1. This appeal by the revenue is against the order of the Appellate Controller in his Appeal No. CED(A)/ 79 of 1982-83, dated 25-2-1983.
The interesting question that has arisen for our consideration is whether the Appellate Controller is justified in holding that the amounts payable under the different policies taken under the Married Women's Property Act (totalling Rs. 89,230), will each form a separate estate and, therefore, they are not aggregable inter se under Section The deceased had taken three policies under the Married Women's Property Act, 1874, the beneficiaries being his sons and wife in respect of each policy. The sums payable under these policies totalled to Rs. 89,230. While holding that the deceased had no interest in these policies and, therefore, the sums payable thereunder have to be treated as a separate estate under Section 34(3), the Assistant Controller, however, aggregated the amounts due under the three policies and subjected the same to duty as a separate unit.
3. On appeal, the Appellate Controller held, that the deceased had no interest in the sums payable under the policies and the amount payable under each policy will have to be treated as a separate estate and, therefore, not to be aggregated even while treating the same as a separate estate under Section 34(3).
4. The department is in appeal before us contending that, though no doubt, the amounts payable under the separate policies taken under the Married Women's Property Act, represent a separate estate, since the deceased had no interest in the same, the sums payable thereunder should, however, be aggregated so as to form a single estate and subjected to duty.
5. We have considered the rival submissions. There is no dispute that the three policies were taken under the Married Women's Property Act.
It is also not in dispute that the deceased had no interest in the same and, therefore, under the provisions of Section 34(3), they will form a separate estate and, therefore, estate duty will be leviable in respect of the same at the rates applicable to the principal value thereof. The question for consideration is, whether the amounts payable under the three different policies taken under the Married Women's Property Act, are to be aggregated so as to form a separate unit of assessment or the amount payable under each policy should be treated as a separate estate. Under the latter method, no duty will be leviable in view of the fact that the amount payable under each policy is below Rs. 50,000.
In the case of the former, if the sums payable under the three policies are aggregated, duty will be leviable in view of the fact that the principal value would exceed the maximum exemption limit. In this connection, a reference to Section 34(3) is quite germane to the context. This section is reproduced hereunder: Notwithstanding anything contained in Sub-section (1) or Sub-section (2), any property passing in which the deceased never had an interest, not being a right or debt or benefit that is treated as property by virtue of the Explanation to Clause (15) of Section 2, shall not be aggregated with any property, but shall be an estate by itself, and the estate duty shall be levied at the rate or rates applicable in respect of the principal value thereof.
The section lays down that any property in which the deceased had no interest shall not be aggregated with any other property but shall be an estate by itself. The question is whether the words 'any property' would refer only to the other property of the deceased or it would also include any other property inclusive of the amounts payable under different insurance policies under the Married Women's Property Act.
While dealing with this question, the learned author, Shri V.Balasubramanian, in his Law and Practice of Estate Duty, Fourth edition, has made the following observations: Each estate in which the deceased had no interest has to be treated as a separate estate which would be clear from the use of the expression 'any property' and the absence of any provision to aggregate the value of all such separate estate together. The question of aggregation is to be considered from the point of view of the deceased and not any one else. Where the deceased had taken out four policies, A, B, C and D irrevocably and absolutely nominated from the inception in favour of the same beneficiary X, each of the policies has to be considered as a separate estate by itself. The fact that X is the beneficiary in all the policies makes no difference. (P- 371) We also find that while dealing with a similar question, the Tribunal, Bombay Bench 'D' has held as under in CED v. Mafalda Faria  1 ITD 981: ...The question which then arises is whether the two amounts should be treated as a separate estate individually or taken together On a careful consideration of the language of the section, we are of the opinion, that the two amounts should be treated as separate estates individually and should not be aggregated not only with the other properties but also inter se.
This is because the language of the section clearly states that any property which comes within its provisions shall not be aggregated with 'any property' which obviously includes a property which qualifies under Section 34(3). Even if it is assumed for the sake of argument that two reasonable interpretations are possible and that the two amounts under consideration should be added together to form a separate estate, we hold that the view which is favourable to the accountable person should be adopted vide the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of CIT v. Vegetable Products Ltd.  88 ITR 192. Hence, we direct that the two amounts under consideration should be assessed as separate estates, without either of them being aggregated to the other properties and without adding them together to form a single separate estate. (p. 985) Having due regard to the above and respectfully following the same, we hold that the Appellate Controller was justified in directing the Assistant Controller to treat the amounts payable under each insurance policy taken under the Married Women's Property Act as a separate estate without aggregating them.