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Buragadda Satyanarayana Murthi Vs. Income-tax Officer, B-ward - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectDirect Taxation
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Petition No. 5876 of 1970
Judge
Reported in[1974]96ITR57(AP)
ActsIncome Tax Act, 1961 - Sections 45, 47 and 52(1)
AppellantBuragadda Satyanarayana Murthi
Respondentincome-tax Officer, B-ward
Appellant AdvocateP. Venkatarama Reddi, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateP. Rama Rao, Adv.
Excerpt:
direct taxation - gift-tax - sections 45, 47 and 52 (1) of income tax act, 1961 - petition for quashing order of assessment and refund of capital gains tax - property transferred as gift - difference between market value and value of consideration treated as gift and gift-tax levied - said amount cannot be treated as 'capital gains' under act of 1961 - income-tax cannot be charged on amount which is liable to gift-tax - imposition of 'capital gains' tax contrary to provisions of act - held, difference of tax levied refundable to assessee. - - it is well-known that the income-tax act, the wealth-tax act, the gift-tax act and the expenditure-tax act form different heads of an integrated system of taxation and they are all administered by the officers of the income-tax department......a revised return of income on february 10, 1967, including therein the amount of rs. 10,958 as capital gains in respect of this transaction. this amount was arrived at by deducting the cost of the capital asset, namely, rs. 64,042 from the sale consideration of rs. 80,000 and making other permissible deductions. the income-tax officer, b-ward, tenali, issued a pre-assessment notice dated june 24, 1968, estimating the value of the building and site sold at rs. 1,30,586, and called upon the petitioner to file his objections, if any, against the proposed valuation. the petitioner submitted that the value of the building and the site would come to rs. 86,380 and as he had sold it for a lump sum of rs. 80,000 the variation is very small and as he was disposing of the property as a whole,.....
Judgment:

Kuppuswami, J.

1. The petitioner and his sons constituted a Hindu undivided family. There was a partition between the members of the family on April 19, 1952. In that partition, a site measuring about 2,000 square yards together with sheds thereon fell to the share of the petitioner. Subsequently, he constructed certain godowns and shops during the years 1961 to 1963. The total cost of the site together with structures and buildings came to Rs. 64,042; for the construction of the building the petitioner borrowed Rs. 50,502.49 from his divided sons and other amounts from others. For the discharge of the debts due to the sons, the petitioner sold the site and structures for a total consideration of Rs. 80,000 in favour of his sons under a sale deed dated April 15, 1963. For the assessment year 1964-65, the petitioner filed a revised return of income on February 10, 1967, including therein the amount of Rs. 10,958 as capital gains in respect of this transaction. This amount was arrived at by deducting the cost of the capital asset, namely, Rs. 64,042 from the sale consideration of Rs. 80,000 and making other permissible deductions. The Income-tax Officer, B-Ward, Tenali, issued a pre-assessment notice dated June 24, 1968, estimating the value of the building and site sold at Rs. 1,30,586, and called upon the petitioner to file his objections, if any, against the proposed valuation. The petitioner submitted that the value of the building and the site would come to Rs. 86,380 and as he had sold it for a lump sum of Rs. 80,000 the variation is very small and as he was disposing of the property as a whole, the value for which the property was sold was reasonable and fair priced. He stated that the proposed estimate of the building at Rs. 1,30,586 was uncalled for and unwarranted. The Income-tax Officer finalised the assessment of the petitioner for the year .1964-65 on the 28th September, 1968. While making the assessment he estimated the fair market value of the properties at Rs. 1,14,000 and fixed the capital gains at Rs. 44,960 after allowing initial exemption of Rs. 5,000 and levied a tax of Rs. 6,905 and super-tax on capital gains; In the assessment order he observed that as the purchasers are the assessee's sons he had reason to believe that the transfer of the property was effected with the object of avoidance of tax liability and, therefore, under Section 45 read with Section 52 of the Income-tax Act, the capital gains was fixed as the difference between Rs. 1,14,000 which was the fair market value and Rs. 64,042 which is the cost of the asset.

2. Subsequently, as there was mistake in the method of computation of other income, the Income-tax Officer by his order dated January 31, 1969, rectified the mistake and the tax on capital gains was fixed at Rs. 5,244.

3. The Income-tax Officer also levied a gift-tax of Rs. 2,750 on the difference between the fair market value and the sale proceeds, i.e.,Rs. 1,14,000 minus Rs. 80,000 by his order dated January 16, 1969. The sum of Rs. 2,750, being the gift-tax, was paid by the petitioner.

4. In February, 1970, the Income-tax Officer initiated proceedings under Section 155 of the Income-tax Act, and made a revised assessment by bringing to tax the petitioner's share income from another firm. In this order, the tax on capital gains was retained at Rs. 5,244.

5. The petitioner has filed this writ petition for the issue of a writ of certiorari quashing the order of assessment dated September 28, 1968, as amended on February 24, 1970, and for a direction to refund the amount of the capital gains tax collected from the petitioner for the assessment year 1964-65.

