1. The question referred for the opinion of this court by the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal is:
'Whether, on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, the Tribunal is correct in holding that the liability for payment of bonus accrued due on the dates on which the provision was made in the balance-sheet of the assessee-company for the three years under appeal irrespective of the fact that the same was actually paid in subsequent years ?'
2. The assessee, a limited company, made provision for payment of bonus in its account books in the amounts of Rs. 1,50,000, 2,80,000 and Rs. 3,25,000 during the calendar years 1959, I960 and 1961, which are the previous years relevant for the assessment years 1960-61, 1961-62 and 1962-63 respectively. In assessment proceedings for these assessment years, the Income-tax Officer rejected the claim of the assessee to a deduction of the amounts provided for payment of bonus. The Income-tax Officer allowed a deduction only of that amount which was actually paid by the assessee during each of the three years by way of bonus to the assessee's employees. As during the previous year, relevant to the assessment year 1960-61, the assessee had not actually paid any bonus to its employees, the Income-tax Officer did not allow any deduction at all on that account. During the previous year relevant to the assessment years 1961-62 and 1962-63 the assessee actually paid Rs. 1,57,387 and Rs. 2,68,067 respectively as bonus to its employees and those amounts alone were allowed by the Income-tax Officer in the assessments for those years. On appeal by the assessee, the Appellate Assistant Commissioner of Income-tax referred to the past practice followed by the income-tax department in allowing deductions in respect of bonus, which practice was based on the mercantile system of accounting adopted by the assessee, and held that the Income-tax Officer was not justified in considering the claim on the assumption that the cash basis of accounting should be followed. He found that in respect of the bonus relating to the previous year relevant to the assessment year 1960-61, the assessee had paid in the subsequent years a sum of Rs. 1,57,387 and in respect of the previous years relevant to the assessment years 1961-62 and 1962-63 the bonus actually paid in subsequentyears was Rs. 2,68,067 and Rs. 3,38,471. The Income-tax Officer, who appeared before the Appellate Assistant Commissioner, conceded that in the past the practice had been to allow as a deduction the entire amount of bonus due to be paid in the year to which it pertained irrespective of the fact that the bonus was actually disbursed in subsequent years. The appeals were allowed by the Appellate Assistant Commissioner. The Income-tax Officer then appealed to the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal. The Tribunal found that the provision in the accounts was made by the company upon a resolution of the board of directors for payment of bonus; that the board of directors had authority to declare bonus and it was not necessary for them to seek the approval of the shareholders in a general meeting, and it expressed the view :
'In our opinion the correct system should be to allow the bonus on the basis of the provisions made in the balance-sheet after verifying that the said provision is made on some regular method of calculation and if in subsequent years it is found that the entire amount so provided is not disbursed the balance of the undisbursed amount should be added back as income of the assessee.'
3. Holding that the Appellate Assistant Commissioner was right in allowing the bonus in the years in which it fell due, irrespective of the fact that it was actually paid in subsequent years, the Tribunal dismissed the appeal.
4. After hearing learned counsel for the parties, it seems to us that the Tribunal is right in the approach adopted by it. Upon the finding that the board of directors had authority to declare bonus, it is clear that the liability to pay bonus accrued on the date when the resolution was passed by the board and that, therefore, the entry showing the amount as a liability for the year was rightly made. The subsequent disbursement of the bonus makes no difference. The system of accounting adopted by the assessee was the mercantile system. On the basis of that system, liability accrued on the date when the obligation to pay arises and the obligation arose in the present case when the board of directors passed the resolution declaring bonus and the relevant entry was made in the account books providing for bonus.
5. Learned counsel for the Commissioner has referred us to Commissioner of Income-tax v. Swadeshi Cotton and Flour Mills P. Ltd.,  53 I.T.R. 134 ;  7 S.C.R. 810 (S.C.). , Commissioner of Income-tax v. Kalyanmal Mills Ltd.,  53 I.T.R. 573 (S.C.) and J. K. Woollen . v. Commissioner of Income-tax,  65 I.T.R. 237 (S.C.).Those cases relate to the determination of the date when the liability for payment of bonus accrues pursuant to an award made by a labour tribunal. That is not the case before us.In the present case, the liability accrued pursuant to a resolution of the board of directors.
6. In the circumstances, the question is answered in the affirmative and in favour of the assessee. The assessee is entitled to its costs which we assess at Rs. 200. Counsel's fee is assessed at the same figure.