1. This is a reference under Section 66(2), Income-tax Act, 1922, by the Commissioner of Income-tax in the United Provinces. The facts briefly are these. There is a family consisting of a father, two sons, the father's brother and the brother's sons. The father and his brother are Chokhey Lal and Murlidhar and there is a firm styled Chokhey Lal Murlidhar which deal in grain. Chokhey Lal has two adult sons, Kanhaiya Lal and Ram Ratan. Murlidhar's sons are minors. Kanhaiya Lal carries on a cloth shop and Ram Ratan carries on a grain business in another shop. The income-tax officer asked for a return of income from Chokhey Lal as the head of the family and he, for the first time, made a return in which the income from the business carried on by his sons was not entered. Chokhey Lal in reply to a question on the point put by the income-tax officer, said that his sons had been separate for several years and their business was separate. Chokhey Lal produced a document dated 27th March 1927 besides other evidence in support of separation. The income-tax officer was-not at all satisfied that there was a separation and he held that the income-tax should be paid over the aggregate income from the three shops. An appeal to the Assistant Commissioner was unsuccessful. Thereupon Chokhey Lal asked for a reference to this Court. The Commissioner has framed the following questions for answer by this Court:
(1) Does the deed of agreement, dated 27th March 1927, reflect clearly and unambiguously an intention on the part of the members of the undivided Hindu family to effect a separation among them?
(2) In all the circumstances of this case, was the income-tax officer, Bareilly, wrong in assessing the income from the cloth and grain business carried on by Lala Kanhaiya Lal and Lala Ram Ratan along with the income of the undivided Hindu family and the Assistant-Commissioner in taking the view he has taken?
2. As regards the document of 27th March 1927, the income-tax officer and the Commissioner, seem to have come to the conclusion that it was really fabricated for the purposes of avoiding payment of income-tax at a higher rate. That is the opinion which is entertained by the Commissioner of Income-tax and that is a finding of fact which is binding on us. If the document of 27th March 1927 be a purely fictitious transaction, no question of law as framed in question 1 arises. We have however considered the document of 27th March 1927. We agree with the Commissioner that it does not disclose any intention on the part of members of the joint Hindu family to separate. All that it talks of is the separate character of the three businesses carried on by some of the members of the family. This does not imply a disruption of joint family. That is our answer on question 1. On question 2 our answer is that the Income-tax Commissioner of Bareilly was right in assessing the income in the way he did.
3. Let a copy of this judgment be sent to the Income-tax Commissioner in reply to his statement of the case. We certify that the learned Government Advocate is entitled to a fee of Rs. 150. He will file the certificate within the usual period allowed.