Smt. Indermani Jatia Vs. Commissioner of
Income-Tax, U.P., Lucknow  INSC 90 (3 October 1958)
AIYYAR, T.L. VENKATARAMA SARKAR, A.K.
CITATION: 1959 AIR 82 1959 SCR Supl. (1) 45
CITATOR INFO :
R 1971 SC2396 (12)
Income-tax-Mercantile system of
accounts-Accounts in India, showing credit entry of receipt of interest from
Indian State-If such amount liable to tax-New point-Indian Incometax Act, 1922
(XI Of 1922), s. 4 (1)(a).
The assessee, who was ordinarily resident in
British India, carried on business at Khurja and Aligarh in India and at
Chistian in the Indian State of Bahawalpur. He kept a central set of accounts
of the business at Khurja, which were maintained on the mercantile system.
Under the said system credit entries are made in respect of amounts due
immediately they become legally due and even before they are actually received.
In his account books the income received by the assessee from all sources was
shown, and the interest account showed credit entries of amounts received as
interest on capital invested in the shop at Chistian. The assessee conceded
that as creditor he had the right to enforce the payment of, interest in
British India and that liability of the Chistian shop had been extinguished to
the 46 extent of the interest paid by it to the head office. The Income-Tax
Authorities included these amounts in the assessee's taxable income in India
and levied tax on them.
The assessee contended that the entries in respect
of the receipt of interest were merely book entries and that the authorities
had wrongly treated these amounts as having been actually received.
Held, that the relevant entries in the books
of account did justify the inference that the assessee had actually received
the amounts by way of interest. Where an assessee Keeps accounts according to
the mercantile method of book -keeping the effect of making a credit entry in
the interest account would be to treat that amount as income or profits received
by the assessee or treated by him as received for the purposes of the tax.
Commissioner of Income-tax v. A.T.K.P.L.S.P.
Subramaniam Chettiar, (1927) I.L.R. 50 Mad. 765, approved.
Gresham Life Assurance Society Ltd. v.
Bishop, (1902) A.C. 287; Keshav Mills Ltd. v. Commissioner of Income-tax,
Bombay,  S.C.R. 950; Sunder Das v. The Collector of Gujrat, (1922) I.L.R.
3 Lah. 349, referred to.
The assessee sought to raise a new point that
it was a rule of universal application that no person could trade with himself
and that accordingly the interest alleged to have been received from his own
shop at Chistian could not amount to receipt of any income by him, and referred
to: Dublin Corporation v. M'Adam, (1887) 2 Tax Cas. 387; Ostime v. Pontypridd
and Rhondda joint Water Board, (1944) 28 Tax Cas.
261 ; Caylisle and Silloth Golf Club v.
Smith, (1913) 6 Tax Cas. 198; New York Life Insurance Company v. Styles, (1889)
14 App. Cas. 381 ; Sir Kikabhai Premchand v. Commissioner of Income-tax
(Central) Bombay,  S.C.R. 219 and Ram Lal Bechairam v. Commissioner of
Income-tax, A.I.R. (1946) All. 3. The respondent contended that the principle
was not inflexible or universal and that the new point having been raised for
the first time in appeal ought not to be permitted to be raised. Sharkey v.
Wernher, (1956) A. C. 58, referred to.
Held that, the new point could not be allowed
to be raised as that would mean the re-opening of the whole enquiry into the
question as to the remittances from Chistian to Khurja as well as the rates at
which the tax were to be levied on the assessee. If the assessee wanted to rely
upon this principle the point ought to have been urged at the earlier stage of
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeals
Nos. 278 and 279 of 1956.
Appeal from the judgment and order dated
November 14, 1950, of the Allahabad High Court in Incometax Miscellaneous Case
No. 12 of 1950.
47 A. V. Viswanatha Sastri and A. N. Kirpal
for the appellant.
