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Commissioner of Wealth-tax Vs. Smt. Savitri Devi and anr. (L/R of Nemi Chand Jain) - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectDirect Taxation
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWealth-tax Case No. 2 of 1981
Judge
Reported in(1982)29CTR(P& H)255; [1983]144ITR345(P& H)
ActsWealth Tax Act, 1957 - Sections 17(1)
AppellantCommissioner of Wealth-tax
RespondentSmt. Savitri Devi and anr. (L/R of Nemi Chand Jain)
Appellant Advocate Ashok Bhan and; Ajay Kumar Mittal, Advs.
Respondent Advocate M.L. Sarin, Adv.
Excerpt:
.....making the order had made a default in formally communicating the order to him. allowing a party to do so would amount to placing a premium on the lack of diligence of a party, who is remiss in seeking a remedy that was available to it. therefore, knowledge whether actual or construction of the order passed by the state or regional transport authority should result in commencement of the period of limitation. thus,. in cases where the state or regional transport authority has not communicated the order of refusal passed to the persons concerned, the period of limitation for filing an appeal would commence from the date when the parties concerned acquire knowledge of passing of the said order. - 1. tenacity may be a virtue but not for resisting a proposition which is apparent..........as the assessee had duly disclosed the interest amount of rs. 12,825. it was further held that reassessment under section 17(1)(b) of the act was barred, as limitation of four years had expired. the aac thus cancelled the fresh assessment, the department went up in appeal against the aforesaid decision before the income-tax appellate tribunal, which dismissed . the appeal, upholding the finding of the aac. the revenue, however, persisted in their stand and filed a reference before the tribunal with a prayer for stating certain proposed questions of law for the opinion of this court. this reference was also declined by the tribunal. the present petition under section 27(3) of the act has now been filed praying that a mandamus be issued to the tribunal to refer the questions of law.....
Judgment:

Surinder Singh, J.

1. Tenacity may be a virtue but not for resisting a proposition which is apparent like broad daylight. The present petition under Section 27(3) of the W.T. Act, 1957 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act'), has been initiated by the Revenue, in the circumstances which are these. The predecessor-in-interest of the respondents, Shri Nemi Chand Jain, owned movable and immovable assets and after filing his return for the assessment year 1968-69, died on March 18, 1968. The assessment was completed by the WTO on August 31, 1969, on a net wealth of Rs. 7,48,112. In the meantime, proceedings for levy of estate duty in respect of the estate of Shri Nemi Chand Jain, deceased, were initiated. Subsequently, there was an audit objection by the audit party that an interest amount of Rs. 12,825 on the mortgage money of Rs. 1,83,825 had escaped assessment in the estate duty case of the deceased. The audit party also noted that the value of the land and building of the Punjab Potteries was accepted at book value, whereas the value ought to have been assessed at market price. The under-assessment was worked out in the case of the land and the building at Rs. 1,40,000 and Rs. 1,16,148 respectively. On the basis of this note of the audit party, the WTO re-opened the assessment for the year 1968-69, and after doing so, completed the fresh assessment on a net wealth of Rs. 11,86,820 by enhancing the value of the land as well as the building.

2. The assessee having died, his legal representatives filed an appeal before the AAC, who found that it was not a case of escaped assessment under Section 17(1)(a) of the Act, as the assessee had duly disclosed the interest amount of Rs. 12,825. It was further held that reassessment under Section 17(1)(b) of the Act was barred, as limitation of four years had expired. The AAC thus cancelled the fresh assessment, The Department went up in appeal against the aforesaid decision before the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal, which dismissed . the appeal, upholding the finding of the AAC. The Revenue, however, persisted in their stand and filed a reference before the Tribunal with a prayer for stating certain proposed questions of law for the opinion of this court. This reference was also declined by the Tribunal. The present petition under Section 27(3) of the Act has now been filed praying that a mandamus be issued to the Tribunal to refer the questions of law referred to above, to this court.

3. We have heard the learned counsel for the parties in this matter. The sole question which falls for consideration is, as to whether for the purpose of justifying a reassessment the case would fall within the provisions of Section 17(1)(a) of the Act. On facts, it cannot be controverted at thisstage that the reassessment was based upon the note of the audit partyon the question of including the interest amount in the taxable turnover. It is further not in dispute, and this fact finds mention in theimpugned orders, that the assessee had duly disclosed the interest amount in his return. That being so, the application of Section 17(1)(a) is immediatelyousted, as that provision would come into play only in the case of omission or failure on the part of the assessee to make a return. In so far asthe note of the audit party is concerned, it has been rightly consideredby the authorities below, that in view of Indian and Eastern News paper Society v. CIT : [1979]119ITR996(SC) , such a note could notbe deemed to be 'information' as postulated in Section 17(1)(b) of the Act.Even if the note may be deemed to be so, the petitioner would befaced with the main hurdle regarding limitation which for the purpose ofthe said Sub-section is only four years. The first assessment having beencompleted on August 31, 1969, a reassessment after the expiry of fouryears, was not permissible under Section 17(1)(b) of the Act. There being no other provision enabling the Department to reopen the case, the finding of the authorities below that the reassessment was incompetent, isquite correct and is affirmed.

4. In the result, the prayer for the, issue of mandamus to the Tribunal to refer the questions of law to this court is declined. The respondents shall be entitled to the costs of these proceedings.


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