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Commissioner of Income-tax Vs. Meera and Co. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectDirect Taxation
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Case NumberIncome-tax Reference No. 95 of 1977
Judge
Reported in[1986]161ITR31(P& H)
ActsIncome Tax Act, 1961 - Sections 68; Finance Act, 1965 - Sections 24, 24(1) and 24(3)
AppellantCommissioner of Income-tax
RespondentMeera and Co.
Appellant Advocate Ashok Bhan and; Ajay Mittal, Advs.
Respondent Advocate S.S. Mahajan and; Jagmohan Singh Bhatti, Advs.
Excerpt:
.....under the scheme, from investigating the true nature and source of the credits; 46,250 as the assessee's income from undisclosed sources since the assessee failed to discharge the burden of proof placed upon it under section 68 of the i. act, 1961.'3. a reading of the aforesaid clearly goes to show that it was open to the revenue to dispute the genuineness of the cash credit appearing in the books of account of the assessee and the finality under section 24(8) of the finance (no. hence, it has to be held that the assessee failed to discharge the onus which lay on it under section 68 of the act to explain the source of deposit of rs. 90,000. in this behalf, we disagree with the decision of the tribunal and answer the second question as well in favour of the revenue and against the..........24(6) of that act was not available while framing the assessment of tax in the hands of the assessee. question no. 1 is covered with the weight of binding authority and we need not dilate on it any further. the decision of the tribunal on question no. 1 is obviously contrary to law and we answer the same in favour of the revenue and against the assessee, i.e., in the negative.4. adverting to the second question, whenever certain credits are shown in the books of an assessee in the accounting year, unless the assessee offers an explanation which is found to be satisfactory, the sum so credited may be charged to income-tax as the income of the assessee for that year. in this case, a sum of rs. 90,000 was shown to have been credited in the books of account of the assessee in the.....
Judgment:

Gokal Chand Mital, J.

1. M/s. Meera and Co., the assessee, had shown in their books of account cash credit of Rs. 90,000 in the names of three minors. The said amount had been disclosed in the names of the said minors under the voluntary disclosure scheme under the Finance (No. 2) Act, 1965. In the assessment proceedings for the year 1967-68, the Income-tax Officer found that the minors were not able to earn the huge amount of Rs. 30,000 each from any available source and, therefore, concluded that the aggregate amount of Rs. 90,000 represented the assessee's concealed income from undisclosed sources. The assessment was made on that basis. On the assessee's appeal, the Appellate Assistant Commissioner deleted the addition by observing that the assessee had discharged its onus by pointing out that the credits were given out of the amount disclosed under the voluntary disclosure scheme mentioned above and the Income-tax Officer was not competent to go behind the source of the cash credits in the hands of the creditors. The Revenue took the matter in appeal before the Tribunal which followed Rattan Lal v. ITO : [1975]98ITR681(Delhi) , a decision of the Delhi High Court, which was on identical facts, and agreed with the decision of the Appellate Assistant Commissioner and dismissed the appeal filed by the Revenue. The Revenue sought a reference and the Tribunal has referred the following two questions of law for our opinion ;

'(1) Whether, on the facts and circumstances of the case, and on a true interpretation of Section 24 of the Finance (No. 2) Act, 1965, the Appellate Tribunal was right in law in affirming the decision of the Appellate Assistant Commissioner of Income-tax, holding that after having accepted the voluntary disclosures of the three minors holding cash credits totalling Rs. 90,000 in the books of the assessee, it was not competent for the Department to go into the question of genuineness of these cash credits as appearing in the books of the assessee ?

(2) Whether, on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, the assessee had discharged the onus which lay on it under Section 68 of the Income-tax Act, 1961, to explain the source of the deposits of Rs. 90,000 introduced in its business in the accounting year under consideration ?'

2. The decision in Rattan Lal's case : [1975]98ITR681(Delhi) , went up in appeal before the highest court of the land at the instance of the Revenue and was set aside in ITO v. Rattan Lal : [1984]145ITR183(SC) . In another case Jamnaprasad Kanhaiyalal v. CIT : [1981]130ITR244(SC) , on similar facts, the highest court overruled the decision of the Delhi High Court. Earlier also, a similar matter came up before a Division Bench of this court in CIT v. Salig Rum Prem Nath . Following the decision of the Supreme Court and other High Courts, it was held that if a declaration under Section 24 of the disclosure scheme referred to above is made on behalf of a minor, mere acceptance of the amount on behalf of the minor in the disclosure scheme would not discharge the onus which lay on the assessee under Section 68 of the Income-tax Act, 1961. In Jamnaprasad Kanhaiyalal's case : [1981]130ITR244(SC) , the following guidelines were laid down at page 245 :

