income Tax Act, 1957 - Sections 19(4), 21 and 32
AppellantState of Karnataka (Through Deputy Commissioner of Agricultural Income-tax)
RespondentB.G. Desai
Appellant AdvocateS. Rajendra Babu, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateB.V. Katageri, Adv.
Excerpt:
.....against order passed under section 19(4) of the act. ito in such an event could make an assessment to the best of his judgment and determine the sum payable by the assessee on the basis of such assessment......view taken by the tribunal. 7. the question now to be considered is whether the respondent has a right of appeal against an order under s. 21 of the act. in order to appreciate the contention, it is necessary to refer to the relevant provisions of the act. 8. section 19 provides for assessment of income. section 19(4) provides for making assessment if any person fails to make a return under sub-s. (1) or (2) of s. 18 or fails to comply with all the terms of a notice issued under sub-s. (4) of s. 18 or under sub-s. (2) thereof. the agrl. ito in such an event could make an assessment to the best of his judgment and determine the sum payable by the assessee on the basis of such assessment. 9. section 21 provides the procedure for cancellation of assessment made under s. 19(4). 'section.....
Judgment:

Jagannatha Shetty, J.

1. Whether an order under s. 21 of the Karnataka Agricultural Income-tax Act, 1957 (the 'Act') is appealable or not is the short question raised for consideration in these revision petitions.

2. For the years 1969-70 and 1970-71, the Agricultural Income-tax Officer (AITO) concluded assessments under s. 19(4) of the Act in respect of the agricultural income of the respondent who did not respond to any of the notices issued.

3. The respondent-assesses moved the Agrl. ITO with an application under s. 21 of the Act with an affidavit and medical certificate for cancellation of the said assessment orders. In the affidavit in support of that application, he has stated that he was suffering from diabetes and blood pressure since a very long time and, therefore, could not attend the office punctuality nor able to comply with the terms of notices issued to him. The Agrl. ITO dismissed the application disbelieving the averments of the respondent with an observation that he had no mind to co-operate with the Department and he was given enough time to file return.

4. Consequent on the dismissal of the application under s. 21, the assessments made under s. 19(4) of the Act remain undisturbed.

5. Against the order of the Agrl. ITO dismissing the application under s. 21, the assessee preferred an appeal before the Deputy Commissioner under s. 32 of the Act. The Deputy Commissioner dismissed the appeal as not maintainable. But he succeeded in his further appeal before the Tribunal. The Tribunal held that the appeal against the order under s. 21 is maintainable. It gave the following reasons :

'.... The provisions of section 21 are such that the Agricultural Income-tax Officer shall cancel the assessment made under section 19(4) of the Act if any of the conditions stipulated under s. 21 are satisfied. Section 21 is something like an appeal provision against order passed under section 19(4) of the Act. Therefor, the legislature did not want to provide another avenue of redressal to be given and specifically excluded appeals against order under section 19(4) of the Act by introducing the proviso to section 32(1) of the Act. In case the Agricultural Income-tax Officer refuses to exercise his powers under section 21 of the Act judiciously, there was no way of redressal except to go in appeal provisions under s. 32 of the Act were wide enough to include an appeal against an order passed under section 21 of the Act.'

6. The State has challenged the correctness of the view taken by the Tribunal.

7. The question now to be considered is whether the respondent has a right of appeal against an order under s. 21 of the Act. In order to appreciate the contention, it is necessary to refer to the relevant provisions of the Act.

8. Section 19 provides for assessment of income. Section 19(4) provides for making assessment if any person fails to make a return under sub-s. (1) or (2) of s. 18 or fails to comply with all the terms of a notice issued under sub-s. (4) of s. 18 or under sub-s. (2) thereof. The Agrl. ITO in such an event could make an assessment to the best of his judgment and determine the sum payable by the assessee on the basis of such assessment.

