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Major Tikka Khushwant Singh Vs. Inspecting Assistant - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtIncome Tax Appellate Tribunal ITAT Chandigarh
Decided On
Reported in(1984)8ITD667(Chd.)
AppellantMajor Tikka Khushwant Singh
Respondentinspecting Assistant
1. this is an appeal directed against the order dated 27-3-1982 passed by the competent authority being the iac, made under section 269f(6) of ths income-tax act, 1961 ('the act'). the impugned order is in respect of an agricultural land measuring 69 kanals 16 marlas along with house building therein situated in village badrukhan, district sangrur. the aforesaid property belonged to huf of major tikka khushwant singh and the same was sold by him to swaraj spinning mills ltd., a public limited company, incorporated under the companies act, 1956, having its registered office at singla niwas, shahi samadhan, patiala. the property in question was sold vide three different registered sale deed nos. (i) 1653 on 29-10-1974; (n) 1663 on 31-10-1974; and (ii) 1719 on 11-11-1974. as per each sale.....
1. This is an appeal directed against the order dated 27-3-1982 passed by the competent authority being the IAC, made under Section 269F(6) of ths Income-tax Act, 1961 ('the Act'). The impugned order is in respect of an agricultural land measuring 69 kanals 16 marlas along with house building therein situated in village Badrukhan, District Sangrur. The aforesaid property belonged to HUF of Major Tikka Khushwant Singh and the same was sold by him to Swaraj Spinning Mills Ltd., a public limited company, incorporated under the Companies Act, 1956, having its registered office at Singla Niwas, Shahi Samadhan, Patiala. The property in question was sold vide three different registered sale deed Nos. (i) 1653 on 29-10-1974; (n) 1663 on 31-10-1974; and (ii) 1719 on 11-11-1974. As per each sale deed, one third share in the property in question was sold for a sum of Rs. 49,000 each. In other words, the entire property was sold for a total sum of Rs. 1,47,000. The impugned order shows that the competent authority received information in Form No. 37G received from the Sub-Registrar, Sangrur, considering total consideration of Rs. 1,47,000 for the property as a whole splitted in three sales of Rs. 49,000 each. The competent authority considered the same to be understatement of consideration and first of all made a reference to the Agricultural WTO, Sangrur, vide his office letter No.3366, dated 21-11-1974 asking for report about the fair market value of the property as on the date of transfer. The Agricultural WTO got the enquiries made from his Inspector and sent a report on 7-12-1974 as per which the Inspector of Agricultural WTO estimated the fair market value of the property in question at Rs. 2,75,000 comprised of the following :about 8,000 sq. ft. at the rate of Rs. 15 per sq ft.

1,20,000Electricity fittings, etc.

5,000Servants' quarters and garage 30,000Boundary walls 20,000Value of land 1,00,000Total 2. The competent authority also made a reference to the departmental valuation cell under Section 269L of the Act, who worked out the depreciated value of the property at a sum of Rs. 3,41,200. With that the competent authority, further valuing the land at a sum of Rs. 85,000 considered the fair market value of the property in question at a sum of Rs. 4,26,200 (Rs. 3,41,000+Rs. 85,000) and initiated proceedings under Section 269C of the Act, recording the following reasons : From the statement furnished by the Sub-Registrar, Sangrur, under the provisions of Section 269D of the Income-tax Act, 1961, it is learnt that a property consisting of agricultural lands with building was transferred by Major Tikka Khushwant Singh to Swaraj Spinning Mills Ltd. through Shri Suraj Bhan, Director, vide ihree instruments of transfer, as detailed below :Sl.No. Registration Month of transfer Apparent consideration Rs. The valuation unit, Ambala, was asked to determine the fair market value of the building constituting a part of the sale. In his report dated 28-2-1975, he has reported that the building consists of palatial house having two floors with numerous rooms, varandah, out-houses, garages, etc. He has determined the depreciated value of the building at Rs. 3,41,200. As far as the land is concerned being agricultural land, the Agricultural Wealth-tax Officer was asked to determine its fair market value. He has reported that the following sale transactions have been taken into account while determining the fair market value :Sl.No. Name of the transferor Transferee Area of land K M1.

