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Commissioner of Agricultural Income-tax, Kerala Vs. V.N. Narayanan Bhattadiripad - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectDirect Taxation
CourtSupreme Court of India
Decided On
Judge
Reported in[1972]83ITR453(SC); (1972)4SCC119
ActsAgricultural Income Tax Act, 1950 - Sections 29
AppellantCommissioner of Agricultural Income-tax, Kerala
RespondentV.N. Narayanan Bhattadiripad
Excerpt:
.....medical evidence-held, conviction of appellants is proper. - the tribunal has accepted the truth and validity of the karar as well as the partition deed dividing the family properties by metes and bounds......on august 29, 1956, the members of the respondent's family entered into a deed, under which the undivided status of the family was disrupted and the family properties were agreed to be divided into 22 shares. but actual partition by metes and bounds was not effected under that document. that work was entrusted to two arbitrators. after the arbitrators passed their award, a regular partition deed was entered into. the tribunal has accepted the truth and validity of the karar as well as the partition deed dividing the family properties by metes and bounds. it has come to the conclusion that the respondent's family was divided. therefore, the question arises whether any portion of the income of the quondam family in one or the other of the relevant assessment years is liable to be.....
Judgment:

K.S. Hegde, J.

1. The question of law referred to the High Court for its opinion under Section 60(1) of the Agricultural Income-tax Act, 1950 to be hereinafter referred to as the Act), was :

Whether, in the facts and circumstances of the case, the status of tenancy in common could be assigned to the assessee ignoring the mandate of the legislature embodied in Section 29 of the Agricultural Income-tax Act that there should be partition in the family in definite portions

2. The High Court agreeing with the conclusions reached by the Tribunal answered that question in favour of the assessee. In our opinion, on the facts and in the circumstances of this case, the question submitted under Section 60(1) was a misconceived one and, therefore, the High Court should have reframed that question before answering the same.

3. The accounting period with which we are concerned in this appeal are November 1, 1956, to September 16, 1957, September 17, 1957, to March 31, 1958, and the assessment year 1960-61.

4. The facts as found by the Tribunal are that till August 29, 1956, the respondent was the karta of his family. On August 29, 1956, the members of the respondent's family entered into a deed, under which the undivided status of the family was disrupted and the family properties were agreed to be divided into 22 shares. But actual partition by metes and bounds was not effected under that document. That work was entrusted to two arbitratOrs. After the arbitrators passed their award, a regular partition deed was entered into. The Tribunal has accepted the truth and validity of the karar as well as the partition deed dividing the family properties by metes and bounds. It has come to the conclusion that the respondent's family was divided. Therefore, the question arises whether any portion of the income of the quondam family in one or the other of the relevant assessment years is liable to be brought to tax as the income of the Hindu undivided family.

5. The High Court has come to the conclusion that no portion of the income received in the relevant accounting years could be assessed as the income of the Hindu undivided family. We have earlier set out the assessment years with which we are concerned. As seen earlier, the karar providing for the division of the family properties was entered into on August 29, 1956.

6. From the judgment of the High Court we find that the partition deed dividing the family properties by metes and bounds was entered into on September 15, 1956. In view of these facts, no portion of the income sought to be taxed can be considered as having been earned by the Hindu undivided family in the. relevant accounting years. Even the very first accounting year commenced after the family properties were divided by metes and bounds. In this view it is not necessary to go into the meaning of the expression ' a Hindu undivided family which is being assessed for the first time as a Hindu undivided family ' in Section 29(1). As observed by us in our judgment in Civil Appeals Nos. 62 and 63 of 1969 1, which we have just now delivered, that expression is unintelligible and it is doubtful whether the legislative intention has been expressed with sufficient clarity in order to make it enforceable.

7. The only contention advanced in this appeal on behalf of the appellant was that, as the Agricultural Income-tax Officer had not passed any order under Section 29 of the Act, recording that the family in question is a divided family, that family must be deemed to be an undivided family. This contention has no basis. As seen earlier, the Appellate Tribunal has recorded a decision that the respondent family was divided even before the commencement of the accounting year 1956-57. The Appellate Tribunal has all the powers of the assessing authority. Hence, its order should be considered as an order under Section 29.

8. For the reasons mentioned above we dismiss this appeal. The respondent is not represented in this Court. At our request Mr. S.T. Desai assisted us as amicus curias. We are thankful to him for the assistance given to us. There will be no order as to costs in this appeal.


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