9. Section 21 provides the procedure for cancellation of assessment made under s. 19(4).

'Section 21. Cancellation of assessment in certain cases. - Where an assessee within one month from the service of a notice of demand issued as hereinafter provided, satisfies the Agricultural Income-tax Officer that he was prevented by sufficient cause from making the turn required by section 18 or that he did not receive the notice issued under sub-section (2) or sub-section (4) of that section or sub-section (2) of section 19 or that he had not a reasonable opportunity to comply, or prevented by sufficient cause from complying with the terms of any such notice, the agricultural Income-tax Officer shall cancel the assessment and proceed to make a fresh assessment in accordance with the provision section 19.'

10. It is open to the assessee to move the Agrl. ITO within one month from the service of a notice of demand on the grounds specified under s. 21 for cancellation of the assessment made under s. 19(4). If the Agrl. ITO accepts the cause shown by the assessee, he shall cancel the assessment and proceed to make a fresh assessment in accordance with s. 19.

'Section 32. Appeal against assessment :- (1) Any assessee objecting to the amount of income assessed of tax determined or loss computed under section 19 or the amount of tax determined under section 19 or denying his liability to be assessed under this Act, or objecting to any order under any of the provisions of sections 22, 26, 29, 30 and 42 made by the Agricultural Income-tax Officer may appeal to the Deputy Commissioner against the assessment or order :

Provided that no appeal shall lie in respect of an assessment made under sub-section (4) of section 19.'

11. This section confers a right of appeal on any assessee who objects to the amount of income assessed under the Act. It also provides for an appeal against any order under any of the sections, viz., ss. 22. 26, 29, 30 and 42 made by the Agrl. ITO. It however, expressly bars an appeal against an assessment made under s. 19(4).

12. Mr. Katageri, learned causal for the respondent, urged that since the respondent is denying his liability to be assessed under the Act, he must be held to have a right of appeal under s. 32.

13. The Supreme Court in Cit v. Kanpur Coal Syndicate : [1964]53ITR225(SC) , while examining the scope of s. 30 of the Indian I T Act, 1922, observed that the expression 'denial of liability' is comprehensive enough to take in not only the total denial of liability but also the liability to tax under particular circumstances. It was held that, in either case, the denial is denial of liability to be assessed under the provisions of the Act.

14. If the respondent could challenge his liability to be assessed under the Act in the appeal against an order under s. 21, he must be held to have there right of appeal under s. 32. But in our opinion, he has no such right in that appeal. The jurisdiction of the appellate authority cannot be wider than that of the original authority. He could agitate in such an appeal only the correctness of the order under s. 21 refusing to cancel the assessment made under s. 19(4) and not the validity of the said assessment itself. He could only plead before the appellate authority that the causation by him for cancellation of the assessment was genuine and must be accepted. He could only show that he was prevented by sufficient cause from making the return or that he did not receive the notice, or that he had nor reasonable opportunity to comply with the terms of the notice issued by the Agrl. ITO. He could also show that he was prevented by sufficient cause from complying with the terms of any such notice. If he satisfies the Agrl. ITO. The denial of liability to be assessed under the Act cannot obviously be one of the questions to be raised or examined in the appeal against an order under s. 21 assuming that such an appeal is maintainable.

15. Mr. Katageri next urged that when the Agrl. ITO refuses to cancel the order of assessment made under s. 19(4), then that assessment would be a liability against the assessee and that liability can be avoided only by filing an appeal under s. 32. We could have accepted this contention but for the bar imposed by s. 32. If the application under s. 21 is rejected the assessment made under s. 19(4), no doubt remains undisturbed. But then, the assessee has no right to prefer an appeal against the assessment under s. 19(4). Section 32 expressly denies that right. That is the legislative intent. What has been expressly barred under s. 32 cannot be impliedly conferred by the cannon of construction.

16. The Tribunal, in our opinion, was, therefore, not justified in holding that the respondent has a right of appeal against an order under s. 21 of the Act.

17. In the result, these revision petitions are allowed and in reversal of the order of the Tribunal, the order of the Deputy Commissioner is restored.


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