'Held, (i) that the declaration under Section 24(2) of the Finance (No. 2) Act, 1965, had to relate to income actually earned by the declarant and the Act granted immunity to the declarant alone and not to other persons to whom the income really belonged;

(ii) that the finality under Section 24(8) of the Finance (No. 2) Act, 1965, was to the order of the Central Board under Section 24(6) and not to the assessment of tax made on the declarations furnished under the scheme;

(iii) that under Section 24(1), the declaration was required to be made in respect of the amount which represented the income of the declarant. The declaration could not be made in respect of an amount which was not the income of the declarant. If, therefore, a person made a false declaration with respect to an amount which was not his income, but was the income of somebody else, then there was nothing to prevent an investigation into the true source of the amount. There was nothing in Section 24 of the Finance (No. 2) Act, 1965, which prevented the ITO, if he was not satisfied with the explanation of an assessee about the genuineness or source of an amount found credited in his books, in spite of its having already been made the subject of a declaration by the creditor and taxed under the scheme, from investigating the true nature and source of the credits;

(iv) that the legal fiction created by Section 24(3) of the Finance (No. 2) Act, 1965, was limited in its scope and could not be invoked in assessment proceedings relating to any person other than the person making the declaration under that Act so as to rule out the applicability of Section 68 of the I.T. Act, 1961 ;

(v) that, in a case of this description, there was no question of double taxation. Once it was found that the income declared by the creditors did not belong to them, there was nothing to prevent the same from being taxed in the hands of the assessee to whom it actually belonged.

Held also, that the ITO was justified in treating the cash credits appearing in the books of account of the assessee amounting to Rs. 46,250 as the assessee's income from undisclosed sources since the assessee failed to discharge the burden of proof placed upon it under Section 68 of the I.T. Act, 1961.'

3. A reading of the aforesaid clearly goes to show that it was open to the Revenue to dispute the genuineness of the cash credit appearing in the books of account of the assessee and the finality under Section 24(8) of the Finance (No. 2) Act, 1965, which was attached to the order of the Central Board under Section 24(6) of that Act was not available while framing the assessment of tax in the hands of the assessee. Question No. 1 is covered with the weight of binding authority and we need not dilate on it any further. The decision of the Tribunal on question No. 1 is obviously contrary to law and we answer the same in favour of the Revenue and against the assessee, i.e., in the negative.

4. Adverting to the second question, whenever certain credits are shown in the books of an assessee in the accounting year, unless the assessee offers an explanation which is found to be satisfactory, the sum so credited may be charged to income-tax as the income of the assessee for that year. In this case, a sum of Rs. 90,000 was shown to have been credited in the books of account of the assessee in the names of three minors. Therefore, by virtue of Section 68 of the Act, it was for the assessee to offer the explanation as to the source thereof. The only explanation which the assessee furnished was that under the voluntary disclosure scheme, these amounts had been accepted in the names of the minors. That is no explanation because in terms of the decision of the Supreme Court and this court referred to above, it was for the assessee to prove the source of income ofthe minors from which it could be gathered that they could earn Rs. 30,000 each or any other source from which they got it. In this behalf, no evidence whatsoever was led and mere reliance was placed on the disclosure statement made on behalf of the minors. Hence, it has to be held that the assessee failed to discharge the onus which lay on it under Section 68 of the Act to explain the source of deposit of Rs. 90,000. In this behalf, we disagree with the decision of the Tribunal and answer the second question as well in favour of the Revenue and against the assessee, that is, in the negative.

5. Before parting, one argument which was sought to be raised by the counsel for the assessee under question No. 2 may be noticed. It was urged that when the matter was decided, it was understood by the assessee as well as by the Appellate Assistant Commissioner and the Tribunal that the onus on the assessee to explain the source of deposit of Rs. 90,000 stood discharged merely because of the orders passed under Section 24 of the Finance (No. 2) Act, 1965, when, under the disclosure scheme, the amount of Rs. 90,000 was accepted in the names of the three minors and for that reason no other evidence was led to offer the explanation in regard to that amount and since a different view is being taken, it is a fit case in which the assessee should be given opportunity to furnish explanation. This matter is not covered by question No. 2. The matter has to go to the Tribunal to frame fresh assessment in view of the answers given by us to the two questions referred to us and it will be for the assessee to raise the matter there. We have a limited jurisdiction and nothing more we say in this behalf.

6. Both the questions are answered accordingly and since the matter is covered by the judgments which came into being during the pendency of reference, we do not burden the assessee with costs.


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