Mohana Ram Krishna Ram Nachhattar Singh 27 11 Bachittar Singh2.

Hari Singh Harnek Singh 1 12 Baldev SinghSale deed Amount Price per acre Rs. Rs.1152/2-7-1974 32,000 9,2001654/31-10-1974 2,500 12,500 The lands referred to in the comparable cases are being used for agricultural purposes whereas the land under consideration is situated closer to the town and has been purchased for commercial purposes. In the circumstances, it would be fair to estimate its value at Rs. 12,000 per acre. Thus, the value of the land would not be less than Rs. 85,000 for 70 kanals.

In the circumstances, the fair market value of property would not be less than Rs. 4,26,200 as against Rs. 1,47,000 shown in the three instruments of transfer.

2. I have, therefore, reasons to believe that this is a fit case for initiating acquisition proceedings under the provisions of Chapter XX-A of the Act, since it fulfils the conditions laid down in Section 269C(1) read with Section 269C(2) of the Act.

3. In the course of acquisition proceedings, compliance of statutory requirements made by competent authority datewise is available in para 6 of the order of the competent authority. The transferor came forward with a report of approved valuer, Shri J. R. Tandon, and gave his explanation vide several letters, as recorded by the competent authority in para 6 of his order. The transferee also came forward with his own justification relying on the valuation of the said property made by the official cell in the wealth-tax proceedings of HUF of Major Tikka Khushwant Singh in the assessment years 1968-69 and 1971-72, so much so, that the transferee offered acquisition of the property mentioning that the revenue is welcome to acquire the property provided the transferee has paid all the legal dues under law within three months. The matter was sent back by the competent authority to the official cell twice again, in which the official valuer was directed to take into consideration the contentions of the assessee and report of his approved valuer who had assigned the valuation of the said property at a sum Rs. 1,40,000. The official valuer further on 19-11-1977 and 11-1-1978 valued the property in question at Rs. 2,64,800 and Rs. 2,54,550. In both these valuations, the official valuer valued the land and tube-well at Rs. 1,74,500 and Rs. 5,000 respectively. But he reduced the valuation of the built-up property to Rs. 85,300, as per his valuation report dated 19-11-1977 and Rs. 75,050 as per his subsequent report dated 21-1-1978. After discussing all the contentions of the assessee, legal and factual, the competent authority passed the impugned acquisition order adopting the value of the property at Rs. 5,20,700 comprising of the following : While adopting the above value, the competent authority gave his own reasons for relying on the comparative sales of land relied upon by the official valuer while giving subsequent reports and giving his own reasons for ignoring those relied upon by the assessee.

