K.S. Hegde, J.
1. This appeal arises from a reference under Section 27 of the Wealth-tax Act, 1957, to be hereinafter referred to as 'the Act'. The assessee is a company liable to pay wealth-tax. It is also liable to pay income-tax. At first its previous year was the, financial year. For the assessment year 1957-58 it got its previous year changed from the financial year to the year commencing from 1st July of that year. Thereafter, its previous year ended on June 30 of every year.
2. In its wealth-tax proceedings for the assessment year 1957-58, the Wealth-tax Officer took the valuation date as 31st March, 1957. But according to the assessee its valuation date should have been taken as 30th June, 1957, and not 31st March, 1957. The Wealth-tax Officer rejected the contention of the assessee but in appeal the Appellate Assistant Commissioner upheld the contention of the assessee. Aggrieved by the order of the Appellate Assistant Commissioner the department went up in appeal to the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal, 'B' Bench, Calcutta. The Tribunal dismissed the appeal of the department. Thereafter, at the instance of the department, the following question was referred to the High Court: 'Whether, on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, and having 'due regard to the definition of 'valuation date' under Section 2(q) of the Wealth-tax Act, 1957, the Tribunal was right in holding that no assessment could be made under the Wealth-tax Act on the assessee for the assessment year 1957-58?' The High Court answered that question in the affirmative and in favour of the assesse. Thereafter, this appeal was brought after obtaining a certificate from the High Court. But, that certificate was found to be defective as the High Court had not given any reasons in support of the certificate. Thereafter, the department obtained special leave from this Court and filed Civil Appeal No. 1781of 1971.
3. Valuation date, as defined in the Act, at the relevant time, in Section 2(q), reads:
'Valuation date', in relation to any year for which an assessment is to be made under this Act, means the last day of the previous year as defined in Clause (11) of Section 2 of the Income-tax Act if an assessment were to be made under that Act for that year....
4. The expression 'previous year' as defined in Section 2(11) of the Indian Income-tax Act, 1922, reads:
2. (11) 'previous year' means-
(i) in respect of any separate source of income, profits and gains-
(a) the 12 months ending on the 31st day of March next preceding the year for which the assessment is to be made, or, if the accounts of the assessee have been made up to a date within the said twelve months in respect of a year ending on any date other than the said 31st day of March, then, at the option of the assessee, the year ending on the date to which his accounts have been so made up:
Provided that where in respect of a particular source of income, profits and gains, an assessee has once-been assessed,... he shall not, in respect of that source.... exercise the option given by this Sub-clause so as to vary the meaning of the expression 'previous year' as then applicable to him except with the consent of the Income-tax Officer and upon such conditions as the Income-tax Officer may think fit to impose;
5. Admittedly, if the assessee were to be assessed to income-tax under the Indian Income-tax Act, 1922, its previous year should have-been taken as the year ending 30th June, 1957. That being so, in our opinion, the relevant valuation date for the purpose of wealth-tax should also be taken as 30th June, 1957, in which case the assessment year would be 1958-59 and not 1957-58.
6. Mr. Karkhanis appearing for the department contended that for the purpose of assessing wealth-tax one should ordinarily take the 31st March of the previous year as the valuation date. This contention would have been acceptable but for the fact that with the consent of the department the assessee had changed its 'previous year' for the purpose of income-tax. Once the previous year of the assessee was changed for the purpose of income-tax it became incumbent on the part of the wealth-tax authorities to take the last date of that year as the valuation date. This is clearly required by the definition of the 'valuation date' in the Act.
7. In the result Civil Appeal No. 151 of 1969 is dismissed with no order as to costs as being incompetent on the ground that the same was brought on the strength of an invalid certificate, but Civil Appeal No. 1781 of 1971 is dismissed on merits. The department to pay the costs of the assessee in that appeal.