1. The petition seeks the issue of a writ of mandamus directing the Income-tax Officer, Guntur, to consider the claim of the petitioner and give relief under section 25(4) of the Indian Income-tax Act.
2. The facts leading up to the petition may be briefly stated thus : The petitioner's father who carried on a tobacco business was an income tax assessee under the Income-tax Act, 1918, and for the assessment year 1948-49, he was assessed as an individual. There was a partition of the joint Hindu family consisting of the father and four sons on February 25, 1948, under a registration deed of partition. Thereunder the four sons became entitled to the business as a firm. The petitioner informed the Income-tax Officer of the factotum of the petition and the estimated total income of the business for the broken period January 1, 1948, to February 25, 1948, at Rs. 8, 050. By his letter dated June 22, 1948, the Income-tax Officer wrote to the petitioner that the family should file an estimate till the question of partition is disposed of and that if the assessee considers that there has been a partition, he may submit a nil return for the family in the enclosed form. Accordingly the petitioner filed a nil return on July 3, 1948. There is nothing however in the letter accompanying the return dated July 3, 1948, to indicate that consequent upon the discontinuance of the business there was also succession thereto by virtue of the partition. The petitioner and his brother as the representatives of their father did not also make any claim as required by section 25(4) until after the expiry of the period of one year prescribed by section 25(5). The Income-tax Officer, therefore rejected the claim subsequently made and it is that order rejecting it that is now challenged.The petitioner contends that as the Income-tax Officer was in possession of all the necessary information which entitled the Petitioner to make the claim and as he (the Officer) was bound by the circulars of the Central Board of Revenue to apprise the assessee of his rights, it must be deemed that he was bound to give the relief which the Petitioner now claims. I cannot however agree with this contention. Under section 25(4) of the Act, he is only entitled to make a claim. As pointed out in Meyyappa Chettiar v. Commissioner of Income-tax, Madras 'the assessee has to make a 'claim' before the Officer as it involves the Officer doing something, namely, an assessment of the income of the said period and adjustment of the tax paid on the income of the previous year with reference to the income so assessed and a refund of the excess tax, if any, already paid. If the Income-tax Officer has to take action in this manner for granting this relief, it stands to reason that a time limit should be imposed for a claim to be made in that behalf, as the task of making a proper assessment for the relevant period might become increasingly difficult with the lapse of time.' It is possible to conceive of cases where it may not be to the advantage of the assessee to make the claim. That is why he is given the option to make it or not. It is not alleged that the petitioner made a claim within the period of one year. Therefore, he did not exercise his option within the time limited by sub-section (5) of section 25 of the Act. Accordingly, his claim could not be recognised by the Officer and was rightly rejected.
3. The Petitioner is not entitled to the relief he asks for in this petition. The petition is dismissed with costs. Advocate's fee Rs. 100.