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Commissioner of Income-tax, West Bengal Vs. Hanuman Prasad BagariA. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectDirect Taxation
CourtKolkata High Court
Decided On
Reported in[1953]24ITR495(Cal)
AppellantCommissioner of Income-tax, West Bengal
RespondentHanuman Prasad BagariA.
Excerpt:
- .....finding of the income-tax officer and the appellate assistant commissioner was reversed by the appellate tribunal by an order which reads like an order passed by honorary magistrates at summary trials. all that the tribunal says is the following :-'we have heard the parties at some lenght and examined the personal history of the appellant. on whole, the impression left in our minds is that his explanation has ring of truth. we accept it and exclude the sum of rs. 72,523 from assessment.'the appeal was heard and diposed of by mr. k. n. rajagopal sastri and mr. a. l. sahgal. the application for a reference to this court, however, came to be heard by mr. a. r. aggarwal and mr. b. m. chatrath. in view of the nature of the question raised there was naturally some argument before the.....
Judgment:

.

CHAKRAVARTTI, C. J.-In our opinion, the statements in the case referred are clearly insufficient to enable us to determine the question raised. The appellate order passed in the case is striking example of what appellate orders sgould not be and the statement of the case itself is an exaple of the consequences that must sometimes follow when the appeal is heard by two particular members of the Tribunal and the reference is made by two other members.

The question raised in the case is whether there was any material before the Tribunal on which it could be held that the gold which the assessee sold in the accounting year had been purchased in the year 1918 and that the amount entered in the books represented the proceeds of that sale. The amount in question is Rs. 72,523 and it appears in the books of the assesseein the name of his father. The assessees explanation was that he had purchased some gold in 1918 at Bombay and kept it with him till the accounting year when he had sold it for the sum entered in the books and that it had been entered in his fathers naame, because such was the Marwari custom Except the statement of the assessee that the gold had been purchased in 1918, there was no evidence either in the shape of the books of the assessee himself or papers of the party from whom the purchase had been made. Both the Income-tax Officer and the Appellate Assistant Commissioner held that the purchase of gold in 1918 had not been proved and in their view the gold, the sale of which had yielded the sum found in the books, had been purchased with secret profits of the assessee. This finding of the Income-tax Officer and the Appellate Assistant Commissioner was reversed by the Appellate Tribunal by an order which reads like an order passed by Honorary Magistrates at summary trials. All that the Tribunal says is the following :-

'We have heard the parties at some lenght and examined the personal history of the appellant. On whole, the impression left in our minds is that his explanation has ring of truth. We accept it and exclude the sum of Rs. 72,523 from assessment.'

The appeal was heard and diposed of by Mr. K. N. Rajagopal Sastri and Mr. A. L. Sahgal. The application for a reference to this Court, however, came to be heard by Mr. A. R. Aggarwal and Mr. B. M. Chatrath. In view of the nature of the question raised there was naturally some argument before the Tribunal when it was hearing the application some argument before the Tribunal when it was hearing the application for a reference, as to the material on which the Appellate Bench of the Tribunal whereas the assessees reply was that he had been orally examined. the two members of the Tribunal who were hearing the application were themselves helpless, because they had no personal knowledge of the matter and therefore, they contented themselves with including in the statement of the case the rival contentions of the parties.

It need hardly be pointed out that whether or not the Tribunal, when hearing the appeal had any further material before it is one of utmost importance. The Bench which was dealing with the application for a reference might have referred to the two members who had heaard the appeal or, at least, referred to the records of the appeal and said in the statement of the case whether the assessee had actually been examined by the Appellate Bench of the Tribunal as alledge or, at least, whether the records of the appeal contained any record of such examination. If this court is asked to say whether there was any material before the Tribunal on which it could come to a particualr finding, and if with regard to the presence or absence of aparticular piece of material there are only rival contentions of the parties, serious difficulty is created for this Court which, in my view, ought not be created. It is impossible to see how members of the Tribunal, who were making the reference, could have thought that this court could be reasonably asked to answer the question referred by them unless they said whether or not there had been before the Appellate bench of the Tribunal some material in addition to the material that had been considered insufficient by the authorities below.

We must, therefore, send the case back in exercise of our powers under Section 66 (4) of the Act. We direct the Tribunal to draw up and forward to this Court a supplementary statement as to the manner in which the Appellate Bench of the Tribunal 'examined the personal history of the appellant'. It should be stated : (a) whether the assessee was examined at all by the Appellate Bench of the Tribunal; (b) if he was, whether there is on the record any record of theat examination; (c) if there be what that record is; (d) even if there be no record of any examination of the assessee, whether he was examined in fact; and (e) if he was examined in fact but no record of the examination was made, whether it si possible for the members who had heard the appeal to remember what he had said.

Let a copy of this order be sent to the Tribunal. The supplementary statment should be submitted to this court within six months from the recepit of this order.

The costs of todays hearing will be costs in the reference.

LAHIRI, J.-I agree.

Case remanded.


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