SATISH CHANDRA C.J. - One Puttu Lal was assessed to income-tax as HUF. He was the karta of the HUF. He died on May 4, 1968. The ITO having come to know that some had escaped assessment in the assessment of the HUF for the year 1963-64, issued a notice to Chunni Lal, legal heir of Puttu Lal, deceased. This notice was served on Chunni Lal. Chunni Lal filed a return in the status of HUF signing the return as karta of the HUF. The ITO revised the assessment. The assessee went up in appeal, but failed. The assessee then approached the Tribunal. The Tribunal held that the notice was issued by the ITO from HUF file; that the notice was addressed to Chunni Lal as legal heir of Puttu Lal, deceased; and that Chunni Lal understood the notice to be in connection with the income of the HUF, which is evident from the fact that he filed the return as karta of the HUF in response to the aforesaid notice. The Tribunal was of the opinion that the notice was invalid. The service of a valid notice was a condition precedent for the acquisition of jurisdiction to revise an assessment under s. 148 of the I.T. Act. The Tribunal held that the notice was obviously addressed to the assessee as legal heir, which indicated that the proceedings were reopened to reassess the escaped income of the deceased, Puttu Lal, in his individual capacity. From this, it concluded that no valid notice under s. 148 of the Act was served on the assessee-HUF. The assessment order under s. 148 was cancelled. At the instance of the Commissioner, the Tribunal has referred the following question of law for our opinion:
'(1) Whether, on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, the assessee was rightly cancelled as bad and illegal ?'
From the findings it is clear that the ITO had before him the HUF file. He issued notice on that file. He addressed the notice to the person whom he brought on record as the karta of HUF. The karta had already died. The question was as to who was the successor karta. The ITO addressed the notice to Chunni Lal as legal heir of Puttu Lal, deceased. Puttu Lal was admittedly the karts of the HUF. His legal heir would be the successor karta. The ITO might have known that Chunni Lal was the successor karta and so he addressed the notice to him. From the Tribunals order, it appears that Chunni Lal not only filed the return of HUF, but he has also signed the return as the karta of the HUF. We are unable to share the opinion of the Tribunal that addressing of the notice to Chunni Lal as legal heir of Puttu Lal indicated that the proceedings were reopened to reassess the escaped income of the deceased, Puttu Lal, in his individual capacity. The Tribunal has not found that Puttu Lal had been assessed in his individual capacity. If the intention was to reopen the assessment of Puttu Lal, the ITO would have given the relationship of Chunni Lal to Puttu Lal in the notice. Chunni Lal was the son of Puttu Lal. In that case, the notice would have been addressed to Chunni Lal as the son of Puttu Lal, deceased. The only thing that it stated was 'Chunni Lal, legal heir of Puttu Lal, (deceased)'. Chunni Lals relationship to the HUF was the subject-matter of the notice. From the material on the record it is apparent that Puttu Lal had been assessed as HUF. In our opinion, the notice aforesaid did not suffer from any illegality.
We, therefore, answer the question in the negative, in favour of the department and against the assessee. As no one appeared on behalf of the assessee, there will be no order as to costs.