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E.M. Chokkalingam Chettiar Vs. Agricultural Income-tax Officer - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectDirect Taxation
CourtKarnataka High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Petition No. 25284 of 1981
Judge
Reported in(1986)51CTR(Kar)120; [1986]161ITR216(KAR); [1986]161ITR216(Karn)
ActsKarnataka Agricultural Income Tax Act, 1957 - Sections 37(7)
AppellantE.M. Chokkalingam Chettiar
RespondentAgricultural Income-tax Officer
Appellant AdvocateJ.N.S. Prasad, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateS. Rajendra, Adv.
Excerpt:
- code of criminal procedure, 1973 [c.a. no. 2/1974]. section 482: [hulavadi g ramesh,j] compounding of offences under sections 498-a of i.p.c., and sections 3 & 4 of dowry prohibition act, 1961 - decree of divorce granted by the court of okilahama putting an end to the relationship of husband and wife -petitioners prayer for quashing the proceedings - exercise of inherent powers - held, when the marital tie is broken by virtue of the decree passed for dissolution of the marriage by the court of oklahama, the relationship that existed ceased to exist and invoking the provisions of section 498-a of i.p.c., does not arise. in view of amicable settlement between the parties in respect of dowry demand the offence under sections 3 and 4 of the dowry prohibition act also can be compounded..........constitution, the petitioner has challenged the order dated august 19, 1981, of the agricultural income-tax officer, madikeri ('the aito'), and the consequent notice of demand (annexure-c) issued on august 21, 1981. 2. for the assessment year 1975-76, relevant to the accounting period ending on march 31, 1975, the petitioner filed his return under the karnataka agricultural income-tax act, 1957 (karnataka act 22 of 1957) ('the act'), before the agricultural income-tax officer who on an examination of the same completed the assessment under the act on may 28, 1976. in the purported exercise of his powers under section 37 of the act, the agricultural income-tax officer issued a show-cause notice on february 1, 1978, proposing to rectify his previous assessment order on diverse grounds.....
Judgment:

K.S. Puttaswamy, J.

1. In this petition under Article 226 of the Constitution, the petitioner has challenged the order dated August 19, 1981, of the Agricultural Income-tax Officer, Madikeri ('the AITO'), and the consequent notice of demand (annexure-C) issued on August 21, 1981.

2. For the assessment year 1975-76, relevant to the accounting period ending on March 31, 1975, the petitioner filed his return under the Karnataka Agricultural Income-tax Act, 1957 (Karnataka Act 22 of 1957) ('the Act'), before the Agricultural Income-tax Officer who on an examination of the same completed the assessment under the Act on May 28, 1976. In the purported exercise of his powers under Section 37 of the Act, the Agricultural Income-tax Officer issued a show-cause notice on February 1, 1978, proposing to rectify his previous assessment order on diverse grounds which way objected to by the petitioner. Unfortunately, the Agricultural Income-tax Officer, without realising that there was a period of limitation stipulated in Sub-section (7) of Section 37 of the Act, made his order as late as on August 19, 1981, in which he found that there were circumstances warranting rectification and enhanced the liability of the petitioner for taxes by an extent Rs. 3,451.69 and issued a consequent notice of demand on August 21, 1981.

3. Among other grounds, the petitioner has urged that the rectification order made by the Agricultural Income-tax Officer was barred by time.

4. Sri J, N. S. Prasad, learned counsel for the petitioner, strenuously contends that the order made by the Agricultural Income-tax Officer on August 19, 1981, was barred by time and was without jurisdiction. In support of his contention, Sri Prasad strongly relies on a Division Bench ruling of this court in K. G. Subramanya v. Commr. of Agrl. I.T. : [1969]73ITR499(KAR) .

5. Sri S. Rajendra Babu, learned Government Advocate appearing for the respondent, in justifying the impugned order contends that if the proceedings were initiated within four years of the original assessment order, the same can be completed beyond that period also. In support of his contention, Shri Babu strongly relies on a ruling rendered by Venkataramiah J.(as his Lordship then was), in Sha Vajeshankar Vasudeva and Company v. Assistant Commissioner of Commercial Taxes (Assessment) .

6. From the very order made by the Agricultural Income-tax Officer, we find that the original assessment order was made on May 28, 1976, that a notice to rectify the same was issued on February 11, 1978, and the rectification order was made by him only on August 19, 1981. From these dates, it is clear that the rectification order was made by the Agricultural Income-tax Officer beyond four years from the date of the original assessment order made by him under the Act.

7. Section 37(7) of the Act which prescribes a period of limitation for rectification of the orders made under the Act reads thus :

'No amendment under this section shall be made after the expiry of four years from the date of the order sought to be amended.'

8. On the plain language of the section, it is clear that the authority empowered to rectify has to make his order within four years from the date of the original assessment order made under the Act. The plain and clear language of the section imperatively requires the authority to make his order within four years from the date of the original order. The section does not provide any scope for an argument on the initiation of proceedings within four years and their completion beyond that period as in the case of certain other statutes.

9. Sub-section (7) of Section 37 of the Act commences with negative terms and the same has, therefore, to be ordinarily construed as mandatory provision. Even otherwise, Sub-section (7) of Section 37 of the Act which prescribes a period of limitation must be construed strictly. When so construed, it is clear that a rectification order under Section 37 of the Act, if it is otherwise valid, must be made within a period of four years from the date of the original assessment order under the Act. In this view, the procedural requirements to be complied with, viz., issue of a show-cause notice and an opportunity of hearing, have really no relevance to decide the maximum period of limitation prescribed by Sub-section (7) of Section 37 of the Act.

10. On the above analysis, it follows that the order made by the Agricultural Income-tax Officer was beyond the period of four years and was without jurisdiction and illegal.

11. In Subramanya's case : [1969]73ITR499(KAR) , a Division Bench of this court was examining an analogous provision occurring in Section 35 of the Act as it then stood and ruled that an order of revision must be made within a period of four years from the date of the order. In my opinion, the principles enunciated in Subramanya's case : [1969]73ITR499(KAR) hold good in ascertaining the true scope and ambit of Sub-section (7) of Section 37 of the Act.

12. In Sha Vajeshankar Vasudeva and Co.'s case , this court was examining a rectification proceeding under Section 25A of the Karnataka Sales Tax Act of 1957 (the 'ST Act'). Section 25A of the Sales-tax Act is not in pari materia or analogous to Section 37(7) of the Act. In the very case relied on by Shri Babu, Venkataramiah J. (as his Lordship then was), referring to Subramanya's case : [1969]73ITR499(KAR) , distinguished the same as inapplicable to the language of Section 25A of the Sales Tax Act. In my view, Sha Vajeshankar Vasudeva and Company's case does not really assist Sri Babu to hold that the order is not barred by time.

13. On the above discusion, I hold that the rectification order made by the Agricultural Income-tax Officer is barred by time and is without jurisdiction and, therefore, the same is liable to be quashed. When once I hold that the rectification order is liable to be quashed, it necessarily follows that the consequential demand notice issued by the Agricultural Income-tax Officer is also liable to be quashed.

14. In the light of my above discussion, I quash the order made by the Agricultural Income-tax Officer and the consequential demand notice issued thereto.

15. Rule issued is made absolute. But, in the circumstances of the case, I direct the parties to bear their own costs.


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