D.K. Kapur, J.
1. The question involved in this case which is a reference application by the Commissioner of Income-tax, is whether rule 1BB of the Wealth-tax Rules, 1957, applies to assessment made earlier which were pending either in appeal or otherwise or, whether the said rule applies only to assessments made after the date on which the rule came into operation. Mr. Sharma opposing the reference submits that this is obviously a procedural amendment and is not different from other amendments made in the Rules. The question suggested by the Commissioner of Wealth-tax is as follows :
'Whether, on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal was justified in holding that rule 1BB framed by the Central Board of Direct Taxes under powers available under section 46 which was operative with effect from April 1, 1979, has retrospective operation ?'
2. We think that this question should be reformed and we would accordingly direct the Tribunal to state the case on the following question :
'Whether, on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal was justified in holding that rule 1BB of the Wealth-tax Rules framed with effect from April 1, 1979, applied to prior proceedings pending before the Wealth-tax authorities on that date ?'
3. So far as the other question proposed by the Tribunal is concerned, regarding the raising of additional grounds of appeal, the answer seems self-evident and we would decline overact a reference regarding the same.
4. Mr. Sharma has, at this stage, made an important suggestion regarding the retroactive operation of rule 1BB. He submits that a very large number of persons own property to which rule 1BB applies and we would be merely multiplying proceedings in this court, if we failed to answer this question in a very short time. He also submits that the answer is in reality self-evident. We would, accordingly direct the Tribunal to state this case within a month. For this purpose, it is enough if the paper book is cyclostyled by the parties and the case is listed within three months for final disposal, as several hundreds of cases of a similar type are pending in this court, and all other cases in which a similar reference has been ordered, may be listed by the Registry along with this case, so that the whole set of cases can be decided together.
5. The parties may seek directions if they find any difficulty in compliance.
6. The parties will bear their own costs.