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Col. H.H. Sir Harinder Singh Brar Bans Bahadur Vs. Commissioner of Wealth-tax - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectDirect Taxation
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWealth-tax Reference No. 1 of 1971
Judge
Reported in[1975]98ITR458(P& H)
ActsWealth Tax Act, 1957 - Sections 2 and 5(1); Gold Control Order; Defence of India Rules
AppellantCol. H.H. Sir Harinder Singh Brar Bans Bahadur
RespondentCommissioner of Wealth-tax
Appellant Advocate K.C. Puri, Adv.
Respondent Advocate D.N. Awasthy and; B.S. Gupta, Advs.
Cases ReferredC) and Ahmed G.H. Ariff v. Commissioner of Wealth
Excerpt:
.....word 'property' is a term of the widest import and, subject to any limitation which the context may require,'it signifies every possible interest which a person can clearly hold and enjoy. if the high court or the supreme court is not satisfied that the case as stated is sufficient to enable it to determine the question of law raised thereby, it may require the appellate tribunal to make such modifications therein as it may direct',9. we direct the tribunal that it should furnish us with a better statement of the case so that we are able to determine the question of law raised satisfactorily......determine the market value of the gold or the price which is quoted in the newspapers as the sale price of gold should determine the market value of the gold. on this matter there is not enough material which would enable us to determine the question satisfactorily. in view of the provisions of section 27, sub-section (5) of the wealth-tax act, which is in the following terms:' if the high court or the supreme court is not satisfied that the case as stated is sufficient to enable it to determine the question of law raised thereby, it may require the appellate tribunal to make such modifications therein as it may direct',9. we direct the tribunal that it should furnish us with a better statement of the case so that we are able to determine the question of law raised satisfactorily. for.....
Judgment:

1. This order will dispose of two Wealth-tax References Nos. 1 and 3 of 1971.

2. The Income-tax Appellate Tribunal, Chandigarh Bench, has referred the following three questions of law for our opinion :

'1. Whether, on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, the value of 12 jeeps and trucks was exempt under Section 5(1)(ix) of the Wealth-tax Act ?

2. Whether the amount of Rs. 1,09,201 was liable to be included in the net wealth of the assessee on the valuation date (April 12, 1964) ?

3. Whether the valuation of gold could be taken at any value other than the rates fixed by the Gold Control Order?'

3. The assessee, Col. H.H. Raja Sir Harinder Singh, Raja of Faridkot, was assessed on a net wealth of Rs. 85,21,827 for the assessment year 1964-65. This wealth included 12 vehicles valued at Rs. 25,000. Another part of the wealth was the amount of compensation paid for the acquisition of agricultural land amounting to Rs. 1,09,201, and the third amount on which there is dispute was his claim that the gold bullion held by him of which the market value has been assessed at Rs. 1,32,705 should have been valued at Rs. 67,569. The Wealth-tax Officer rejected the assessee's contention regarding all the three claims. The assessee then preferred an appeal to the Appellate Assistant Commissioner on all the three points. The Appellate Assistant Commissioner rejected the appeal so far as these three items are concerned. The assessee then preferred a further appeal to the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal. The Tribunal accepted the assessee's claim with regard to Rs. 25,000. It was held that the 12 vehicles were being used by the assessee for raising agricultural produce and the department had failed to show that they were being used for any other purpose. In this view of the matter, it was held that the assessee was entitled to exemption of this amount of Rs. 25,000 under Section 5(1)(ix) of the Wealth-tax Act. The assessee's claim with regard to the other two matters was rejected. The assessee moved the Tribunal under Section 27(1) of the Act for a reference of the second and third questions of law for the opinion of this court, and the department moved a similar application for the reference of the first question of law for the opinion of this court.

4. After hearing the learned counsel for the assessee and the department, we answer the questions referred to us in the following manner:

So far as the first question is concerned, the finding of fact given by the Tribunal was that these vehicles were used for agricultural operations. No evidence to the contrary was led by the department. In this situation, there could be but no other finding than the one given by the Tribunal that the assessee was entitled to the relief under Section 5(1)(ix) of the Act.

5. With regard to the second question, the matter is set at rest by two decisions of the Supreme Court in Pandit Lakshmi Kant Jha v. Commissioner of Wealth-tax : [1973]90ITR97(SC) and Ahmed G.H. Ariff v. Commissioner of Wealth-tax : [1970]76ITR471(SC) . In Pandit Lakshmi Kant Jha's case, their Lordships observed :

'The word 'property' is a term of the widest import and, subject to any limitation which the context may require,' it signifies every possible interest which a person can clearly hold and enjoy. The definition of the 'assets' as given in Section 2(e), though not exhaustive, shows its wide amplitude and there is no reason why the right to receive compensation cannot be included amongst the assets of an assessee.'

6. The Supreme C6urt in Ariff's case considered the decision of the Bombay High Court in Commissioner of Wealth-tax v. Purshottam N. Amersey : [1969]71ITR180(Bom) . wherein it was held :

'..... The definition of assets in Section 2(e) and that of ' net wealth' in Section 2(m) were comprehensive provisions and all assets were included in the net wealth by the very definition.'

7. These observations were approved by their Lordships in Ariff's case. Therefore, there is no option but to answer the second question as we have done. The only contention advanced by Mr. Puri was that there is no provision in the East Punjab Requisitioning of Immovable Property (Temporary Powers) Act, 1948 (No. 48 of 1948), whereby the right-holder can enforce his right to compensation. That matter is wholly beside the point. The Act provides that when the property is acquired, the right-holder is entitled to compensation and the compensation was determined under the Act. Therefore, an asset came into being. It is a different matter that that asset was not wholly realised before the valuation and was realised later. It is also immaterial that no machinery is provided for its realisation, but when a statute provides that the property will be acquired and compensation paid, we must proceed on the basis that the compensation will be paid irrespective of the fact that no machinery is provided for its realisation, otherwise it will make the working of the statute nugatory. Therefore, we are not impressed with the contention raised by the learned counsel.

8. So far as the third question is concerned, the contention of Mr. Puri, learned counsel for the assessee, is that the purchase or sale of gold, after the coming into force of the Gold Control Order under the Defence of India Rules, can only be with a permit. This is clear from Rule 126-H of the Defence of India Rules, 1962. However, the Tribunal did not examine the effect of the Gold Control Order under the Defence of India Rules and the relevant provisions of the Defence of India Rules to determine whether the price which, according to the assessee, is the price at which gold can be legally sold, should determine the market value of the gold or the price which is quoted in the newspapers as the sale price of gold should determine the market value of the gold. On this matter there is not enough material which would enable us to determine the question satisfactorily. In view of the provisions of Section 27, Sub-section (5) of the Wealth-tax Act, which is in the following terms:

' If the High Court or the Supreme Court is not satisfied that the case as stated is sufficient to enable it to determine the question of law raised thereby, it may require the Appellate Tribunal to make such modifications therein as it may direct',

9. we direct the Tribunal that it should furnish us with a better statement of the case so that we are able to determine the question of law raised satisfactorily. For that purpose, the Tribunal can ascertain the material facts and then remit the statement of the case to us indicating whether the Board while permitting the purchase or sale of gold placed any restrictions on its price, i.e., whether gold could be purchased or sold only at a particular price or at the price quoted in the newspapers on any relevant date. Parties will bear their own costs.


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