LEACH, C.J. - The petitioner is the official Receiver of Ramnad and in that capacity represents the estate of one P. P. V. CT. Chidambaram Chettiar. For the year 1941-1942 the petitioner was assessed to income-tax on the income the estate. The petitioner challenged the correctness of the assessment and appealed, first to the Assistant Commissioner of Income-tax and then to the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal, Madras, in each case unsuccessfully. The order of the Appellate Tribunal dismissing his appeal was received by the petitioner on the 12th May, 1944. He was of the opinion that the question involved was one which justified a reference to the High Court under Section 66 (1) of the Income-tax Act, but before taking steps in this direction he desired to have the sanction of the Subordinate Judge of Devakottai. Sanction was obtained and the petition was presented at the office of the Appellate Tribunal in Madras on the 11th July, 1944, the last day of the period of limitation. Section 66 (1) provides a period of 60 days for such an application.
Rule 14 of the Appellate Tribunal Rules requires an appeal to be presented in person or by a representative to the Registrar at Bombay or to some person authorised in that behalf by the Registrar, but adds that an appeal which is received in the office of the Registrar by post within the prescribed, period of limitation shall be deemed to have been validly presented. Rule 14 is in Part IV of the Rules. Rule 45 says that subject to the provisions of Part VI, the provisions of Parts III and IV shall apply to the presentation, notices and hearing of an application for reference as if it were an appeal. There is no provision in the Rules for the presentation of an appeal or an application for reference to the Tribunal itself. In these circumstances the Madras office of the Appellate Tribunal refused to receive the application presented on the 11th July, 1944, with the result that the petitioner posted it to the Registrar at Bombay where it was received out of time. The Tribunal refused to make the reference because the period of limitation had expired and it had no power to extend the period. The petitioner has now applied to this Court under Section 66 (3) for an order directing the Appellate Tribunal to treat the application as having been made in time.
Sub-section (3) of Section 66 states that if on an application being made under sub-section (1), the Appellate Tribunal rejects it on the ground that it is time-barred, the assessee or the Commissioner, as the case may be, may within two months from the date on which he is served with notice of the rejection, apply to the High Court, and the high Court if it is not satisfied of the correctness of the Appellate Tribunals decision, may require the Appellate Tribunal to treat the application as made within the time allowed under sub-section (1). Therefore the Court can only act under sub-section (3), if it is not satisfied of the correctness of the Appellate Tribunals decision. If it is satisfied that the decision is correct, no order can be passed. Undoubtedly the order of the Appellate Tribunal was correct. Rule 14 is mandatory and the application for a reference by the Appellate Tribunal could only be filed in accordance with the rule. The position my be a hard one for the petitioner, but the rules must be interpreted according to the language used therein. The petitioner would appears to have had ample time in which in which to make the application, but whether he had or not makes no difference to the position.
The application is dismissed. We make no order as to costs.