4. It is this action of the competent authority which is disputed by the assessee before us. The learned counsel for the assessee, Shri O.P.Maghan, attacked the order on each aspect of the case, his grounds running over 20, in scores and covering five pages, which can be summarised to say that the competent authority had no jurisdiction, the order is illegal, ab initio void, mandatory provisions of law have not been complied with, competent authority had no reason or material to constitute the basis, legal and proper notices were not issued on the HUF assessee and other members of the same as interested persons, proceedings were time barred, based on suspicion, beside challenging the valuation on merit. He vehemently argued that it is the HUF who is the seller. Three deeds are registered in respect ofsa me property and acquisition has been made in a consolidated order. He submitted that HUF comprised of Major Tikka Khushwant Singh, Rani Gunwant Kaur, Kaka Bharatinder Singh and Kaka Devinder Singh. For the proposition that notices should have been served on HUF, he relied on CIT v. K.Adinarayana Murty [1967] 65 ITR 607 (SC). He submitted that notice was only issued in time but not served which, according to him, is apparent by going through para 5 of the impugned order. He submitted that every time the matter was sent to the official cell, different valuation was assigned. He drew our attention to page 46 of the assessee's compilation as per which most comparative sales were ignored. He submitted that the building in question was getting Rs. 500 per month as rent and it was with the Food Corporation of India. He drew our attention to page 58 of the comparative sales. He submitted that it is not the date of issue of notice but the service which matters in the acquisition proceedings for compliance of mandatory provisions. He drew our attention to page 50 as per which land in question was under the acquisition proceedings under the Land Ceiling Act. He also drew our attention to pages 6 to 11 in which different explanations were submitted by him before the competent authority. To summarise, he said that there is no service on HUF, the competent authority had no reason to believe but only reason to suspect. He further submitted that there was no mental exercise done by the competent authority so much so that he ignored even the wealth-tax and income-tax records of the assessee and, at last, he submitted that fair market value of the property in question was on lower side than total consideration for which it was sold.5. The learned departmental representative, Shri R.K. Bali, on the other hand, relied on the order of the competent authority and submitted that as per Form No. 37, Major Tikka Khushwant Singh is absolute owner of the property in question. There is no mention in the preamble of the said deeds that the property in question was sold on behalf of the HUF. He specifically drew our attention to para 21 of the order as per which the competent authority had taken into consideration the income-tax and wealth-tax assessments both as individual and as HUF. He relied on Section 282(2) of the Act and submitted that even if it was sale by HUF, service on any member was sufficient compliance of the mandatory provision. Regarding reasons, he submitted that sufficiency cannot be challenged. It is only existence which can be challenged and for that he relied on ITO v. Lakhmani Mewal Das [1976] 103 ITR 437 (SC). Regarding service of notice in the case of HUF, he also relied on Lakshminarain Bhadani v. CIT [1951] 20 ITR 594 (SC). He further submitted that undoubtedly there had been more than one report from the official valuer but all of them have been considered and it was after judicious application of mind that the competent authority relied on the portions of the report which ought to have been relied upon.

6. After taking into consideration the rival submissions and carefully going through the facts on record, we hereby cancel the order of the competent authority made under Section 269F. The law relating to acquisition of immovable properties is contained in Chapter XX-A of the Act. Chapter XXA came on the statute book by way of insertion of Section 4 of the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Act, 1972, with effect from 15-11-1972. The heading of the Chapter is "Acquisition of immovable properties in certain cases of transfer to counteract evasion of tax".

This Chapter consists of 19 Sections only running from Section 269A to Section 269S of the Act. Section 269A deals with definitions and Section 269B provides for appointment of competent authority. Section 269C deals with immovable properties in respect of which proceedings for acquisition may be taken. Proceedings can be initiated under Section 269C only if the competent authority has reasons, which are to be recorded, to believe that : (i) the property concerned which is sought to be transferred has a fair market value exceeding Rs. 25,000; (ii) it has been transferred for an apparent consideration which is less than the fair market value of the property by 15 per cent or more; and (iii) the consideration has not been truly stated in the instrument of transfer with the object of facilitating the reduction or evasion of the liability of the transferor to pay tax under the Act or with the object of facilitating the concealment of any income or assets which ought to be disclosed by the transferee for the purposes of the Act or the Wealth-tax Act.

7. This Bench of the Tribunal had held the view that having regard to the purpose underlying the powers vested in the competent authority under Section 269C(1), the conditions precedent for exercise of such powers and the presumption to be raised in connection therewith in respect of untrue statement of consideration as well as ulterior object of concealment of income or tax evasion prescribed under Section 269C(2) read with the deeming fiction provided in Section 269J(4) laying down that the amount of difference in compensation payable for such acquired property and its fair market value will be treated as penalty realised by the Central Government and the transferee will not be exposed for further penalty under the Act or the Wealth-tax Act.

