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Deepchand Daga Vs. Income-tax Officer, C-ward and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectDirect Taxation
CourtMadhya Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberMiscellaneous Petition No. 318 of 1965
Judge
Reported in[1970]77ITR661(MP); 1969MPLJ677
ActsIncome Tax Act, 1961 - Sections 139(2), 147, 148 and 149(1); Constitution of India - Article 226
AppellantDeepchand Daga
Respondentincome-tax Officer, C-ward and anr.
Appellant AdvocateY.S. Dharmadhikari, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateM. Adhikari, Adv.
Cases ReferredLalji Haridas v. Income
Excerpt:
.....notice under section 148, read with section 147, is not vitiated on account of the failure by the income-tax officer to specify under which of the two clauses, clause (a) or (b) of section 147, it was issued. 9. the learned counsel for the petitioner, lastly, contends that the notice of reassessment is barred by limitation, by reason of section 149(1)(b). in support of his contention, the learned counsel urges that this was a case falling under section 147(b) for the reason that there was no failure on the part of the hindu undivided family deepchand poolchand daga to file a return for the relevant assessment year, and relies upon the decision of the supreme court in calcutta discount co. income-tax officer the assessee had disclosed the primary facts, but the assessing authority had..........the following terms : ' notice under section 148 of the income tax act, 1961. no. 205-d c-ward, raipur. income-tax officer, dated the 18-6-1965, to shri deepchand phoolchand daga,raipur (h. u. f.) whereas i have reason to believe that your income chargeable to tax for the assessment year 1957-58 has escaped assessment within the meaning of section 147 of the income-tax act, 1961. i, therefore, propose to assess the income for the said assessment year and i hereby require you to deliver to me within 30 days from the date of service of this notice, a return in the prescribed form of your income assessable. this notice is being issued after obtaining the necessary satisfaction of the commissioner of income-tax, m. p., nagpur & bhandara, nagpur. seal of the income-tax officer,raipur.....
Judgment:

Sen, J.

1. By this petition under articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution, the petitioner, Deepchand Daga, applies for a writ in the nature of certiorari for quashing a notice dated 18th June, 1965, served by the Income-tax Officer, ' C'-Ward, Raipur, upon the Hindu undivided family 'Deepchand Phoolchand Daga, Raipur ', under the provisions of Section 148 of the Income-tax Act, 1961 (Act 43 of 1961), for a writ in the nature of prohibition to restrain the Income-tax Officer from proceeding with the threatened assessment, and for an appropriate writ, direction and order asking him to withdraw the said notice.

2. The facts leading to this petition may be shortly stated. On 19th September, 1956, the customs authorities seized 528 tolas, 112 grams of gold in the shape of ingots after it was brought to the National Refinery, by M/s. Poonamchand Gulabchand, Bombay, for purposes of remelting, acting on prior information that smuggled gold was being taken from Raipur for that purpose. The gold was sent to Bombay by M/s. Lalchand Santoshkumar, Raipur, for disposal. The carrier of the gold from Raipur was an employee of that firm who was asked to bring sickas in exchange. The Collector, Central Excise and Customs, Bombay, by his order dated 4th January, 1958, confiscated the gold, under Section 167(8) of the Sea Customs Act 1878, readwith Section 23A of the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1947, holding that the gold under seizure was of smuggled origin, and that it belonged to M/s. Lalchand Santoshkumar, Raipur. On appeal, the Central Board of Revenue, however, released the gold to that firm giving it a benefit of doubt. Thereafter, M/s. Lalchand Santoshkumar, Raipur, admittedly had the gold sold in Bombay.

3. During these proceedings, one Lalchand of M/s. Laichand Santoshkumar disclaimed ownership of the gold, saying that it was given to them by Deepchand Phoolchand Daga, Raipur, for disposal in Bombay. In the course of investigation, the petitioner claimed the gold to be his, asserting that it was with him since the year 1942-43 in the form of slabs, prepared by melting down old ornaments belonging to his mother and wife, and that he had handed it over to Lalchand on 16th September, 1956, for disposal as he stood in need of money to pay off his creditors and to perform his daughter's marriage. His claim, however, was negatived.

4. The Income-tax Officer, ' C '-Ward, Raipur, has now served notices under Section 148 of the Income-tax Act, 1961, on M/s. Lalchand Santoshkumar, Raipur, and on M/s. Deepchand Phoolchand Daga (H.U.F.), Raipur, for the purpose of determining the ownership of the gold and to bring the escaped income to tax in proper hands.

5. The impugned notice to the Hindu undivided family ' Deepchand Phooichand Daga ', is in the following terms :

' NOTICE UNDER SECTION 148 OF THE INCOME TAX ACT, 1961.

No. 205-D

C-WARD, RAIPUR.

Income-tax Officer,

Dated the 18-6-1965,

To

Shri Deepchand Phoolchand Daga,

Raipur (H. U. F.)

Whereas I have reason to believe that your income chargeable to tax for the assessment year 1957-58 has escaped assessment within the meaning of Section 147 of the Income-tax Act, 1961.

I, therefore, propose to assess the income for the said assessment year and I hereby require you to deliver to me within 30 days from the date of service of this notice, a return in the prescribed form of your income assessable. This notice is being issued after obtaining the necessary satisfaction of the Commissioner of Income-tax, M. P., Nagpur & Bhandara, Nagpur.

