K. Veeraswami J.
1. The petitioner seeks, under Article 226 of the Constitution a direction to the Agricultural Income-tax Officer, Tiruthuraipundi, to accept the composition application dated 25th May, 1964 and levy the composition fees on its basis. T.M.S. Mohamed Abdul Khadar died on 18th February, 1964. For the year 1963-64, he was allowed to compound agricultural Income-tax payable on his entire estate. During his life-time, he had made certain gifts and after his death his heirs on whom his assets devolved in defined shares under their personal law, applied as tenants in common for composition of the tax. The Agricultural Income-tax Officer, by his communication dated 26th May, 1965, informed the petitioner that since Mohamed Abdul Khader had died at the fag end of the accounting year 1963-64, his entire lands should have to be assessed in the hands of his legal representatives taken jointly. He proceeded to say:
It is proposed to levy composition fees for all the lands in the name of T. M. Abdul Ghani as it was done in the previous year 1963-64.
2. The Officer, therefore, requested the applicants, for consent to proceed accordingly. It is in this background, the direction in the writ petition is sought.
3. An examination of the compounding provisions in the Madras Agricultural Income-tax Act, 1955, as amended in 1958, leads us to the conclusion that they do not contemplate compounding for broken periods. The charge to agricultural Income-tax for any year is levied in respect of the agricultural income of the previous year. But the compounding fee is computed not on the basis of such income but of the extent of the holding. The compounding fee is fixed at so much for so much holding on a progressive scale. Where a holder of land who derives agricultural income dies in the middle of an accounting year and the estate devolves not by transfer but by succession on more heirs of his than one, the provisions relating to compounding of tax do not cover such cases. It is possible to split the income in such a case and bring to charge the fractional income referable to the charge before and after the death of the holder of the land who derives agricultural income applying the rate appropriate to the income so ascertained. But that process is not possible in compounding tax; for, the basis is the extent of holding and the fixed rate applicable thereto and there is no provision for splitting of either the extent of land or the rate applicable thereto.
4. We are of the view, therefore, that the application made on the basis of tenants in common itself cannot be granted for a broken period. Likewise, it would follow that composition cannot be permitted as the provisions of the Act stand at the moment, even in respect of the period anterior to the death of Mohamed Abdul Khader. On that view, it would be clear that the view of the Agricultural Income-tax Officer, that he could call upon the applicants to consent for compounding on the basis of the entire estate of the deceased, is not in accordance with law. All that he could possibly do, as it appears to us, is to bring to charge the agricultural income of the deceased before his death, and separately the agricultural income derived by his heirs after his death.
5. On that view the petition is dismissed but without costs.