1. These petitions for certiorari are directed against orders of the Agricultural Income-tax Officer, Palayamcottai, made under Section 35 of the Madras Agricultural Income-tax Act, 1955, as amended, and relate, to the assessment years 1959-60, 1992-63 and 1963-64. In O. S. No. 19 of 1950, on the file of the court of the subordinate judge at Tirunelveli, the petitioner was appointed as a receiver for the estate of late M. D. T. Ranganatha Mudaliar. A preliminary decree appears to havebeen passed in the suit declaring that the adopted son and widow of the deceased were entitled to the estate in equal moieties. For 1959-60, the net agricultural income from the estate was fixed at Rs. 25,990 and apportioning the same equally as between the deceased's son and widow in accordance with the terms of the preliminary decree passed on July 29, 1960, the net income of each was determined at Rs. 12,995 and the tax applicable to the amount was levied. It may be seen that, though the receiver submitted a single return, the two members were assessed as individuals. On the ground that there was some audit objection to this method of assessment, the Agricultural Income-tax Officer, after notice to the receiver under Section 35, proceeded to revise the assessment and charged the total income to tax, treating the receiver as a unit of assessment. The facts are similar to the other two years except for the figures.
2. It seems to us that the petitions are well-founded- Section 3 charges for every year tax on the total agricultural income for the previous year of every person. ' Person' is defined to mean an individual or an association of individuals owning or holding property for himself or for any other. That may be as agent or receiver. Section 8(1) is specific that the tax shall be levied upon and recoverable from the receiver in like manner and to the same extent as it would be leviable upon and recoverable from the person on whose behalf such agricultural income is received and all the provisions of the Act should apply accordingly. Nothing can be clearer than this provision that the receiver has no status of his own for purposes of the Act, except that he represents as an agent or trustee of the estate of another. When the receiver is assessed, the status in which the assessment is to be made should follow the status of the person or persons who are entitled to or possess the lands and to receive the income therefrom, but actually, by virtue of his office, the receiver receives the income. That is the basis for assessing the receiver for convenience under the Act and he only reflects the status of the person whom he represents in relation to the estate and the income derived therefrom which is brought to charge.
3. The petitions are allowed with costs, one set. Counsel's fee Rs. 250.