C. K. Daphtary, Solicitor-General of India,
Rajagopala Sastri, R. H. Dhebar and D. Gupta, for the respondent.
1958. October 3. The Judgment of the Court
was delivered by GAJENDRAGADKAR J.-These are appeals by special leave and they
arise from the assessment proceedings taken against the appellant's husband
Seth Ganga Sagar Jatia in respect of his income for the assessment years
1943-44 and 1944-45. The said Seth Ganga Sagar died on September 22, 1944,
leaving behind him his widow the appellant Shrimati Indermani Jatia.
After the death of her husband, the appellant
continued the assessment proceedings as his representative and administrator of
his estate. The appellant as well as her husband were residents and ordinarily
residents in British India for the relevant years. The sources of the assessee's
income for the purposes of income.tax assessment were his business, his house
property and the dividends earned by him. This business was carried on by the
appellant after his death at Khurja and Aligarh which are part of India and at
Chistian in the Indian State of Bahawalpur now a part of Pakistan. The central
set of accounts of the assessee,s business were kept at Khurja. In this set of
accounts income received by the assessee from all sources were incorporated.
For the accounting year relevant to 1943-44 assessment, the interest account in
the said books showed credit entries of Rs. 17,132/as interest received on
capital invested in the shop at Cliistian). Similarly for the accounting period
relevant to 1944-45 assessment Rs. 47,029/had been credited in the said books.
The Income Tax Officer took the view that these two amounts represented the
assessee's taxable income in India and accordingly he levied tax on them.
The appellant filed appeals before the
Appellate Assistant Commissioner against the said assessment orders for the
assessment years 1943-44 and 1944-45;
48 and on her behalf the Income Tax Officer's
decision about the chargeability to tax of the aforesaid two amounts was
challenged. The appellate authority, however, rejected the appellant's
contention and confirmed the order under appeal.
The appellant then filed appeals before the
Income Tax Appellate Tribunal. The tribunal agreed with the view taken by the
income-tax authorities, confirmed their conclusion and dismissed the appeals
preferred by the appellant.
In the assessment for 1943-44, the appellant
had claimed that Rs. 7,512/-, which had been spent in litigation, was an
admissible expenditure -but this claim was disallowed by the Income Tax Officer
and his decision was confirmed by the appellate authority and by the tribunal.
At the instance of the appellant, the tribunal stated the case and referred the
following two questions to the High Court at Allahabad under s. 66(1):
(1) Whether, in the circumstances of the
case, the sum of Rs. 17,132/for 1943-44 and Rs. 47,029/for 1944-45 could be
legally deemed to have been received in British India and were liable to tax
under s. 4(1) of the Act ;
(2) Whether, in the circumstances of the,
case, the expenditure of Rs. 7,5121incurred in connection with a criminal
litigation was admissible expenditure within the meaning of s. 10(2)(xv) of the
Act ? The reference was heard by Malik C. J. and V. Bhargava J. on November 14,
1950, and both the questions were answered against the appellant. The
application made by the appellant under s. 66A of the Act for leave to appeal
to the Supreme Court was dismissed by the High Court on April 23, 1954.
Thereupon the appellant applied for and obtained special leave on December 10,
1954. That is how these appeals have come to this Court.
Mr. Viswanatha Sastri, for the appellant, did
not challenge before us the correctness of the view taken by the High Court on
the second question in respect of the expenditure of Rs. 7,512/-. He conceded
that the finding recorded by the income-tax authorities 49.
against the appellant on this point is a
finding of fact.
and, having regard to the material on the
record, the correctness of the said finding cannot be effectively challenged.
He, however, urged that the answer, given by the High Court on the first
question referred to it was erroneous in law. The High Court has held that the
two amounts of interest credited in the books of the appellant were liable to
tax under s. 4(1) of the Act as they must be deemed to have been received by
the appellant in British India. Mr. Sastri argues that the expression "
deemed to be received " means, deemed by the relevant provisions of the
Act to be received. It is not disputed that though income may not have been
received by the assessee in reality, it can be deemed to be received under the
relevant provisions of the Act; and this constructive receipt can be conveniently
described as statutory receipt under the Act.
