RAJAGOPALAN, J. - The facts are not in controversy. They lie within a brief compass, and, as they have been set out in the statement of the case, we do not propose to set them out over again.
The contention of the learned counsel for the Department, that there is no provision for reducing the total world income by the earned income relief for the purpose of section 17(1), is well-founded, and must prevail. Section 15A Makes it clear that the total income has to be reduced by the earned income only for the purpose of income-tax, and that the income so reduced is to be deemed to be the total income. On a reading of section 15A it should be obvious that the earned income relief does not enter into the computation of the total income world income. With reference to section 17(1), neither the computation of the world income nor the computation of the total income of the assessee comes into play. We take the computed total world income and the computed total income, and the total world income has then to be taken into account only for the purpose of ascertaining the rate applicable to the total income in the case of a non-resident. From what we have said above, it should be clear that there is no scope for reducing the total world income by the earned income relief for the purpose of ascertaining the total world income. The total world income is to be taken into account only for the purpose of ascertaining the rate. Learned counsel for the assessee contended that the use of the expression 'had it been his total income' kin section 17(1) should be construed to reduce the total work income by the earned income relief, because the concept of the total world income is the reduced income, as section 15A made it clear. We are unable to accept that contention. Section 17(1) by itself enacts no legal fiction. The concepts of the total world income and total income, as defined by the statute, are clear. They have to be considered for the purpose specified in section 17(1), to ascertain the rate applicable to the total income, and the other standard is the total world income. The total world income is the total world income unreduced by any earned income relief. The Tribunal, in our opinion, was in error. Learned counsel for the Department drew our attention was to the provisions of section 17(5). That only strengthens the conclusion we have reached, independent of the provisions of section 17(5).
The question referred to this court under section 66(1) will be answered in the negative and in favour of the Department.
Obviously, it is a question of principle that was fought out by the Department. We find that the difference in tax would be a little less than Rs. 50. We do not think this is a case where any costs ought to be awarded, even though the Department has succeeded.
Question answered in the negative.