There could be no room for argument that the nature of the powers vested in the competent authority are penal in character and the proceedings in respect thereto are quasi-criminal. The nature of Section 269C shows that ths conditions laid down thereunder are also mandatory. The findings under Section 269C(2) are required to be arrived at independent of the findings under Section 269C(1). The requirements under Sub-section (2) exclude and are independent of those under Sub-section (1) of Section 269C.8. The non-fulfilment of conditions under Section 269C is fatal to the acquisition proceedings-- Tube Mill (India) (P.) Ltd. v. IAC [1980] 122 ITR 72 (Cal.). The question with regard to the fair market value is a question of fact which has to be decided on the facts brought on record--U.S. Awasthi v. IAC [1977] 107 ITR 796, 800 (All). The burden to prove and establish that the apparent consideration adopted in the sale deed falls short of the fair market value by more than 15 per cent is undoubtedly on the revenue---Joseph Vallooran v. CIT [1977] 108 ITR 544, 549 (Ori.) and CIT v. Sumatilal Chhotalal Shah [1980] 124 ITR 862 (Guj.).

9. The price which an immovable property may fetch, if sold in the open market, could be the price that a prudent purchaser would be willing to pay necessarily taking into consideration the extent and the quality of title as well as all the factors which tend to push up the value or depress it. In ascertaining the price which a willing, reasonable and prudent purchaser will pay for the property, all factors having any depressing or appreciating effect on the value of the property have to be taken into account. If the consideration germane for such ascertainment have not been taken into account or if irrelevant considerations have entered the enquiry, the finding becomes vitiated in law.

It is necessary for the competent authority to enquire in respect of the extent of share passed on by the transferor to the transferee.

If this enquiry is not made, then it will be difficult for the competent authority to acquire the property. [Emphasis added]--Smt.

Lalita Todi v. CIT [1980] 123 ITR 40 (Pat.).

10. The determination of the fair market value should not be arbitrary or capricious. The burden of proof about the fair market value of the properties in proceedings for the acquisition of property under Chapter XX-A is on the revenue. It has to be established by the revenue, before it decides to acquire an immovable property under Section 269F, that the apparent consideration of its transfer was less by the prescribed margin than its fair market value and it is only then that the presumption arises about the tax evasion or concealment of income. The onus would shift to the transferor or transferee or any other interested person under Section 269E(3) of the Act only when the presumption as prescribed under Section 269E(2) arises in Sumatilal Chhotalal Shah's case (supra).

11. Section 269D has a title note 'Preliminary notice'. This in fact deals with the initiation of acquisition proceedings.

In our considered opinion, initiation of proceedings includes the following steps: (i) issuance of a notice to that effect and publishing it in the Official Gazette; (ii) serving such notice on the transferor, transferee, person or persons in occupation of the property and every other person whom the competent authority knows to be interested in the property; (iii) affixing a copy of such notice to a conspicuous place in the office of the competent authority; (iv) affixing a copy of such notice to a conspicuous part of the property concerned so that the matter may be publicly known in the locality; and (v) making known, i.e., making known substance of such notice by proclamation of the language of the district by beat of drum or other customary mode in the locality.

Unless all the above-noted requirements are met, Section 269C cannot be said to have been complied with. It is to be remembered that the purpose behind the requirement of Section 269C is that al 1 interested persons should know that the property is being acquired and should be put on a notice so as to prefer any objection under Section 269E. It is equally important that such persons by such means of communication should be able to question the jurisdiction of the competent authority, if necessary.