Seal of the Income-tax Officer,

Raipur Circle, Raipur.

Sd/--Illegible/

Income-tax Officer,

C-Ward, Raipur.'

6. The first submission by the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the petitioner is that the impugned notice served on M/s. Deepchand Phool-chand Daga (H.U.F.) is mala fide and issued with the ulterior purpose of coercing them to give evidence against M/s. Lalchand Santoshkumar. It is true that there is no specific denial of the allegation in paragraph 6 of the petition that the Commissioner, while according sanction for starting proceedings under Section 147 against Lalchand Santoshkumar, had asked the Income-tax Officer to issue a notice under Section 147 to the petitioner stating that ' if such notice was issued to the petitioner, he can be coerced to give evidence ' against M/s. Lalchand Santoshkumar, the notice cannot be held to be mala fide on that account. There is a denial in the return of this, and it is asserted that the real purpose of issuing the notices both to the petitioner and M/s Lalchand Santoshkumar was to ascertain the ownership of the gold with a view to bring the escaped income to tax in the proper hands. There is no manner of doubt that a large quantity of gold was tried to be disposed of during the accounting year. That circumstance would constitute sufficient reason for the issuance of these notices for the assessment year 1957-58, when the possession of such a large quantity of gold by the parties concerned was disproportionate to their disclosed sources of income. Apart from this, the petitioner himself had claimed before the customs authorities that the gold belonged to him. This assertion was reiterated by him in a statement recorded by the Income-tax Officer on 28th September, 1960. He again claimed the gold to be his in his letter dated 6th May, 1963, to the Income-tax Officer. In view of all this, the petitioner cannot be heard to say that there was no basis for the satisfaction of the Commissioner or no material on which the Income-tax Officer could act.

7. The learned counsel then contends that recording of his reasons by the Income-tax Officer for the issue of a notice is made a condition precedent under Section 148(2), under which the Income-tax Officer is ' bound to record his reasons ' in every case, before issuance of a notice under Sub-section (1), If such reasons were recorded, the counsel contends, the petitioner would have known whether action was contemplated under Section 147 (a) or (b), and this was a matter of vital importance inasmuch as there are different periods of limitation for cases falling under Section 147 (a) and (b). We cannot accept this contention for different reasons.

8. In the first place, there is no specific averment in the petition that no reasons have been recorded by the Income-tax Officer before initiating proceedings under Section 147. On the contrary, the petitioner has alleged in paragraph 6 of the petition that the Income-tax Officer had submitted a report to the Commissioner for sanction. It follows, by necessary impli-cation that the Income-tax Officer must have recorded the reasons beforestarting the proceedings. Without such reasons being recorded, the Commissioner would not have accorded his sanction to initiate any proceedings for an assessment under Section 147. Apart from this, it is not necessary or imperative that a notice under Section 147 of the Income-tax Act, 1961, must specify under which of the clauses, Clause (a) or (b), it is issued. The main notice to be issued in a case under Section 147, is the notice under Section 139(2), and Section 148 read with Section 147, merely authorises the issue of such a notice [see P. R. Mukherjee v. Commissioner of Income-tax, [1956] 30 I.T.R. 535 (Cal.)]. This view has now been reiterated by their Lordships of the Supreme Court in Kantamani Vetikatanarayana & Son v. First Addl. Income-tax Officer, [1967] 63 I.T.R. 638 (S.C.). It must, accordingly, be held that the notice under Section 148, read with Section 147, is not vitiated on account of the failure by the Income-tax Officer to specify under which of the two clauses, Clause (a) or (b) of Section 147, it was issued.

9. The learned counsel for the petitioner, lastly, contends that the notice of reassessment is barred by limitation, by reason of Section 149(1)(b). In support of his contention, the learned counsel urges that this was a case falling under Section 147(b) for the reason that there was no failure on the part of the Hindu undivided family Deepchand Poolchand Daga to file a return for the relevant assessment year, and relies upon the decision of the Supreme Court in Calcutta Discount Co. Ltd. v. Income-tax Officer, [1961] 41 I.T.R. 191, [1961] 2 S.C.R. 241. We are unable to accept the contention. The case appears to fall under Section 147(a), because there was no full and true disclosure of all the primary facts. In Calcutta Discount Co. Ltd. v. Income-tax Officer the assessee had disclosed the primary facts, but the assessing authority had failed to draw the reasonable inferences arising therefrom. Whether assessment proceedings initiated against a person is barred by limitation under Section 149(1)(b) of the Income-tax Act, 1961, can and ought to be raised by him before the Income-tax Officer; that is not a point which can be legitimately agitated in writ proceedings [see Lalji Haridas v. Income-tax Officer, [1961] 43 I.T.R. 387 (S.C.).]. We, therefore, decline to make any pronouncement on that question. Whether on information in his possession he should commence the proceedings under Section 147, must be decided by the Income-tax Officer and not by this court under article 226 of the Constitution [see Commissioner of Income-tax v. A. Raman & Co., [1968] 67 I.T.R. 11 (S.C.).].

10. The result is that the petition fails, and is dismissed with costs. Counsel fee Rs. 100, if certified.


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