1. This D.B. wealth-tax reference application under Section 27(3) of the Wealth-tax Act in respect of the assessment year 1970-71 against the order of the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal in WTA No. 313/JP/1979, dated August 8, 1981, has been preferred before this court. Earlier, the Tribunal was moved to make a reference under Section 27(1) of the Wealth-tax Act, but the Tribunal declined to make a reference, vide its order dated January 29, 1980 (sic).
2. The return of net wealth was due to be filed on or before June 30, 1970, but it was filed on November 15, 1971. Proceedings were initiated by the Wealth-tax Officer under Section 18(1)(a) of the Wealth-tax Act. The Wealth-tax Officer was not satisfied with the explanation offered by the assessee and levied penalty of Rs. 19,144 under Section 18(1)(a) of the Act An appeal was preferred by the assessee before the Appellate Assistant Commissioner, The Appellate Assistant Commissioner confirmed the order passed by the Wealth-tax Officer. The assessee preferred a second appeal before the Tribunal. The assessee contended that her wealth consists, inter alia, of jewellery for personal use worth Rs. 1,40,000 and deposits with her late husband amounting to Rs. 74,221. Excluding the value of the aforesaid assets, the wealth is admittedly below the taxable limit. The assessee further submitted that there was no knowledge about the taxability of the aforesaid two assets and, therefore, the belief was formed that the wealth was below the taxable limit. It was also contended that only after the Finance Act, 1971, came into force was personal jewellery made taxable. The petitioner was not conscious of the fact that the personal jewellery was taxable. The Tribunal, vide its order dated August 8, 1981, accepted the second appeal preferred by the assessee. On the explanation of the assessee, the Tribunal found that it appears that she was prevented from filing the return by reasonable cause.
3. On behalf of the Revenue, it was contended that the assessee having moved an application under Section 18(2)(a) admitted the default and, therefore, could not argue otherwise under the order under appeal. The contention of the assessee was accepted and the order of the lower tribunal was reversed.
4. Mr. H.P. Gupta, appearing on behalf of the assessee, has pointed out that in D.B. Wealth-tax Reference No. 164 of 1981, decided on September 9, 1985--CWT v. Rajmata Smt. Geeta Kumari , this court has accepted the finding of the Tribunal for the assessment year 1971-72. We have perused the order of the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal as well as the orders passed by the lower authority and, we are in agreement with the view taken by the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal by its order dated August 8, 1981. The question of fact cannot be agitated before this court in a reference. The question whether it was a reasonable belief is a question of fact which cannot be disturbed unless it is a case of no evidence, or any substantial question of law is involved in the matter of interpretation of law. In the instant case, no substantial question of law is involved. There might be a possibility that in recent years, a higher authority may have a different view while appreciating the evidence, but it cannot be said to be a case of no evidence as the evidence exists on record. There is a clear finding of fact that the assessee filed the return under a bona fide and reasonable belief late or in time. This court has already decided in CWT v. Rajamata Smt. Geeta Kumari and the matter stands decided. We are in agreement with the view taken by hon'ble Agrawal and M.B. Sharma JJ. We are of the view that the Tribunal was justified in rejecting the application for making a reference on the ground that no question of law arises from the order dated August 8, 1981, inasmuch as the question as to whether the explanation offered by the assessee for late filing of the return was reasonable or not, is a pure question of fact. In the instant case, the Tribunal has held that the said explanation given by the assessee was reasonable and the assessee acted bona fide in not filing the return till November, 1971. In our opinion, therefore, no ground is made out for directing the Tribunal to refer to this court the question mentioned in the application. The application is, therefore, dismissed with no order as to costs.