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M.P. Rais Vs. Controller of Estate Duty - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectDirect Taxation
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberEstate Duty Reference No. 31 of 1978
Judge
Reported in(1980)18CTR(All)287; [1980]125ITR638(All)
ActsEstate Duty Act, 1953
AppellantM.P. Rais
RespondentController of Estate Duty
Appellant AdvocateR.K. Agarwal, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateR.K. Gulati and ;A. Gupta, Advs.
Excerpt:
- - 22,000 was clearly indicated in the orders passed in the wealth-tax assessments. 8,000 but the accountable person had failed to show that the same had been disposed of by the deceased in her lifetime......in her lifetime. even if the burden was on the department to establish that the deceased had left jewellery valued at rs. 8,000 it had dischargad that burden by proving that in one of the last returns filed by the deceased under the w.t. act she had shown the value of the ornaments as rs. 8,000 and that there was no material on the record to show that she had disposed of that jewellery during her lifetime.7. learned counsel appearing for the accountable person urged that in the w.t. return filed for the year 1965-66, the accountable person had shown the value of the jewellery and ornaments belonging to the deceased as ' nil ' and that the said returns had been accepted by the wto. accordingly, while making the assessment under the e.d. act, the tribunal could not, while computing.....
Judgment:

H.N. Seth, J.

1. At the instance of the accountable person the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal, ' B ' Bench, Allahabad, has stated the case and has referred the following question for the opinion of this court :

' Whether, on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, the Tribunal was correct in including a sum of Rs. 8,000 representing the value of jewellery owned and possessed by the deceased in its estate under the Estate Duty Act, 1953 '

2. Srimati Kasturi Devi, who was an income-tax and wealth-tax payer, died on 22nd of May, 1964. She left her son, viz., M. P. Rais, as the accountable person. In her wealth-tax returns for and up to the assessment year 1963-64, she used to show jewellery valuded at Rs. 30,000 as part of her wealth. After her death the accountable person filed estate duty return showing the value of the jewellery left by Smt. Kasturi Devi as ' nil '.

3. The Asst. Controller observed that in the wealth-tax returns filed by her for the years 1961-62 to 1963-64, i.e., up to October 6, 1962, the deceased had shown the value of the jewellery owned by her as Rs. 30,000 but somehow in the wealth-tax returns for the period ending October 25, 1963, and May 22, 1964 (the dates on which Smt. Kasturi Devi died) thevalue of jewellery had been shown as Rs. 8,000 and ' nil '. As there was no evidence on record to show that the lady had left or had otherwise disposed of the ornaments, the Asst. Controller included Rs. 30,000 in computing the value of the estate left by her.

4. In the appeal, the Appellate Controller accepted the submission made on behalf of the accountable person. He held that whatever jewellery the deceased had, she purchased Gold Bonds which had been separately assessed. Relying upon a decision of the Mysore High Court in the case of Veerabhadrappa Chigateri v. CED : [1970]77ITR666(KAR) , he directed the deletion of a sum of Rs. 30,000 from the estate of the deceased.

5. In appeal by the department, the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal, as a result of subsequent rectification made by it, held that the value of ornaments to the extent of Rs. 8,000 was includible in the assets left by the deceased. In coming to this conclusion the Tribunal relied upon the fact that in the last wealth-tax and income-tax returns filed by the deceased, she had shown the value of the ornaments in her possession as Rs. 8,000 and that disposal of jewellery valued at Rs. 22,000 was clearly indicated in the orders passed in the wealth-tax assessments. There was no evidence to show that she had, in any way, disposed of that jewellery or ornaments to anybody prior to her death and that conversion of jewellery into Gold Bonds had been taken into account separately.

6. Learned counsel for the accountable person contended that as it had been shown that the deceased had purchased Gold Bonds, the entire value of the jewellery should have been excluded in computing the estate left by the deceased. We are unable to accept this submission. While determining the assets left by the deceased, the Tribunal noticed the fact that the deceased had purchased Gold Bonds and it separately accounted for the same in computing the estate left by the deceased. It pointed out that the deceased had jewellery of the value of Rs. 8,000 but the accountable person had failed to show that the same had been disposed of by the deceased in her lifetime. Even if the burden was on the department to establish that the deceased had left jewellery valued at Rs. 8,000 it had dischargad that burden by proving that in one of the last returns filed by the deceased under the W.T. Act she had shown the value of the ornaments as Rs. 8,000 and that there was no material on the record to show that she had disposed of that jewellery during her lifetime.

7. Learned counsel appearing for the accountable person urged that in the W.T. return filed for the year 1965-66, the accountable person had shown the value of the jewellery and ornaments belonging to the deceased as ' nil ' and that the said returns had been accepted by the WTO. Accordingly, while making the assessment under the E.D. Act, the Tribunal could not, while computing the value of the estate left by the deceased, take intoconsideration any value for the jewellery left by her. We do not find any merit in his submission. The conclusion arrived at by the WTO in the W,T. assessment on the basis of the return filed by the accountable person himself, could not preclude the Estate Duty Officer in arriving at his own conclusion in the matter of the E.D. assessment. Suffice it to say that there was material available on the record on the basis of which the Tribunal could have come to the conclusion that the value of the jewellery and ornaments left by the deceased, forming part of her estate, was Rs. 8,000. In the circumstances, we answer the/question referred to us in the affirmative and in favour of the department.

8. The Controller is entitled to costs which are assessed at Rs. 200.


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