MOOTHAM, C.J. - Two questions of law have been referred to this court by the Agricultural Income-tax Board. The questions arose in the course of two applications in revision before the Board and the reference has been made under section 24(1) of the U.P. Agricultural Income-tax Act. The circumstances in which the reference has been made can be stated very shortly.
The assessee was the Taluqdar of the Deara Estate in the district of Sultanpur, and in anticipation of the coming into force of the U.P. Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act, 1950, he sold in the assessment years 1356 and 1358 Fasli a number of groves and stray fruit bearing trees for sums amounting to Rs. 16,248-3-7 and Rs. 12,928-9-3 respectively. A dispute then arose between the assessee and the Agricultural Income-tax authorities as to whether agricultural income-tax was payable by the assessee on these two sums, and the Agricultural Income-tax Board has referred two questions to this court, namely :
'(1) Whether the price received on the sale of stray fruit bearing trees and grove trees is income ?
(2) Whether it is an agricultural income assessable under the U.P. Agricultural Income-tax Act ?'
The principal contention on behalf of the assessee in this court is that in the circumstances of this case the price received by the assessee on the sale of the trees and groves was not income at all; and we think that that contention is right. In the well known case of Commissioner of Income-tax, Bengal v. Shaw Wallace & Co., Sir George Lowndes delivering the judgment of the Privy Council said :
'Income, their Lordships think, in this Act' - that is the Indian Income-tax Act - 'connotes a periodical monetary return coming in with some sort of regularity, or expected regularity, from definite sources. The source is not necessarily one which is expected to be continuously productive, but it must be one whose object is the production of a definite return excluding anything in the nature of a mere windfall.'
This definition of the nature of income was cited with approval by the Supreme Court in Board of Agricultural Income-tax v. Sindhurani. Now it is not suggested in the present case that the assessee made a business of growing fruit trees for sale. The sale was made by the assessee because, he apprehended that the would be divested of his rights in the land on which the trees were growing - an apprehension which proved to be correct. The circumstances, in our opinion, show an absence of that regularity or expected regularity in the receipt of the sale proceeds of the trees which is an essential constituent of income for tax purposes. We, accordingly, answer the first question referred to us in negative, and in view of that answer the second question does not arise.
The assessee is entitled to his costs which we assess at Rs. 100 and we fix the fee of the learned standing counsel at the same amount.
Reference answered accordingly.