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K.S.P.S.K.T. Kalyappa Chettiar Vs. Second Gift-tax Officer - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtIncome Tax Appellate Tribunal ITAT Madras
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1984)7ITD213(Mad.)
AppellantK.S.P.S.K.T. Kalyappa Chettiar
RespondentSecond Gift-tax Officer
Excerpt:
.....the assessee conducted the marriage of his only daughter and spent rs. 1,07,900 as under :marriage expenses 49,209presentation of jewels to daughter meenakshi on theoccasion of marriage 58,691 ------------ it is not clear whether if was ancestral jewellery that was presented or jewellery purchased for the occasion and given. however, the case seems to fall under the latter category because the assessee claimed it as expenditure. the gto of course excluded the expenditure of rs. 49,209 from gift-tax. but he overruled the contention of the assessee that presentation of jewellery is only an expenditure connected with marriage and that the entire amount of rs. 1,07,900 was spent for the purpose of celebrating the marriage of his daughter in order to discharge his legal and moral.....
Judgment:
1. The gift-tax appeal of the assessee-HUF is for the assessment year 1973-74. The question is whether the jewellery given to the daughter on the occasion of her marriage is a gift. The question should not be misunderstood to read that it is a gift but exempt from gift-tax.

2. The assessee conducted the marriage of his only daughter and spent Rs. 1,07,900 as under :Marriage expenses 49,209Presentation of jewels to daughter Meenakshi on theoccasion of marriage 58,691 ------------ It is not clear whether if was ancestral jewellery that was presented or jewellery purchased for the occasion and given. However, the case seems to fall under the latter category because the assessee claimed it as expenditure. The GTO of course excluded the expenditure of Rs. 49,209 from gift-tax. But he overruled the contention of the assessee that presentation of jewellery is only an expenditure connected with marriage and that the entire amount of Rs. 1,07,900 was spent for the purpose of celebrating the marriage of his daughter in order to discharge his legal and moral obligation. It was argued before the AAC that the daughter was to be married off in a fitting manner keeping the status of the family and customs of the community in view and that presentation of jewels of reasonable amount was part of the custom of the community to which the appellant belongs and it should be regarded as a normal marriage expenditure without the element of gift. But it was of no effect. He also confirmed the assessment but excluded Rs. 10,000 under 5(1)(v) of the Gift-tax Act, 1958 ('the Act') which provides that gifts up to Rs. 10,000 given on the occasion of marriage of a relative is exempt from gift-tax.

3. We are satisfied that this is not a gift. In saying so, we are guided by the text of Hindu law, decided cases on that law, definition of 'gift' in the Act and CGT v. M. Radhakrishna Gade Rao [1983] 143 ITR 260 (Mad.) the text of Hindu law, as expounded by decided cases, had held that it is the right of an unmarried daughter to have her marriage expenses met out of joint family property and that such right is really in lieu of her share on partition. The definition of 'gift' envisages that it should not only be without consideration in money or money's worth but also be voluntarily met. In M. Radhakrishna Gade Rao's case (supra) the Madras High Court had held that a settlement in favour of a daughter of joint family property as a marriage provision is neither voluntarily done nor without consideration. The Madras High Court had held as follows : ...As we have earlier seen, it is the right of an unmarried daughter to have a reasonable portion of income or corpus of the joint family property utilised for meeting her marriage expenses. In this sense, a settlement in her favour of joint family property as a marriage provision can hardly be regarded as a gift since such a provision is compulsive under the Hindu law and by no means voluntary in the proper sense of the term. Again, since the karta, when he settles the property on the unmarried daughter, by the same token, discharges the obligation of the joint family estate to meet the expenses of marriage, the transaction cannot be regarded as one without consideration in money or money's worth. Looked at from any angle, settlements of this kind cannot be brought within the mischief of the Gift-tax Act. (p. 263) 4. Whether the jewellery is ancestral or purchased is not at all material. So also whether such gifts are peculiar customs of the particular community or not. Those questions make no difference. The cost involved is part of the expenses of marriage. The expenses of marriage are not only rental for the marriage hall, cost on decoration and illumination, expenses for pooja, homam and saptapadi and feast for the invitees, but also many other items. We need not list out all those. Suffice it to say that in any community in any part of India, jewellery to the daughter is a most essential item of marriage expenditure. Dowry to the bridegroom is totally different. No evidence separate or allude is necessary to establish that it is part of marriage expenditure. It is an integral and inseparable part of the expenditure. It is a traditional item of expenditure which has come to stay as part of the marriage celebrations. It is difficult to trace its origin. That has lost in antiquity. It was there even beyond living memory. This expenditure involved in jewellery ranks equal to Rs. 49,209 exempted by the GTO himself without controversy. Without such jewellery, a daughter's marriage is not complete in India or performed to satisfaction. The quantum may depend on status. Even the poorest look first to gold and then only to clothes and feast to celebrate the marriage of their daughter. So this is marriage expenditure. It is an expenditure not voluntarily incurred. It has compulsion behind it. The expenditure is also supported by consideration because the assessee is legally bound to expend. The quantum involved in this case is quite reasonable. The assessee is an income-tax assessee. The recipient is the only daughter. It may be noted that even the GTO and the AAC has agreed to the proposition that the assessee has a legal and normal obligation to see that his daughter is married to a suitable bridegroom in a proper manner. Their only doubt was whether this will amount to marriage expenditure. We will, for these reasons, dispel their doubt and hold that it is only a marriage expenditure. The provision in 5(1)(vz7) exempting gifts to relatives is entirely different. That provision relates to a relative to whom there is no such obligation as in the case of a daughter and the present given is in reality a gift pure and simple. That should not be confused with expenditure incurred for the celebration of marriage of daughter.

5. Appeal allowed. The entire amount of Rs. 58,691 is also to be considered as marriage expenditure. Hence, it is not subject to any gift-tax.


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