6. Sri Venkatarama Reddi, learned counsel for the petitioner, contended, firstly, that the petitioner did not derive any capital gain from the transaction in question and hence no tax under the head ' capital gains ' is leviable. Secondly, he contended that Section 52(1) of the Act under which the Income-tax Officer purported to act has no application to the facts of the case. Thirdly, he argued that even assuming that Section 52(1) of the Act was applicable it could be invoked only when the Income-tax Officer has reason to believe that the transfer was effected with the object of avoidance or reduction of the liability of the assessee under Section 45. In this case the Income-tax Officer did not state in his show-cause notice that he has reason to believe that the transfer was effected with the object of avoidance or reduction of the liability of the assessee and that in the order the finding to the above effect was not based upon any evidence, but on the mere ipse dixit of the officer and hence the proceedings under Section 52(1) were illegal and without jurisdiction. He also contended that the said proceedings were contrary to the principles of natural justice, as the petitioner was denied the opportunity to satisfy the authorities that the requirements of Section 52(1) were not fulfilled. He made a further submission which was not raised in that form in the affidavit in support of the writ petition. He submitted that the petitioner was assessed to gift-tax in respect of the transaction on the footing that the property was not transferred for adequate consideration and hence the amount by which the market value of the property exceeded the vaule of the consideration, namely, Rs. 1,14,000 minus Rs. 80,000 = Rs. 34,000, was deemed to be a gift. Hence it was not permissible to levy tax on capital gains on the same transaction. At any rate the capital gain will have to be confined only to the extent to which the transaction was not treated as a gift under the Gift-tax Act.

7. The learned counsel for the income-tax department besides replying to the contentions of the petitioner argued that this is not a fit case for exercising the jurisdiction under article 226 of the Constitution. He pointedout that there was a remedy by way of appeal against the order of assessment to the Appellate Assistant Commissioner and a further appeal to the Tribunal and the petitioner had not availed himself of that remedy. Further, the order was passed on September 28, 1968, and there was a delay of more than two years in filing this writ petition.

8. In order to appreciate the contentions of the petitioner it would be convenient to set out the relevant provisions of the Income-tax Act,

'Section 2(24). 'income' includes:--...

(vi) any capital gains chargeable under Section 45......' ' Section 14. Save as otherwise provided by this Act, all income shall, for the purpose of charge of income-tax and computation of total income, be classified under the following heads of income :--... E. Capital gain......'

Section 45(1):

' Any profits or gains arising from the transfer of a capital asset effect in the previous year shall, save as otherwise provided in Sections 53 and 54, be chargeable to income-tax under the head 'capital gains', and shall be deemed to be the income of the previous year in which the transfer took place. ' Section 47 :

'Nothing contained in Section 45 shall apply to the following transfers:--....

(iii) any transfer of a capital asset under a gift or will or an irrevocable trust.' Section 48 :

' The income chargeable under the head ' Capital gains ' shall be computed by deducting from the full value of the consideration received or accruing as a result of the transfer of the capital asset the following amounts, namely :--

(i) expenditure incurred wholly and exclusively in connection with such transfer ;

(ii) the cost of acquisition of the capital asset and the cost of any improvement thereto. '

Section 52(1) : ' Where the person who acquires a capital asset from an assessee is directly or indirectly connected with the assessee and the Income-tax Officer has reason to believe that the transfer was effected with the object of avoidance or reduction of the liability of the assessee under Section 45, the full value of the consideration for the transfer shall, with the previous approval of the Inspecting Assistant Commissioner, be taken to be the fair market value of the capital asset on the date of the transfer.'

9. It is clear from Section 45 read with Section 47(3) that no tax under the head of ' Capital gains ' can be levied in respect of a transfer under a gift. The expression ' gift' is not defined in the Income-tax Act, but I am of the view that the expression has to be understood in the context of the Gift-tax Act, The Gift-tax Act defines 'gift' as a transfer by one person to another of any existing movable or immovable property made voluntarily and without consideration in money or money's worth, and includes the transfer of any property deemed to be a gift under Section 4. Section 4 deals with transfers which are deemed to be gifts for the purpose of the Act. Section 4(a) states that where the property is transferred otherwise than for adequate consideration, the amount by which the market value of the property at the date of the transfer exceeds the value of the consideration shall be deemed to be a gift made by the transferor.

10. In this case the property which is of the market value of Rs. 1,14,000 was purported to be transferred to the sons for a sum of Rs. 80,000. In view of the above provisions of the Gift-tax Act the difference between the market value and the value of the consideration, namely, Rs. 34,000, would be deemed to be a gift in favour of the transferee. It was for this reason that gift-tax was levied on Rs. 34,000. Having treated the difference as a gift and levied gift-tax, I am of the view that it was not permissible for the authorities to levy income-tax under the head ' Capital gains ' in respect of the said amount. The same amount cannot at the same time be treated as a gift and as a transfer resulting in a ' Capital gain '. Reading the two Acts together the true position would be that the tax on capital gains would be leviable treating the transaction as a transfer for a sum of Rs. 80,000 on the difference between Rs. 80,000 and the cost of the capital asset after making permissible deductions and gift-tax would be leviable on the difference between Rs. 1,14,000 and Rs. 80,000,

