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A. Muthukumara Pillai Vs. Commissioner of Income-tax - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectDirect Taxation
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberTax Case No. 134 of 1967 (Reference No. 47 of 1967)
Judge
Reported in[1974]96ITR557(Mad)
ActsIncome Tax Act, 1961 - Sections 43(5) and 73; Indian Contract Act, 1872 - Sections 30
AppellantA. Muthukumara Pillai
RespondentCommissioner of Income-tax
Appellant AdvocateS. Swaminathan and ;K. Ramagopal, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateV. Balasubrahmanyan and ;J. Jayaraman, Advs.
Cases ReferredBadridas Daga v. Commissioner of Income
Excerpt:
.....- claim on ground of business loss - no delivery of subject article effected in settlement of contract - contracts speculative transaction within meaning of section 43 (5) - section 73 prohibits setting off of any loss incurred in speculation business except against profits and gains of any other speculation business - loss claimed not allowable deduction. - - the nature of the transaction could be better desciibed with reference to one lot as an illustrative case. the assessee was unsuccessful before the appellate assistant commissioner and the tribunal. 16,000 the transactions clearly come within the definition and, therefore, they are speculative transactions. it is well-settled that when a claim is made for a deduction for which there is no specific provision in the act,..........linked contracts or combination sales and that on account of the ceiling in regard to 40's cotton yarn the assessee had to enter into this sort of linked or combined contracts to enable it to purchasers requirements of 40's. in the circumstances, therefore, it was submitted that the loss was inevitable and incidental to the carrying on of the business of the assessee.6. the tribunal held that there was absolutely no evidence to show that the supplier insisted as a condition precedent to the supply of 40's yarn that the assessee should enter into a contract in respect of the other counts. the price fixed in regard to the counts up to 40's appeared to be of voluntary nature and was enforced from january, 1961. the transactions now under consideration started only in september, 1961, up to.....
Judgment:

Ramaswami, J.

1. The assessee was a dealer in yarn. In the return of income of its business for the previous year ending April 12, 1962, corresponding to the assessment year 1962-63, it claimed a deduction of Rs. 16,000 as payments made in settlement of certain contracts entered into by it. The assessee had entered into seven contracts with Kothari Textiles Ltd. for the purchase of 180 bales of 40's yarn at Rs. 28.75 per bundle. A few days later and in one or two cases on the same day, after the contracts had been entered into, the assessee also entered into contracts for the purchase of 120 bales of 80's at Rs. 76.75. During the previous year the Indian Cotton Mills Federation, Bombay, had fixed a sort of an unofficial ceiling of price of cotton yarn up to 40's. The purchase price of Rs. 28.75 fixed under the contract above referred to was in accordance with the schedule of rates fixed by the Indian Cotton Federation. The nature of the transaction could be better desciibed with reference to one lot as an illustrative case. On April 4, 1962, the assessee-firm entered into a contract for the purchase of 20 bales of 40's at Rs. 28.75 and on the same day it also entered into another contract with the same company for purchase of 40 bales of 80's at Rs. 76 75. The assessee took delivery of the 20 bales of 40's but the contract for purchase of 40 bales of 80's was cancelled and a sum of Rs. 3,000 was paid to Kothari Textiles Ltd., representing the difference of price between the agreed contract rate of Rs. 76.75 and the market rate on the date ofcancellation. The yarn was not taken delivery of by the assessee under the contracts. The total payment to Kothari Textiles Ltd, in respect of all the transactions for 80's was Rs. 11,500. The assessee had also entered into a contract on March 16, 1962, for purchase of 50 bales of 50's at Rs. 42.50 with Shri Ramalinga Choodambikai Mills Ltd. This mills agreed to repurchase the contract and its letter dated March 16, 1962, reads as follows :

' As desired by Sri V. V. Balakrishnan of Madurai we send you enclosed the repurchasing contract in duplicate for 50 bales of 50's yarn together with the repurchase letter of which kindly send us one copy duly signed in token of confirmation. Please also send us the difference amount of Rs. 4,500 and the despatch instructions for 25 bales of 40's cotton yarn. On receipt of the above, we shall send our contract for 25 bales of 40's cotton yarn.'

2. As per this arrangement of repurchase the contract dated March 16, 1962, was settled and without effecting any delivery a sum of Rs. 4,500 was paid by the assessee to Shri Ramalinga Choodambikai Mills on March 25, 1962. On March 29, 1962, the.assessee entered into a contract for the purchase of 25 bales of 40's at Rs. 28'25 per bundle. It is stated that the assessee had taken delivery of 25 bales of 40's. The assessee claimed the total sum of Rs. 16,000 (Rs. 11,500 + Rs. 4,500) as a business loss.

