B. S. Dhillon, J. - This judgment will dispose of WT Ref. Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 7 of 1971 and No. 28 of 1975. Since common question of law is involved in all the above mentioned references, therefore, the same are being disposed of by a common judgment.
2.Three questions of law were referred to this Court for its opinion in WT Ref. Nos. 1 and 3 of 1971, which pertain to the asst. yr. 1964-65. Questions Nos. 1 and 2 stand answered by an order of the Bench dt. 20-11-1973. As regards question No. 3, which is in the following terms, supplementary statement of the case was sent for :
'(3). Whether the valuation of gold could be taken at any value other than the rates fixed by the Gold Control Order ?'
In WT Ref. Nos. 2 and 7 of 1971, which pertain to the asst. yr. 1965-66, question No. 1 was answered by this Court on 20-11-1973, but regarding question No. 2, which is in the following terms, supplementary statement of the case was sent for :
'Whether the valuation of Gold could be taken at any value other than the rates fixed by the Gold Control Order ?'
Consequently, supplementary statement of the case has been sent by the Tribunal in all the four references.
Following question of law has been referred to this Court for its opinion in WT Ref. No. 28 of 1975, which pertains to the asst. yr. 1966-67 :
'Whether on the facts and in the circumstances of the case the value of Gold Bullion should be reduced to Rs. 67,569 instead of Rs. 1,32,705 for inclusion in the wealth of the assessee on the valuation date i.e. 12-4-1966, relevant to the asst. yr. 1966-67 ?'
The assessee Col. His Highness Raja Sir Harindar Singh, Raja of Faridkot, was assessed to the net wealth under the WT Act, 1957 (hereinafter referred to as the Act). The market value of the Gold Bullion held by the assessee was assessed by the WTO in each of the assessment years referred to above for the figure which has been mentioned in the question reproduced in the earlier part of the judgment. The WTO rejected the assessees contention about the market value of the Gold Bullion. The AAC rejected the appeal of the assessee. The Tribunal although granted relief to the assessee in relation to other items, but upheld the assessment made by the WTO regarding the Gold Bullion. At the instance of the assessee, the questions of law referred to in the earlier part of the judgment, have been referred to this Court for its opinion.
3. As is clear from the supplementary statement of the case, the Defence of India Rules, 1962 were amended and Part XII-A which headed the Gold Control, was added on 9-1-1963. The said Part contained rr. 126A to 126-Z. Rule 126-H contained provisions putting restrictions on possession and sale of Gold. It has been contended by Shri Puri, the ld. counsel for the assessee that in view of the provisions of the Rules contained in rr. 126-A to 126-Z, the assessee was not in position to dispose of the Gold Bullion in open market, and, therefore, the WTO erred in assessing the value of the Gold Bullion at the market rate. It has been contended that in view of the restrictions contained in the above mentioned Rules, the assessee was not at liberty to dispose of the Gold Bullion if he so liked and, therefore, the prevailing market value could not be held to be the assessed value of the asset. We are unable to agree with this contention. It is no doubt true that the provisions of the Rules referred to above impose certain restrictions as regards the possession and dealings with gold and gold ornaments, but there is no rule which prohibits the sale of the Gold Bullion if the same was made in accordance with the Rules. Every person in possession of the gold ornaments or Gold Bullion was supposed to furnish return by a specified date in accordance with the Rules. In view of the provisions of proviso to r. 126-H(2)(b), any dealer could by or otherwise acquire or accept gold, not being ornament, from any person if such gold has been included in a declaration made by that person u/r 126-I. It is no doubt true that under the Rules, the gold could only be sold to a licensed dealer but that would not entitle us to draw a conclusion that the assessee was unable to encash the bullion at the market rate which was in his possession. The ld. counsel for the assessee relied on a decision of their Lordships of the Supreme Court in The Corporation of Calcutta v. Smt. Padma Debi and others A.I.R. 1962 (SC) 151. This judgment has absolutely no relevance to the point in issue in the present case. The contention of the ld. counsel for the assessee that the market rate so published by the Government agencies during the relevant time, was the black-market rate of the gold, is without any merit.
4. The only other contention raised by the ld. counsel for the assessee is that the assessees application made before the Tribunal when the case went back to it for sending the supplementary statement of the case, for summoning an official of the Finance Ministry for getting the information regarding the prevalent value of 24 ct. gold during the relevant time, has been wrongly rejected by the Tribunal. We are unable to agree with this contention as well. We do not find any relevance for summoning the said record. The Tribunal in pursuance of the directions of this Court vide order dt. 20-11-1973 was asked to ascertain in the material facts indicating whether the Board while permitting the purchase or sale of gold, placed any restrictions on its price and nothing else. That is clear from the Rules itself that if the assessee had declared the bullion in his declaration submitted u/r 126-I, he could sell the gold to a licensed dealer at the market rate.
5. No other argument has been raised before us.
6. For the reasons recorded above, question No. 3 in WT Ref. Nos. 1 and 3 of 1971 and question No. 1 WT Ref. Nos. 2 and 7 of 1971, are answered in the negative, i.e., against the assessee and in favour of the Revenue, and it is held that the value of the gold could be the market value of the bullion as there had been no value fixed under the Gold Control Order. Question No. 1 in WT Ref. No. 28 of 1975 is also answered in the negative, i.e., in favour of the Revenue and against the assessee. No costs.