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The Commissioner of Income-tax Vs. Massey and Co. Ltd. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectDirect Taxation
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1929Mad453; (1929)1MLJ451
AppellantThe Commissioner of Income-tax
RespondentMassey and Co. Ltd.
Cases ReferredLimited v. Lethem
Excerpt:
- - lethem (1912) 6 tax cases 91. that was a very strong court consisting of the lord justice clerk, lord dundas, lord salvesen and lord guthrie. it is sufficient to say that i have scrutinised them very carefully with the aid of counsel and that i am quite clearly of opinion that there is no material difference in the language and that, whatever was intended to be effected, the scope of the indian act is absolutely the same as that of the english act. that to my mind is precisely what the income-tax officer is trying to do in this case and for the reasons given by the scottish court i decline to accede to that course being adopted......lethem (1912) 6 tax cases 91. that was a very strong court consisting of the lord justice clerk, lord dundas, lord salvesen and lord guthrie. therefore i should feel myself constrained and do feel myself constrained to follow those eminent judges unless it can shown that there is either something on the facts to distinguish this case from that or that there is a material variation in the language respectively of the indian and the corresponding english section. i say advisedly material because indian draftsmen for some reason are always making little changes of language which do not mean anything at all vital to the true construction of the act. with regard to the facts i am unable to see that anybody could argue that there is the slightest distinction between the relation of massey &.....
Judgment:

Murray Coutts Trotter, Kt., C.J.

1. The only question I propose to ask myself in this case is whether or no there is anything to distinguish it from the Scottish case of The Scottish Shire, Line, Limited v. Lethem (1912) 6 Tax Cases 91. That was a very strong Court consisting of the Lord Justice Clerk, Lord Dundas, Lord Salvesen and Lord Guthrie. Therefore I should feel myself constrained and do feel myself constrained to follow those eminent Judges unless it can shown that there is either something on the facts to distinguish this case from that or that there is a material variation in the language respectively of the Indian and the corresponding English section. I say advisedly material because Indian draftsmen for some reason are always making little changes of language which do not mean anything at all vital to the true construction of the Act. With regard to the facts I am unable to see that anybody could argue that there is the slightest distinction between the relation of Massey & Co., Ltd. here to the Madras Engineering Works and the relation between the Scottish Shire Line, Limited and the Elderslie Steamship Co., Ltd. of the Scottish case.

2. The only other question is, can we find any difference between the language of the Indian Act, with which we are concerned and the language of the Finance Act, 1907, on which the Scottish case was a decision? I am not going to read the two sections at length. It is sufficient to say that I have scrutinised them very carefully with the aid of counsel and that I am quite clearly of opinion that there is no material difference in the language and that, whatever was intended to be effected, the scope of the Indian Act is absolutely the same as that of the English Act. I am therefore of opinion that this case is quite indistinguishable from the Scottish case and that the reasoning of the learned Judges there apply directly to our case. One consideration to which I am referring is put forward in Lord Guthrie's judgment at page 100. What he says is this:

It appears to me that the argument of the Surveyor of Taxes has neither probability nor equity in its favour, because he proposes to treat the appellant company as identical with or as the successors of the Elderslie Steamship Co., Ltd. (called the old company in the case) for one revenue purpose, and neither as identical with nor as the successors of the old company for another and not remotely related revenue purpose.

3. Similar passages are to be found in the other two learned Judges' judgments. That to my mind is precisely what the Income-tax Officer is trying to do in this case and for the reasons given by the Scottish Court I decline to accede to that course being adopted. The answer therefore to the first question is in the affirmative; the answer to the second is that the calculation must be made on the original cost to the Madras Engineering Works and not on the value at which the buildings, machinery, etc., were taken over by Massey & Co. The answer to the third is in the negative.

4. The Crown will pay Rs. 250 costs to the assessees and refund Rs. 100.

Odgers, J.

5. I agree.

Beasley, J.

6. I agree.


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