12. If the initiation is taken as , final, as contended by the revenue, with only notification in the Official Gazette, then it must be presumed that every person who has interest in any immovable property worth more than Rs. 25,000 must keep himself informed of at all times of publication of all notices in the Gazette in terms of Section 269D.Unless he keeps track of such notices, he may lose his right of questioning the competent authority regarding his competence to initiate the proceedings and his jurisdiction in a given case. This, to our mind, is a preposterous presumption in a type of the proceedings which are quasi-criminal in character. Therefore, this contention has to be rejected. In fact, the Legislature in its wisdom has provided under Section 269D itself that after recording of reasons, the competent authority has to cover various stages and various requirements before the initiation of proceedings can be said to have been completed. The provisions of Section 269D(2) would become otiose if the initiation is considered as complete with the notice published in the Official Gazette under Section 269D (1). Since the redundancy cannot be attributed to the Legislature, we are not prepared to make a presumption that Sub-section (2) of Section 269D was brought on the statute book for no purpose.

13. Section 269B(3) lays down that no person shall be entitled to call in question the jurisdiction of the competent authority in respect of any immovable property after the expiry of thirty days from the date on which such competent authority initiates proceedings under Section 269D for the acquisition of a particular property. The period of 30 days is to be counted from the date of initiation of proceedings under Section 269D as a whole and not under Section 269D(1) alone. If the publication of notice in the Gazette without personal service which is mandatory under Section 269D(2) is to be taken as proper initiation of acquisition proceedings, the very purpose of serving individual notice is brought to nought and Section 269(2) is rendered otiose. As we have stated earlier, such a situation cannot be attributed as having been envisaged by Legislature because there is no place for redundancy in a statute.

14. We are of the considered opinion that in every appeal against the order of acquisition, we have to see whether these requirements of law have been strictly complied with by the competent authority. This is so because non-compliance of even one of the mandatory provisions as mentioned in Sections 269C and 269D may have the effect of rendering the whole proceedings as bad in law. In such proceedings, one has to remember that the rights of various parties interested in the property such as the transferor, the transferee and other interested persons may be different and may even be conflicting. In such cases, the rights of the transferee and the person in possession of the property such as a tenant in possession may be in conflict. That is why under Chapter XX-A right of appeal has been provided to any interested person in property against the order of the competent authority. Hence, it is very clear that any person interested in the property or claiming interest in the property have to be served with statutory notice so that he can, in order to protect his interest, challenge the acquisition proceedings.

These mandatory provisions of law cannot by any stretch of imagination even be called either marginal obscurities or procedural requirements because they in their very nature effect the vital and substantial interests of the parties concerned.

15. This is more so having regard to the nature of the powers under Chapter XX-A, which is penal and also having regard to the nature of the proceedings, which are quasi-criminal, the competent authority being a quasi-criminal authority. In an enquiry under this Chapter, the principles of natural justice must be followed. In an enquiry under Chapter XX-A, the transferor and/or the transferee as well as the occupant and any other known interested person should be told the nature of the allegations against them including the material collected till that stage by the competent authority. Copies of the statements recorded and those of the documents collected by the competent authority on which he intends to rely, should be furnished. The person interested or affected should be afforded an opportunity to state his case and to correct or controvert the material sought to be relied upon. The competent authority has to act fairly at all stages and if a request is made for summoning witnesses or for leading any evidence or for cross-examining any witness, the competent authority cannot object that application or prayer on the ground that the rules of evidence are not binding on him. If on the material on record before the competent authority no other evidence in respect of comparable sale instances is available, the competent authority or the Tribunal cannot brush aside or refuse to consider the evidence of the sales which may be, in a given case, remote in point of time from the date of initiation of the acquisition proceedings in Sumatilal Chhotalal Shah's case (supra).

