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Smt. Thakuri Devi, Vs. Commissioner of Wealth-tax - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectDirect Taxation
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWealth-tax Reference Nos. 1148, 1256 and 1257 of 1977
Judge
Reported in[1983]139ITR271(All)
ActsIncome Tax Act, 1961 - Sections 271(1); Wealth Tax Act, 1957 - Sections 18(1)
AppellantSmt. Thakuri Devi, ;smt. Shanti Devi and Smt. Parwati Devi
RespondentCommissioner of Wealth-tax
Appellant AdvocateS.K. Suri, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateR.K. Gulati and ;A. Gupta, Advs.
Excerpt:
- - according to the appellate tribunal, there was a statutory obligation on the assessees to file the returns by the required date and, in the event of their failure to do so, it was for them to explain the circumstances in which the delay was caused......and they should have filed their returns of total wealth by june 30, 1971. they, however, filed the returns on august 17, 1972. the wto, after completing the assessments, initiated penalty proceedings under section 18(1)(a) of the act. pursuant to that notice no reply was filed by these assessees and the wto imposed penalty in the sums of rs. 24,728, rs. 27,187 and rs. 28,690 on the three aforesaid assessees, respectively.3. the assessees appealed and made various submissions before the aac. the submissions were that the assessees were purdanashin ladies, that each of them held 1,000 shares of m/s. markandey prasad radha krishna private ltd. and, in the absence of the balance-sheet, the break-up value of the shares was not known to them. apart from that, each of them was a.....
Judgment:

R.R. Rastogi, J.

1. These three references arise out of the same set of facts and are inter-related. Hence, all of them are being disposed of by a common judgment.

2. The assessees are Smt. Thakuri Devi, Smt. Shanti Devi and Smt. Parwati Devi. For the assessment year 1971-72, a notice under Section 14(2) of the W.T. Act, 1957, was issued to these assessees and they should have filed their returns of total wealth by June 30, 1971. They, however, filed the returns on August 17, 1972. The WTO, after completing the assessments, initiated penalty proceedings under Section 18(1)(a) of the Act. Pursuant to that notice no reply was filed by these assessees and the WTO imposed penalty in the sums of Rs. 24,728, Rs. 27,187 and Rs. 28,690 on the three aforesaid assessees, respectively.

3. The assessees appealed and made various submissions before the AAC. The submissions were that the assessees were purdanashin ladies, that each of them held 1,000 shares of M/s. Markandey Prasad Radha Krishna Private Ltd. and, in the absence of the balance-sheet, the break-up value of the shares was not known to them. Apart from that, each of them was a partner in the partnership firm M/s. Kali Devi, Bardwan, West Bengal, and they were awaiting information regarding the value of their interest therein. It was also urged that the return forms were not available and, hence, the returns could not be filed in time. It was thus submitted that there had been no contumacious disregard of their legal obligations on their part. The AAC did not accept the last submission, but he accepted the contention that in the absence of information from the partnershipfirm, the returns could not be filed in time. He also took into consideration the fact that no penalty under Section 271(1)(a) of the I.T. Act, 1961, had been imposed on the firm, in which the assessees were partners. He, thus, accepted the assessee's contention that they had been prevented by reasonable cause from filing their returns and, hence, cancelled the penalty orders.

4. The Revenue took up the matter in appeals before the Appellate Tribunal and various submissions were made on its behalf. After hearing the parties, the Appellate Tribunal, agreeing with the Revenue, held that the AAC had not examined the case from a proper perspective and that there was nothing on the record to show the circumstances in which, penalties had not been imposed, for delay in filing the income-tax returns, on the firm. According to the Appellate Tribunal, there was a statutory obligation on the assessees to file the returns by the required date and, in the event of their failure to do so, it was for them to explain the circumstances in which the delay was caused. The Appellate Tribunal set aside the order of the AAC and directed him to re-examine the case from the view-point as to whether the assessees had been prevented by reason-able cause in filing the returns because of the absence of information from the firm, M/s. Kali Devi. The Appellate Tribunal passed a detailed order in the case of Smt. Thakuri Devi and, following the reasons given therein, disposed of the appeals in the other two cases.

5. Now, at the instance of the Revenue, the following question has been referred to this court for its opinion in each of these three cases :

'Whether, on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, the order of the Appellate Assistant Commissioner was rightly set aside stating that the assessee must explain its conduct as to why she could not file her return in time?'

6. After hearing counsel for the parties, we do not find any infirmity in the order of the Appellate Tribunal. Certain submissions had been made on behalf of the assessee before the AAC, who accepted some of them but without verifying them properly. It may be noted that no explanation whatsoever was given by the assessees before the WTO. Thus, there was still greater reason for the AAC to properly verify those submissions. The Appellate Tribunal was, therefore, right in remanding the case to the AAC for its decision in accordance with law.

7. Our answer to the question referred, therefore, is in the affirmative, in favour of the Revenue and against the assessee. The Revenue in entitled to its costs which we assess at Rs. 200, and the counsel's fee at the same figure ; one set.


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