K.C. Agarwal, J.
1. This is an appeal under Section 269H of the I.T. Act against the judgment of the Appellate Tribunal passed under Section 269G.
2. The facts are these :--Property No. 96, Tagore Town, Allahabad, was transferred on 31st October, 1973, by Hansraj to K.K. Agrawal, son of Ram Prasad Agrawal, and Smt. Prem Kumari Agrawal, wife of Ram Prasad Agrawal. The apparent consideration shown in the sale deed was Rs. 43,500 for the portion transferred to K.K. Agrawal and Rs. 48,500 for the portion transferred to Smt. Prem Kumari Agrawal. After receipt of Form 37G and enquiry, the ITO initiated proceedings for acquisition on the ground that the apparent value of the property was much less than the real. Objections against the initiation of the proceedings were filed by both the transferees. On 8th September, 1975, the IAC, Acquisition Range, Lucknow, held that the apparent value of the property for which it had been sold to the two transferees was less than the real value. Accordingly, the same was liable to be acquired under Chap. XX-A of the I.T. Act, For coining to this finding, the IAC adopted the figure of the Departmental valuer, according to which the valuation was Rs. 1,78,500. This valuation had been arrived at on land and building method. Aggrieved by this order, two appeals were filed before the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal, Allahabad, being numbered as 20 and 21. These appeals were allowed on December 29, 1975. Being dissatisfied, the Commissioner has preferred these two connected appeals.
3. The learned counsel for the Department contended that the Tribunal was in error in holding that the apparent consideration for the transfer represented the fair market value of the property although the approved valuer appointed by the transferees themselves had estimated the fair market value of the property transferred at Rs. 1,29,000. The learned counsel urged that as the difference between the apparent value and the one adopted by the approved valuer was more than 25 per cent., the Tribunal's order was illegal.
4. True it is that the Departmental valuer, who had been appointed by the transferees, had found the value of the whole house at Rs. 1,29,000 but the question that arises for consideration is whether the Income-tax Tribunal has committed any error of law in ignoring that report and holding on the basis of examples that the apparent value was the fair market value. For discarding the report of the valuer, the Tribunal has given several reasons one of them being, that the valuer had committed an error in taking the mean of two methods, land and building and capitalisation. It has been found as a fact that the building in question was not tenanted. Accordingly, the annual value of the property in question could not be found. Not accepting the valuer's report does not appear to be illegal, requiring our interference in these appeals.
5. The opinion of the skilled witnesses or experts are admissible whenever the subject is one upon which the competence to form an opinion can only be acquired by a course of special study or experience. Such an opinion would, however, not be binding (on the court or Tribunal) before which it is filed or given. The court or Tribunal will be entitled to judge the same itself and if it finds that the same is not reliable, it will be free to do so. Experts give evidence and do not decide the issue.
6. For finding the fair market value, the Tribunal has considered the examples filed by the transferees and also the situation of the bungalow in dispute. It held after referring to the Departmental valuer that the locality in which the property was situated was at the fag end of the Tagore Town Extension Scheme and some of the houses were old and dilapidated. The area was under process of development and just opposite to this property across the road, there was high embankment for the railway track and the land was water-logged. The disputed property was found to be subject to similar disadvantages.
7. Apart from the above the Tribunal considered the evidence and found that the property could not have been acquired under Chap. XX-A.
8. After considering the entire facts and circumstances, we find that this appeal is concluded by findings of fact arrived at by the Tribunal. The report of the expert relied upon by the Department's learned counsel was only a piece of evidence. This evidence had been considered and discarded. The Tribunal had taken into account all the circumstances and the evidence brought on record and then recorded a finding that the house had not been purchased for the amount lesser than its real value. The question as to what is the value of the property is one of the circumstances to draw inference from the evidence and not a question of law. The High Court cannot examine the evidence itself and record a finding different from that given by the Tribunal. In recording this finding, no error of law has been committed. These two appeals are liable to be dismissed.
9. We, accordingly, dismiss the appeals with costs.