16. Now when we come to examine the case before us in the light of above position of law, it is very clear that the competent authority merely relied on the report of the Valuation Officer of the department for all intents and purposes to acquire the property. From a clear reading of the impugned order, it becomes clear that the competent authority merely used the valuation report as bulwark against any argument put forth by two of the transferees who received the notices under Section 269D. The competent authority did not make any enquiry of his own to bring on record any evidence that could justify such a drastic step as acquisition of a lawfully transferred property and, if at all it did so in the form of Inspector's report, it does not find place in reasons recorded by the competent authority. On this account alone, the whole order is vitiated and is bad in law because no independent enquiry has been made and the result of such an enquiry has not been put to the parties concerned and then made a reason for initiation of proceedings. We have to remember that the onus is on the revenue to prove that the apparent consideration is not the real consideration. This onus can be discharged, as we have pointed out above only by bringing on record evidence to show that the apparent consideration was not the real consideration. A mere report of the Valuation Officer will, in our opinion, not give a justification for acquisition of property without any further enquiry made by the competent authority for his judicial satisfaction in penal and quasi-criminal proceedings. In this case whenever the transferor or the transferee wrote to the competent authority, he merely referred to the valuation report and rejected their contentions. In our opinion, this does not give him jurisdiction to acquire the property in the manner he did and his order is ab initio void.

17. However, the order of the competent authority is not bad in law only on the above ground. As we have pointed out above that the initiation of the acquisition proceedings is complete when five steps, described in para 11 above, are taken by the competent authority.

However, the competent authority has not mentioned in the impugned order anywhere that these five steps were complied with. In fact, the e is no service on the transferor as karta of the HUF to whom the property belonged and on whose behalf he sold. The sale deeds on doubt do not contain fact of sale by HUF but, if it is read as a whole, it is apparent. The revenue has contended that the despatch of notice by a registered post to Major Tikka Khushwant Singh should entitle the revenue to raise a presumption in its favour of service of notice on the HUF, though it was never served within the stipulated time, as it came back with the remarks 'transferor left without leaving new address' and subseqently served on 30-7-1977, which is after the period of nine months. We are afraid, this is too simpliciter a view of proposition propounded by the revenue. It may be true that when a registered notice is sent and it is refused by the addressee, there may be presumption of service but in a case where addressee is not located and in the face of the postal authorities' remark that he has left without address, this presumption cannot be applied blindly. In the case before us, we have pointed out that the proceedings are penal in character and quasi-criminal, as held by the Gujarat High Court in the case of Sumatilal Chhotalal Shah (supra). In such proceedings, the presumption that the revenue wants to raise in its favour, cannot be said to be available at all.

18. When we scrutinise the facts of the case, we find that according to the revenue, notice under Section 269D(2) were sent by registered post acknowledgement due to only Major Tikka Khushwant Singh and it came back with the remark that the addressee is not available as he left without address and then subsequently served on 30-7-1977 without writing as karta of his HUF. Therefore, in View of the nature of powers of the competent authority described above, it was incumbent upon him to serve the notice, if not on all the coparceners, at least on Major Tikka Khushwant Singh as karta of his HUF. It has not been made clear why the competent authority did not do so which he was bound to do about the service of notice upon Major Tikka Khushwant Singh as karta of his HUF. This is very important aspect of the matter.

19. In the case of K. Adinarayana Murty (supra) which has been relied upon by the learned counsel for the assessee, their Lordships of the Supreme Court regarding the issue whether on the notice issued under Section 34 of the Act to an individual, can assessment on HUF hold the field, their Lordships observed as under: ... Under the scheme of the Income-tax Act the 'individual' and the 'Hindu undivided family' are treated as separate units of the assessment and if a notice under Section 34 of the Act is wrongly issued to the assessee in the status of 'individual' and not in the correct status of 'Hindu undivided family' the notice is illegal and all proceedings taken under that notice are ultra vires and without jurisdiction.... (p. 611) The learned departmental representative had drawn our attention to Section 282(2), as per which a notice in case of HUF can be served on any member or manager. We may be with the revenue for limited purpose that notice can be served on manager or any member but that fact has to be stated because their Lordships of the Calcutta High Court quashed a notice in which capacity was not indicated. It was held by their Lordships in the case of Shyam Sundar Bajaj v. ITO [1973] 89 ITR 317 (Cal.) as under: ... the notices served on the petitioner did not state that they were being served on the petitioner in any particular capacity and the notices were, therefore, liable to be quashed. (p. 318) Reliance of the learned departmental representative on Lakshminarain BhadanVs case (supra) is misplaced because in that case, capacity of HUF on which notice was served was stated. This case, on the other hand, supports the plea taken by the assessee.

