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Commissioner of Income-tax Vs. Heeralal Maliram - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectDirect Taxation
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Case NumberD.B. Civil Income-tax Case No. 148 of 1970
Judge
Reported in[1972]84ITR92(Raj)
ActsIncome Tax Act, 1961 - Sections 256(2)
AppellantCommissioner of Income-tax
RespondentHeeralal Maliram
Appellant Advocate S.C. Bhandari, Adv.
Respondent Advocate S.K. Kackkar and; P.K. Bhansali, Advs.
Cases ReferredJanki Sao v. Commissioner of Income
Excerpt:
- - she has also pointed out that her father-in-law is also well placed in life and naturally she had been receiving gifts and that she had been married for about 28 years. having considered the decision of the appellate tribunal and the order refusing to state the case, we are satisfied that no question of law arises out of the order of the tribunal......arising under the hindu law that a property purchased in the name of a member of a joint hindu family should be treated as joint family property, unless it is proved to have been purchased out of the self-acquired property of a member of the hindu family. reliance was placed upon a decision of the patna high court in janki sao v. commissioner of income-tax, [1958] 33 i.t.r. 835 (pat.). in that case the tribunal found that the junior member had no profession or independent source of income. explanation given by him was proved false. in these circumstances, the tribunal raised a presumption against the joint hindu family and treated the property as a part of the joint hindu family. in maintaining the decision of the appellate tribunal, the patna high court made the observations.....
Judgment:

Chhangani, J.

1. This is an application by the Commissioner of Income-tax, Rajasthan, Jaipur, under Section 256(2) of the Income-tax Act, 1961, praying that the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal (Delhi Bench 'B '), New Delhi, be called upon to state the case and refer the following question to the High Court for answer :

' Whether, on the facts and circumstances of the case, the Tribunal was right in holding that the property acquired in the name of Smt. Rukmani Devi, a member of the Hindu undivided family, did not belong to the assessee and also in excluding the unexplained investment in such property along with the rental income from the assessee's total income? '

The assessee is a Hindu undivided family. The assessment for the year 1956-57 was completed and the assessee's income was determined at Rs. 1,25,000. Subsequently, the Income-tax Officer was of the opinion that the assessee had purchased the house property in the name of Smt. Rukmani Devi, wife of Shri Maliram, during the relevant previous year. He, therefore, reopened the assessment under Section 147(a) of the Income-tax Act, 1961. Before the Income-tax Officer it was contended on behalfof Smt. Rukmini Devi that the house was purchased by her out of her ' stridhan ' property obtained from her father and brothers. The Income-tax Officer did not accept the version of Smt. Rukmini Devi. The Appellate Assistant Commissioner also upheld the decision of the Income-tax Officer. On appeal, the Appellate Tribunal came to a contrary conclusion. In coming to the contrary conclusion, the Appellate Tribunal observed as follows :

'The lady has explained that she was the only daughter of her parents and that she had six brothers who used to give her presents so that she had been receiving such gifts from time to time. She had also stated that on the death of her father a gift of Rs. 5,000 was received and that her father was a millionaire. She has also pointed out that her father-in-law is also well placed in life and naturally she had been receiving gifts and that she had been married for about 28 years. Taking into account all the circumstances, therefore, the above explanation cannot be said to be entirely unbelievable. On the other hand, we do not find that there is anything on record which go to show that the investment had been made by the Hindu undivided family. '

On the basis of these facts, the Appellate Tribunal reversed the decision of the Income-tax Officer and the Appellate Assistant Commissioner of Income-tax and held that the house could not be treated as the joint family property. The Commissioner of Income-tax put in an application to the Appellate Tribunal requesting that the case may be stated and the question may be referred to the High Court for answer. The Appellate Tribunal rejected the application observing that the decision of the Tribunal was based on appreciation of facts and evidence produced before it. Aggrieved by the order of the Tribunal not to refer the case to this court, the petitioner has filed the present application.

2. The counsel for the petitioner vehemently contended that the Appellate Tribunal did not give adequate consideration to a presumption arising under the Hindu law that a property purchased in the name of a member of a joint Hindu family should be treated as joint family property, unless it is proved to have been purchased out of the self-acquired property of a member of the Hindu family. Reliance was placed upon a decision of the Patna High Court in Janki Sao v. Commissioner of Income-tax, [1958] 33 I.T.R. 835 (Pat.). In that case the Tribunal found that the junior member had no profession or independent source of income. Explanation given by him was proved false. In these circumstances, the Tribunal raised a presumption against the joint Hindu family and treated the property as a part of the joint Hindu family. In maintaining the decision of the Appellate Tribunal, the Patna High Court made the observations relied upon by thecounsel for the petitioner. In my opinion, the observations rest upon the peculiar facts of that case and can have no bearing on the present case, when the Tribunal appeared to have accepted Smt. Rukmini Devi's version that she had sources of income on account of presents from her father and brothers. Having considered the decision of the Appellate Tribunal and the order refusing to state the case, we are satisfied that no question of law arises out of the order of the Tribunal.

3. The application is rejected.

4. There will be no order as to costs.


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