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M.K.C. Nabeesa Beevi Vs. Agricultural Income-tax Officer and Sales Tax Officer and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectDirect Taxation
CourtKerala High Court
Decided On
Case NumberO.P. No. 3969 of 1982
Judge
Reported in(1985)44CTR(Ker)66; [1987]163ITR78(Ker)
ActsKerala Agricultural Income Tax Act, 1950 - Sections 18(3)
AppellantM.K.C. Nabeesa Beevi
RespondentAgricultural Income-tax Officer and Sales Tax Officer and anr.
Appellant Advocate T.P. Varghese, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateGovernment Pleader
Excerpt:
- - the assessee submitted that the yield in that year was reduced to 50 per cent, in view of some disease (azhukal) and the crop was poor......cultivation expenses and dismissed the revision in other respects. respondent no. 2 affrmed the yield estimated by the officer on 4 groups including the plants which were aged 13 and 15 years' old. the assessee impugns exhibits p-1 and p-2 orders.3. mr. t.p. varghese counsel for the petitioner, assails exhibits p-1 and p-2 orders as arbitrary and illegal. the estimate, it is said, is a pure conjecture. respondent no. 2 did not consider the matter independently much less did he apply his mind to the specific question raised in this case to the effect that the cardamom yield was not estimated by the officer properly on the basis of the plants, that there was no inspection of the plots in the instant case and that the estimate is unscientific and unreal and totally ignores exhibit p-3.....
Judgment:

K.S. Paripoornan, J.

1. The petitioner is an assessee to agricultural income-tax. For the year 1979-80, she was assessed under Section 18(3) of the Act on a total income of Rs. 54,235. The yield was mainly from cardamom estate. In estimating the yield, the Agricultural Income-tax Officer, Kumily, respondent No. 1, classified them under 4 groups :

1st group : plants up to 9 years' old--3.50 acres

2nd group : plants 11 to 13 years' old--1.50 acres

3rd group : plants 10 years' old--6.00 acres

4th group : plants 15 years' old--2.00 acres

2. For the pre-assessment notice, the assessee filed detailed objections which is available at page 25 of the assessment files. The assessee submitted that the yield in that year was reduced to 50 per cent, in view of some disease (azhukal) and the crop was poor. She also specifically objected to the estimate made on plants which were 10 years' old and 13 years' old. It is common ground that no inspection of the assessee's properties was conducted by the officer. It seems that the officer conducted enquiries in the locality and also inspected some other estate in the locality. Based thereon, he gave some deduction in the yield as in similar cases. Aggrieved by the assessment, the assessee filed a revision before respondent No. 2 and contended that the estimate of the cardamom yield was not made on scientific basis much less bearing in mind the age of the plants, that there was no inspection of the plots, that the expenses allowed are very low and that the expenses incurred under salary have been limited without any basis. Respondent No. 2 in A.I.T.R.P. No. 1257 of 1981 by order dated March 3, 1982, evidenced by Exhibit P-2, allowed a nominal increase in the cultivation expenses and dismissed the revision in other respects. Respondent No. 2 affrmed the yield estimated by the officer on 4 groups including the plants which were aged 13 and 15 years' old. The assessee impugns Exhibits P-1 and P-2 orders.

3. Mr. T.P. Varghese counsel for the petitioner, assails Exhibits P-1 and P-2 orders as arbitrary and illegal. The estimate, it is said, is a pure conjecture. Respondent No. 2 did not consider the matter independently much less did he apply his mind to the specific question raised in this case to the effect that the cardamom yield was not estimated by the officer properly on the basis of the plants, that there was no inspection of the plots in the instant case and that the estimate is unscientific and unreal and totally ignores Exhibit P-3 guidelines issued by the Board of Revenue dated December 3, 1980.

4. On behalf of the respondents, a detailed counter-affidavit dated March 29, 1984, has been filed. It is broadly stated that the Revenue seeks to sustain Exhibits P-1 and P-2 orders on the ground that the estimate was made on the basis of previous records and assessments and a detailed enquiry was conducted at the time of inspection of an estate of the same group in the same locality. It is also the contention of the respondents that Exhibit P-3 guidelines are not conclusive and so the estimate made is fair and proper. I see considerable force in the contentions of the petitioner. It is true that Exhibit P-3 is only a guideline issued by the Board of Revenue. It is specifically stated therein that the yield will be reduced considerably from 10th year onwards. It is significant that the guidelines state that in the 12th year there will be replanting. The guidelines are not conclusive. But they are relevant and material for the purpose of estimating the yield. It is for the assessing authority to state the reasons as to why the guidelines are not accepted or acceptable. That has not been done in this case either by respondent No. 1 or by respondent No. 2. In the light of the guidelines indicated in Exhibit P-3 that the yield in the 10th year onwards will be considerably less and from the 12th year there will be replantation, there is no material in this case to show that the yield fixed for plants which are aged 11 to 13 years is based on any material and that the yield fixed for 15 year old plants is in any way sustainable. There may be cases where even after the 12th year, there will be plants still yielding. The income may be less. There is nothing to interdict the officer from including the income from such plants, however low it may be. But the more fundamental question is, 'was there' any yield from the plants which were 12 years' old or even more That aspect was neither adverted to nor adjudicated by the respondents in Exhibits P-1 and P-2. Exhibit P-1 is also subject to a further infirmity. The estimate has not been made either bearing in mind the guidelines or after inspection of the property in question. The estimate in Exhibit P-1 for 10-year old plants or more is not based on any material. In fact, the proper material, i.e., Exhibit P-3 guidelines, issued by the Board of Revenue, does not seem to have been borne in mind by respondents Nos. 1 and 2. The estimate in the circumstances is arbitrary. It cannot be sustained. I quash Exhibit P-2 order passed in revision by the 2nd respondent. Respondent No. 2 is directed to restore A.I.T.R.P. No. 1257 of 1981 to his file and dispose of the revision in accordance with law. I make it clear that respondent No. 2 is not fettered by the specifications or fixation of yield fixed in Exhibit P-3 guidelines. If the respondents want to deviate from the guidelines contained in Exhibit P-3 it is for them to further allege and/or substantiate proper material therefor.

5. If the petitioner has complied with the order passed by this court in C.M.P. No. 11326 of 1982 dated June 9, 1982, there will be no further collection of tax till the revision is disposed of by respondent No. 2 in accordance with law.

6. The original petition is allowed to the above extent. No costs.


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