3. The Income-tax Officer treated the payment of Rs. 16,000 as loss in speculation on the ground that the assessee-firm had not taken delivery of the yarn covered by these contracts. He also pointed out that the assessee was a speculator as was clear from the assessment of the prior years. Accordingly, he disallowed the claim and held the loss as a speculation loss that could be carried over and set off against speculative profits of the subsequent years. The assessee was unsuccessful before the Appellate Assistant Commissioner and the Tribunal. The Tribunal held that it had not. been proved that it was necessary for the assessee to enter into such contracts for the purpose of carrying on the trade and that the contract for 40's and the contracts for other counts could not be treated as ' linked ' contracts. The Tribunal also held that since no delivery of the yarn was given and the contracts were settled by payment of the amount, the contracts were speculative transactions within the meaning of Section 43(5) of the Income-tax Act, 1961 (hereinafter called 'the Act')- At the instance of the assessee the following question has been referred by the Tribunal :

' Whether, on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, the sum of Rs. 16,000 paid by the assessee-firm to Kothari Mills and Ramalinga Choodambikai Mills Ltd. is an admissible expense or did it constitute loss in speculation '

4. Section 43(5) of the Act defines a ' speculative transaction ' as meaning a transaction in which a contract for the purchase or sale of any commodity including stocks and shares is periodically or ultimately settled otherwise than by the actual delivery or transfer of the commodity or the scrips. It is seen from this definition that the section gives a simple test in deciding for the purpose of income-tax what a speculative transaction means. If a contract for sale or purchase is ultimately settled and no actual delivery of the goods was effected under the settlement then it is a speculative transaction. The requirement under Section 30 of the Contract Act of the existence of the intention of the parties even at the time of original contract not to give or take delivery of the goods to make it a speculative or wagering transaction is dispensed with for the purpose of income-tax. If the actual delivery of the goods is not given under the settlement of the contract, then the intention of the parties at the time of the contract is immaterial. Since the delivery of goods was not effected in the settlement of the contracts which resulted in payment of Rs. 16,000 the transactions clearly come within the definition and, therefore, they are speculative transactions.

5. But it was contended by the learned counsel for the assessee that the assessee-firm had entered into contracts for the purchase of more than one variety of yarn, that the entire series of transactions should be taken as linked contracts or combination sales and that on account of the ceiling in regard to 40's cotton yarn the assessee had to enter into this sort of linked or combined contracts to enable it to purchasers requirements of 40's. In the circumstances, therefore, it was submitted that the loss was inevitable and incidental to the carrying on of the business of the assessee.

6. The Tribunal held that there was absolutely no evidence to show that the supplier insisted as a condition precedent to the supply of 40's yarn that the assessee should enter into a contract in respect of the other counts. The price fixed in regard to the counts up to 40's appeared to be of voluntary nature and was enforced from January, 1961. The transactions now under consideration started only in September, 1961, up to November, 1961 and January to March, 1962. The assessee's purchase of 40's is to the tune of Rs. 14,00,435 and is much more than those represented by the speculative contracts. A linking of the two contracts is not based on any material. There was no material to show such a linking. It cannot, therefore, be said that it was necessary to enter into such contracts for the purpose of carrying on the trade. The Tribunal was also of the view that the letter dated March 16, 1962, of Ramalinga Choodambikai Mills did not also evidence such a linking in the sense that the supply of 40's was a condition precedent to the assessee agreeing for purchase of 50's by the mills. This is a finding of fact and cannot be challenged in this reference.

7. We are also of the view that the necessity for entering into such contracts or the reason for settling the same by payment of difference in prices is immaterial. If the settlement of the contract was otherwise than by actual delivery of the goods then Section 43(5) of the Act is attracted. The section is not qualified in any manner except as regards delivery of the goods in pursuance of the settlement.

8. It was not the case of the assessee that even if the transactions are construed as speculative they are not in the nature of speculation business. We have held in similar circumstances in T.C. No. 130/67, R. Chinnaswami Chettiar v. Commissioner of Income-tax : [1974]96ITR353(Mad) that it would amount to a speculation business. Section 73 of the Act says that the losses in speculation business shall not be set off except against profits and gains of another speculation business. The learned counsel for the assessee relied on Badridas Daga v. Commissioner of Income-tax, : [1958]34ITR10(SC) and contended that the loss is one that springs directly from carrying on the business or at least it is incidental to it and, therefore, having regard to the accepted commercial practice and trading principles, it will have to be set off against the other income. It is well-settled that when a claim is made for a deduction for which there is no specific provision in the Act, whether it is admissible or not will depend on whether having regard to the accepted commercial practice and trading principles it can be said to arise out of the carrying on of the business and to be incidental to it. But, as the Supreme Court itself had pointed out, ' if that is established then the deduction must be allowed provided of course there is no prohibition against it express or implied in the Act'. Section 73, as already pointed out, prohibits the setting off of any loss incurred in speculation business except against profits and gains, if any, of another speculation business. Clearly, therefore, the loss of Rs. 16,000 is not an allowable deduction.

9. We are also unable to accept the contention of the assessee that the sum of Rs. 16,000 paid by the assessee to the said mills was an expenditure incurred for the purpose of carrying on the assessee's trade. In view of our finding that these transactions were speculative transactions and the sum of Rs. 16,000 was a speculation loss, this point does not even arise for consideration. We, therefore, hold that the sum of Rs. 16,000 constitutes a loss in speculation. We answer the question accordingly and against the assessee The respondent will be entitled to his costs. Counsel's fee Rs. 250.


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