1. The decision of the single judge appealed against in the first of these appeals is reported as C. P. A. Yoosuf v. Income-tax Officer, Kottayam,  77 I.T.R. 237 (Ker.), and the said decision has been followed in another writ petition, the judgment in which is questioned in the second of the appeals. In both the cases, the assessees are purchasers of rubber trees for slaughter-tapping ; and the single judge construing the documents of purchase, has held that, under these documents, the purchasers derived no interest in the land and what they derived was only a right to the trees. And in view of that, the learned judge has held that the income derived by the purchasers of the trees from slaughter-tapping was not agricultural income.
2. The Government Pleader has not been able to impress us as to how the decision of the single judge (in Yoosufs case) is erroneous, in view of the recitals in the relevant documents of purchase in these cases. The Government Pleader has, however, pointed out that there are some observations by the single judge in the judgment under appeal in the first case, which might suggest that a purchaser of rubber trees for slaughter-tapping will not be liable for agricultural income-tax under any circumstances. The Government Pleader has also brought to our notice the decision of a Division Bench of this court in Commissioner of Agricultural Income-tax v. George Varghese & Co.,  90 I.T.R. 496 (Ker.) (I.T.R. No. 13 of 1970), wherein also the assessee was a purchaser of rubber trees who derived income from slaughter-tapping. In paragraph 9 of the said Division Bench ruling, the learned judges have pointed out the difference between a case where the owner of the land and the trees derived income from slaughter-tapping and a purchaser of the trees alone (without any right in the land) derived income from slaughter-tapping. The learned judges have also referred to the earlier Division Bench ruling in E. J. John v. State of Kerala (I.T.Rs. Nos. 76 and 77 of 1965), where the assessee was the owner of the land and the trees and he derived income from slaughter-tapping; the Division Bench pointed out that, in such a case, the income derived from the latex obtained by slaughter-tapping would be agricultural income, but the income derived from the sale of the trees would be only capital receipt. Obviously, there is distinction between the two types of cases; and the observation of the single judge in the decision now under appeal in the first case (C. P. A. Yoosufs case) cannot cover a case like E. /. John's case. The Government Pleader has gone further and has contended that these general observations should not be allowed to govern even in a case where there is indication, though not in the document of sale itself, that the purchase was not merely of the trees, but the parties intended to convey some interest in the land also. Probably, in such a case also, the principle laid down in E. J. John's case may have to be followed.
3. In view of the fact that the documents of purchase and the circumstances in these cases reveal that the assessees derived no interest in the land, the decision of the single judge is correct. And the writ appeals are dismissed, however, without costs.