1. This is an appeal by the assessee relating to the assessment year 1978-79. The assessee is an individual. For this year, return was filed declaring income of Rs. 9,490. The assessee derives income from salary.
He has claimed deduction of Rs. 5,000 under Section 80U of the Tncome-tax Act, 1961 ('the Act'). A certificate in support of the claim from the registered Doctor was also filed. The learned ITO was of the view that permanent physical disability of the assessee has no effect of reducing substantially his capacity to engage him in gainful employment or occupation. Consequently, he disallowed the claim under Section 80U.2. The learned AAC was also of the view that the claim under Section 80U is not allowable. According to him, the assessee is serving with the Oriental Fire & General Insurance Co. for a number of years. His career was almost fixed with the organisation and he was getting his benefits from the company without any restrictions. The learned AAC also pointed out that the assessee was promoted from Assistant to Senior Assistant recently. Thus, he was of the view that the claim was rightly disallowed.
3. Before the Tribunal on behalf of the assessee it was contended that the finding of the learned AAC is incorrect. The assessee suffers from a permanent physical disability which has the effect of reducing substantially his capacity to engage in a gainful employment or occupation. A certificate to this effect was also issued by a registered medical practitioner. Apart from it, the Board has issued a circular and, inter alia, the said circular provides that if a person suffers from bilateral paralysis of lower limb, which is in the nature of a permanent physical disability, he is entitled to claim deduction under Section 80U. The said circular is beneficial to the assessees and as such it is binding on the income-tax authorities. From the evidence on record, it is clear that the assessee is suffering from bilateral paralysis of lower limb and as a result of it, the assessee cannot be substantially engaged in a gainful employment or occupation. Thus, the learned AAC was not correct in disallowing the claim under Section 80U.4. The learned departmental representative supported the order of the AAC.5. I have heard the parties and perused the entire evidence on record.
In the present case, the assessee is having bilateral post-polio residual paralysis of lower limb since childhood. His total disability is about 45 per cent of the functional activity and as such his case comes under orthopaedically handicapped and entitles for income-tax deductions. A copy of the certificate is in the paper book. The authorities below did not dispute the genuineness of the said document.
Even before the Tribunal the learned departmental representative did not say regarding the genuineness of the said certificate. Under the circumstances, the certificate, as it is, shall be considered for deciding the controversy. Relief under the old section SOU, was granted by allowing to totally blind individuals a straight deduction of Rs. 2,000 in the computation of their taxable income. For claiming such relief, a certificate from a registered medical practitioner was required to be filed.
6. For and from the assessment year 1971-72, the newly substituted Section 80U provides for a deduction of Rs. 5,000 in the computation of the total income of a resident individual, who, as at the end of the previous year, is subject to or suffers from a permanent physical disability, which has the effect of reducing substantially his capacity to engage in a gainful employment or occupation, besides providing for such deduction to a totally blind resident individual as under the old Section 80U. In order to be eligible for abovementioned deduction of Rs. 5,000, the assessee will be required to furnish in respect of the first assessment year, for which the deduction was claimed, a certificate from a registered medical practitioner.
7. The assessee had filed such medical certificate. So, in view of Section 80U read with the certificate, it is proved that the assessee suffers from a permanent physical disability which has the effect of reducing substantially his capacity to engage in a gainful employment or occupation. The case of the assessee is also governed by the circular letter issued by the Board. Inter aha, the said circular letter issued by the Board provides that if a person suffers from bilateral paralysis of lower limb, it would be in the nature of permanent physical disability and the assessee will be entitled to relief under Section 80U.8. Looking to the aforesaid facts and the evidence on record, in my opinion, the assessee is entitled to claim deduction under Section 80U.The finding of the learned AAC to the contrary is not correct. The ITO is directed to allow relief to the assessee under Section 80U, as claimed.