11. It was contended that in the absence of definition of the 'gift' in the s Income-tax Act, it is not proper to rely upon the provisions of the Gift-tax Act and consider a deemed gift under the provisions of the Act as a gift for the purposes of Section 47(3) of the Income-tax Act. It was argued that under Section 122 of the Transfer of Property Act, a gift is a transfer of property without consideration and the transaction in question would not amount to a gift under that Act. Hence, Section 47(3) of the Income-tax Act would not have any application and the transaction would be liable to tax under the head ' Capital gains ' under Section 45 of the Act. I am not inclined to accept this contention According to this contention it would mean that the same transaction would result in capital gains tax being levied on the ground that profits or gains have arisen from the transfer and would also result in gift-tax being levied in view of Section 4 of the Gift-tax Act. A construction which would lead to such a result has to beavoided. It was also pointed out by Sri Rama Rao that even before the coming into force of the Gift-tax Act, the provision then existing, namely, Section 12B of the Indian Income-tax Act, 1922, also provided for the exemption of transfer of a capital asset under a gift from capital gains tax. On that date, at any rate the expression 'gift' occurring in Section 12B could have been interpreted only as meaning a gift under the ordinary law or under the Transfer of Property Act, This may be so, but after the Gift-tax Act was enacted which provided that certain transactions shall be deemed to be gifts for the purpose of the Act, there is no reason why the two Acts should not be read together. It is well-known that the Income-tax Act, the Wealth-tax Act, the Gift-tax Act and the Expenditure-tax Act form different heads of an integrated system of taxation and they are all administered by the officers of the income-tax department. The imposition of tax under one head has relevancy to the liability under other heads of tax. It is, therefore, reasonable to infer that the legislature did not intend to charge income-tax on an amount which is liable to gift-tax.

12. The above view was taken in a decision of the Kerala High Court in K. P. Varghese v. Income-tax Officer : [1970]77ITR719(Ker) . In that case the petitioner purchased a property in 1958 for Rs. 16,500 and sold it for the same consideration in 1965 to his 5 children and daughter-in-law. The difference between the fair market value and the actual consideration received by the petitioner was treated as gift under Section 4 of the Gift-tax Act and assessed under that Act. The Income-tax Officer, however, held that Section 52 of the Income-tax Act also applied to the case and that capital gains had accordingly to be computed on the basis of the fair market value of the asset. He fixed the fair market value of the property at Rs. 65,000 and assessed the difference of Rs. 48,500 as capital gains. It was held that the legislature did not intend to charge income-tax on an amount which is liable to gift-tax. In that case it was also held that Section 52 was intended to operate only in cases of under-statement of consideration, Section 52(1) deals with a case where the transfer is between persons directly connected and the Income-tax Officer has no reason to believe that it was effected with the object of avoiding or reducing the liability of the transfer under Section 45. Avoidance or reduction of such liability is possible only by understating the consideration. I do not wish, however, to rest my conclusion on the above reasoning. I prefer to rest my decision on the ground that in so far as the difference between Rs. 1,14,000 and Rs, 80,000 in this case is concerned, as it was treated as gift and was subjected to gift-tax, it cannot be treated as capital gain under the Income-tax Act and income-tax cannot be levied under that head in respect of that amount. The result would be that the transaction would be liable to capital gain treating it as a transfer other than a gift for a sum of Rs. 80,000. In regard to the difference between the market value and Rs. 80,000, that is, Rs. 34,000, which has been treated as a gift and gift-tax has been levied, no tax under the head ' Capital gains ' can be levied on that amount. It was argued that the proper remedy was to prefer an appeal against the order levying tax under the head ' Capital gains ' under the provisions of the Income-tax Act and this court ought not to exercise its jurisdiction to quash the order under article 226 of the Constitution. As in my view the imposition of capital gains tax to the extent indicated above is contrary to the provisions of the Act, I feel this is a proper case to entertain a writ petition under article 226 of the Constitution. It was also argued that there has been considerable delay in filing the writ petition. This has been explained by the petitioner by stating that the decision of the Kerala High Court which throws considerable light on the legal position was rendered on 3rd April, 1970, and was published only in Part 9, dated August 31, 1970, of the Income-tax Reports. The writ petition was filed on the 16th November, 1970. As stated in that judgment itself, the point was not covered by any judicial pronouncements. In the circumstances I cannot say that the delay is of such a nature as to deny relief to the petitioner.

13. In the result the tax on capital gain will have to be computed on the footing that the transfer is for Rs. 80,000 as stated in the deed and the cost of the asset as admitted by the authorities is Rs. 64,042. The difference between the tax so computed and the tax levied as per the order dated September 28, 1968, will be refundable to the assessee.

14. In this view it is unnecessary to consider the other contentions raised by the assessee as it is admitted by him that tax under the head ' Capital gains ' is leviable on the footing that the transfer is for Rs. 80,000 and the assessee himself has submitted a return to that effect.

15. The writ petition is allowed to the above extent. There will be no order as to costs.

16. Advocate's fee Rs. 100.


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