20. There is absolutely no material to hold that the apparent consideration adopted in the sale deeds is relatable to one or the other purposes or reasons indicated in the statutory provisions contained in Section 269C. On the other hand, taking a comprehensive view of the matter based upon the material on record, the transaction appears to be entered into in the ordinary course of business and the apparent consideration represents the fair market value. The conditions under Section 269C are not fulfilled at all. We have already pointed out above that non-fulfilment of the conditions under Section 269C, as held by the Calcutta High Court in the case of Tube Mill (India) (P.) Ltd. (supra), are fatal to the proceedings. The proceedings are, therefore, bad in law. We have also pointed out that the question with regard to the fair market value is a question of fact which has to be decided on the facts brought on record. It would be seen from what is described above that but for the valuation report, the competent authority did not bring on record any evidence for justification of the acquisition proceedings and the order of the acquisition. The burden that lay upon the shoulders of the revenue to establish that the apparent consideration adopted in the sale deed falls short of the fair market value by more than 15 per cent has not been discharged.

21. In the present case, originally the official valuer assigned value of Rs. 3,41,200 without any details and on asking of the competent authority he made the details available and again after the matter was sent back to him by the competent authority to meet the objections of Mr. Tandon, valuer of the assessee, the official valuer adopted the valuation of the building at Rs. 85,300 and including tube-well and land overall he assigned value of Rs. 2,64,800. Once again the matter went back to him and he changed the valuation to Rs. 2,54,550. The valuations assigned by the Inspector, three different valuations assigned by the official cell when matter came before him thrice and two valuations adopted by the IAC, one while recording reasons and second while framing acquisition order are apparent from the following chart:Item Inspector's AVO dated IAC report 28-2-1975 u/s 269C3.

Land 1,00,000 -- 85,000 2,75,000 3,41,200 4,26,200J.R. Tandon AVO dated AVO IAC while30-7-1975 19-11-1977 21-1-1978 passing acq. orderRs. Rs. Rs. Rs.80,000 85,300 75,050 3,41,200 5,000 5,000 5,00060,000 1,74,500 1,74,500 1,74,5001,40,000 2,64,800 2,54,550 5,20,700 22. A close study of the above chart and details regarding matter going back to official valuer shows how uncertain, indecisive and inconsistent was the official valuer. To say, in short, the official valuer himself has made farce of the valuation. The IAC adopted what suited him, strangely enough he adopted value of the building as per valuer's report dated 28-2-1975 taken at Rs. 3,41,200 and that of land and tube-well at Rs. 1,74,500 and Rs. 5,000, respectively, as per two subsequent valuations. The revenue should not play in the hands of valuers who can give as many values to one and the same property as many times matter is sent back to him. The fact that land ceiling proceedings were in force should not have been that conveniently ignored by the revenue, which seems to have been so due when we go through page 50 of the assessee's compilation.

23. In view of what is stated above, it is clear that the acquisition proceedings and the order resulting therefrom, is bad in law on more than one ground. It is bad in law because the statutory mandatory notices were not served upon Major Tikka Khushwant Singh as karta, as discussed in the body of this order. It was served on 30-7-1977 which is apparently beyond nine months. It is bad in law because there was no evidence other than valuation report with the competent authority to make an order of acquisition by discharging the onus that lay upon him acting as he was a quasi-judicial authority in penal and quasi-criminal proceedings, worth of which we have discussed at length above. We have, therefore, no hesitation in cancelling the order of acquisition made by him under Section 269F. It is hereby cancelled.

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