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M.N.C. Murugappa Chettiar and ors. Vs. Commr. of Income-tax, Madras - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectDirect Taxation
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCase Referred No. 12 of 1949
Judge
Reported inAIR1954Mad189; (1952)IIMLJ20
ActsIncome-tax Act, 1922 - Sections 2(9) and 3
AppellantM.N.C. Murugappa Chettiar and ors.
RespondentCommr. of Income-tax, Madras
Appellant AdvocateV. Balasubramaniam, Adv. for ;S. Swaminathan, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateC.S. Rama Rao Sahib, Adv.
Cases ReferredMurugappa Chetti & Sons v. Commr. of Income
Excerpt:
- .....by murugappa under the managing agency agreement after he became divided from his brother was joint family income in his hands of himself and his undivided son or was it an individual income. after a consideration of the various aspects of the question presented to this court in that reference, this court came to the conclusion that it was the individual income of murugappa and not the joint family income. the present reference relates to the income in the hands of chikkanna's sons. chikkanna died on 25-9-1945. thereafter there was a fresh agreement of managing agency between dhanalakshmi mills and murugappa and the four sons of chikkanna; as the sons became divided from chikkanna they undoubtedly inherited the properties of chikkanna as heirs-at-law of chikkanna and not as his.....
Judgment:

Satyanarayana Rao, J.

1. The Income-tax Appellate Tribunal made aconsolidated reference in four applicationsunder Section 66 (1), Income-tax Act referring thefollowing question to us for decision:

'Whether on the facts found or admitted, itwas rightly held that the share of incomederived by each of the applicants from theManaging agency business of DhanalakshmiMills Ltd., was the income of the Hinduundivided family comprising each of theapplicants and his respective sons?'

In - 'Murugappa Chetti & Sons v. Commr. of Income-tax', : [1952]21ITR319(Mad) (A) we had occasion to deal with an identical question relating to the assessment of another member of the same family as that of the applicants. There were two brothers Chikkanna Chettiar and Murugappa Chettiar. They entered into a partnership under the name and style of Messrs. M. Nanjappa Chettiar and Sons. They were appointed as managing agents of Dhanalakshmi Mills Ltd. under an agreement dated 12-5-1932, On 7-2-1941 there was a partition between the two branches of Murugappa and Chikkanna and also between Chikkanna and his four sons 'inter se'. The question that arose for decision in - ' : [1952]21ITR319(Mad) (A)' was whether the income earned by Murugappa Under the Managing agency agreement after he became divided from his brother was joint family income in his hands of himself and his undivided son or was it an individual income. After a consideration of the various aspects of the question presented to this Court in that reference, this Court came to the conclusion that it was the individual income of Murugappa and not the joint family income. The present reference relates to the income in the hands of Chikkanna's sons. Chikkanna died on 25-9-1945. Thereafter there was a fresh agreement of managing agency between Dhanalakshmi Mills and Murugappa and the four sons of Chikkanna; as the sons became divided from Chikkanna they undoubtedly inherited the properties of Chikkanna as heirs-at-law of Chikkanna and not as his coparceners. The Revenue authorities claimed that the incomeearned by each of the four sons of Chikkanna under, the managing agency agreement was the joint family property and was not their individual income. In this reference the question that again arises for consideration is whether the view taken by the Revenue authorities was correct.

2. It was claimed on behalf of the Income-tax Commissioner that the managing agency agreement was again entered into in 1945 with the sons of Chikkanna' as they happened to be the sons of Chikkanna and that therefore there was a devolution of the right of Chikkanna on his sons, which it is claimed, was an asset which partakes the character of joint family property. It is rather difficult to follow this argument. Merely because these four sons were appointed managing agents along with Murugappa, even assuming on the basis that they were the sons of Chikkanna who rendered service to the Mills, that does not convert the profits which they earned under the managing agency agreement property of the joint family. No question of utilisation of any of the joint family funds or of the joint family property arises. It is also further contended that the property of the family was risked because the assets of Chikkanna continued in the Mills even after his death and only thereafter the sons who inherited the property got it bach. But in the terms of the managing agency agreement of 1945, there is no obligation on the part of the managing agents either to advance money or keep any of the assets in the hands of the Mills as a condition precedent for exercising their rights under the agreement or for continuance of the agreement. In these circumstances it is difficult to find any legal basis for coming to the conclusion that the income earned by the four sons of Chikkanna under the Managing agency agreement is joint family property and not their individual income. For these and other reasons given by this Court in the judgment in - ' : [1952]21ITR319(Mad) (A)' we have no hesitation in answering the question referred to us against the Commissioner of Income-tax and in the negative. As the assessees have succeeded, they are entitled to costs, which we fix at Rs. 250/-.


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