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Commissioner of Wealth-tax Vs. Abdul Mazid Khan - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectDirect Taxation
CourtMadhya Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberMiscellaneous Civil Case No. 67 of 1980
Judge
Reported in(1983)35CTR(MP)316; [1984]147ITR53(MP)
ActsWealth Tax Act, 1957 - Sections 2, 18, 18(1), 19(1) and 19(3); Income Tax Act, 1961 - Sections 159
AppellantCommissioner of Wealth-tax
RespondentAbdul Mazid Khan
Appellant AdvocateB.K. Rawat, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateB.L. Nema, Adv.
Excerpt:
.....wto, in the course of any proceedings under the act, is satisfied that any person hitsconcealed the particulars of any assets or furnished inaccurate particulars of any assets or debts, he may, by order in writing, direct that 'such person' shall pay by way of penalty the amount ordered by the wto in accordance with the provisions of the section. in the absence of any provision like section 159 of the i......the assessment years 1968-69 to 1972-73, holding that no penalty could be legally imposed on the legal representative of the deceased assessee, abdul rashid khan ?'2. the facts, briefly stated, are that one abdul rashid khan was an assessee under the w.t. act. the assessments for the years 1968-69 to 1972-73 were completed on 16th january, 1975. the assessee had failed to include a house standing in the name of his son which, in the course of the assessment proceedings, was held to belong to the assessee. penalty proceedings were started against the assessee under section 18(1)(c) of the act on the same date when the assessments were completed, i.e., 16th january, 1975. the assessee died on 13th december, 1975. abdul mazid khan, the legal representative of the assessee, was substituted.....
Judgment:

G.P. Singh, C.J.

1. This is a reference under Section 27(1) of the W.T. Act, 1957. The question of law referred is as follows :

'Whether, on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, the Appellate Tribunal was right in law in cancelling the penalties levied under Section 18(1)(c) of the Wealth-tax Act, 1957, for the assessment years 1968-69 to 1972-73, holding that no penalty could be legally imposed on the legal representative of the deceased assessee, Abdul Rashid Khan ?'

2. The facts, briefly stated, are that one Abdul Rashid Khan was an assessee under the W.T. Act. The assessments for the years 1968-69 to 1972-73 were completed on 16th January, 1975. The assessee had failed to include a house standing in the name of his son which, in the course of the assessment proceedings, was held to belong to the assessee. Penalty proceedings were started against the assessee under Section 18(1)(c) of the Act on the same date when the assessments were completed, i.e., 16th January, 1975. The assessee died on 13th December, 1975. Abdul Mazid Khan, the legal representative of the assessee, was substituted in his place, and the penalty proceedings were completed on 31st January, 1977. A penalty of Rs. 20,000 was imposed for each year. In appeal, the AAC cancelled the penalty which order was maintained by the Tribunal in further appeal.

3. Section 18(1) in so far as is relevant provides that if the WTO, in the course of any proceedings under the Act, is satisfied that any person hitsconcealed the particulars of any assets or furnished inaccurate particulars of any assets or debts, he may, by order in writing, direct that 'such person' shall pay by way of penalty the amount ordered by the WTO in accordance with the provisions of the section. A reading of Section 18 shows that penalty is imposed on 'such person', which means the person who has concealed the particulars of assets or furnished inaccurate particulars of the same. Section 18 does not provide for continuation of penalty proceedings against the legal representatives of such person. We then come to Section 19, which reads as follows :

'19. (1) Where a person dies, his executor, administrator or other legal representative shall be liable to pay out of the estate of the deceased person, to the extent to which the estate is capable of meeting the charge, the wealth-tax assessed as payable by such person, or any sum, which would have been payable by him under this Act if he had not died.

(2) Where a person dies without having furnished a return under the provisions of Section 14 or after having furnished a return which the Wealth-tax Officer has reason to believe to be incorrect or incomplete, the Wealth-tax Officer may make an assessment of the net wealth of such person and determine the wealth-tax payable by the person on the basis of such assessment, and for this purpose may, by the issue of the appropriate notice which would have had to be served upon the deceased person if he had survived, require from the executor, administrator or other legal representative of the deceased person any accounts, documents or other evidence which might under the provisions of Section 16 have been required from the deceased person.

(3) The provisions of Sections 14, 16 and 17 shall apply to an executor, administrator or other legal representative as they apply to any person referred to in those sections.'

4. A legal representative is liable under Section 19(1) to pay out of the. estate of the deceased person, to the extent to which the estate is capable of meeting the charge, the wealth-tax assessed as payable by such person, or any sum, which would have been payable by him under the Act if he had not died. Section 19(1) deals with the liability of the legal representative inheriting the estate of the deceased who was liable for payment of wealth-tax. This section does not provide for continuation of penalty proceedings against the legal representative when the assessee dies before the proceedings are concluded. The material provision is Section 19(3) which makes applicable Sections 14, 15 and 17 to the executor, administrator or a legal representative of the assessee. There is, however, a significant omission about Section 16 and 18, We are not here concerned with Section 16. The omission of Section 18 from Section 19(3) shows that Section 18 cannot be made applicable to a legal representative. The expression 'assessee' is defined in Section 2(c). The definition, however, does not provide that the legal representative of the assessee would be deemed to be the assessee for all purposes under the Act. Reference in this connection may be made to Section 159 of the I.T. Act, 1961. Sub-section (3) of this section provides that the legal representative of the deceased, for the purposes of the Act, would be deemed to be an assessee. In the absence of any provision like Section 159 of the I.T. Act in the W.T. Act, it is not possible to hold that the penalty proceedings started against the assessee under Section 18 could be continued against his legal representative. The view that we have taken is supported by the decisions of the Andhra Pradesh, Allahabad and Madras High Courts: [see Smt. Yawarunnissa Begum v. WTO : [1975]100ITR645(AP) , Rameshwar Prasad v. CWT : [1980]124ITR77(All) and CWT v. Varadamjan : [1980]122ITR1014(Mad) ].

5. For the reasons given above, our answer to the question is that the Appellate Tribunal was right in law in cancelling the penalties. There will be no order as to costs of this reference.


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