Taxes deducted at source or annual accretion
to an employee participating in a recognized firm, for instance, are deemed to
be received under s. 18(4) and s. 58(e) of the Act respectively. The argument
is that there is no relevant provision of the Act under which the two amounts
in question can be properly deemed to have been received by the appellant. No
provision has been mentioned in the judgment of the High Court nor has any such
provision been cited by the income-tax authorities either. In our opinion, this
argument is technically correct. It must be conceded that the present
Proceedings disclose some confusion in the mind of the appellant in the
presentation of her case at all stages hereto, in the findings recorded by the
income-tax authorities, in the form of the question raised by the tribunal, and
in the answer given to it by the High Court.
In law and in substance, what the department
has done is to tax the said two amounts not because they are deemed to have
been received by the appellant during the relevant years, but because they have
been actually received by her or treated by her as so received. In other words,
the case against the appellant under s. 4(1)(a) is that the amounts of interest
constitute her income which is received or treated as received by her.
7 50 Dealing with the question on this basis,
Mr. Sastri contends that the inference about the receipt of income by the
appellant drawn from her books of account is not valid and should be rejected.
He does not dispute the fact that the books of account are kept by the
appellant on mercantile basis. It was conceded by the appellant's lawyer in the
proceedings before the tribunal that the appellant as the creditor had a right
to enforce the payment of interest in British India, and that the liability of
the Chistian shop had been extinguished to the extent of the interest paid by
it to the head office. The concessions made by the appellant before the
tribunal clearly show that the sum advanced by the appellant's head office in
British Indiato her shop at Chistian was liable to pay interest and that the
credit entry in respect of the two amounts had been made according to the
mercantile method of keeping accounts. It is well-known that the mercantile
system of accounting differs substantially from the cash system of
Under the cash system, it is only actual cash
receipts and actual cash payments that are recorded as credits and debits;
whereas, under the mercantile system, credit entries are made in respect of
amounts due immediately they become legally due and before they are actually received;
similarly, the expenditure items for which
legal liability has been incurred are immediately debited even before the
amounts in question are actually disbursed. Where accounts are kept on
mercantile basis, the profits or gains are credited though they are not
actually realised and the entries thus made really show nothing more than an
accrual or arising of the said profits at the material time. The same is the
position with regard to debits made.
This position is not disputed by Mr. Sastri.
He,, however, contends that the entries in respect of the receipt Of interest
are nevertheless merely book entries and it would not be reasonable to infer
actual receipt of the said amount merely from these entries. In support of this
Sastri invited our attention to the decision
of the House of Lords in Gresham Life Assurance Society Ltd. v. Bishop
(Surveyor of 51 Taxes)(1). This was a case of life assurance society which
carried on business at home and abroad with its head office in London. At the head
office accounts and balance-sheets were made. up, the profits ascertained and
the dividends paid. The interest upon the society's foreign securities paid
abroad was received by the agents and part of it was applied abroad for the
purposes of the society. All the interest on foreign securities was, however,
taken into account in the balance-sheets upon which the profits were
ascertained. It was held that taking the interest into account was not
equivalent to a receipt in the United Kingdom and that income-tax was not
chargeable upon that part of the interest which was not remitted to the United
Kingdom. The Fourth Case falling under Schedule I which fell to be considered
in this case referred to sums " which have been or will be received in
Great Britain during the year for which the duty is payable ". Under this
provision, the locality of the receipt is naturally very important. As Lord
Lindley has observed that " what has been done, and all that has been
done, is that the Gresham Company, in making up its account with a view to
ascertain what profits it could divide in a particular year, entered on its
asset side the sum of pound 43,483/as money received during the year.
This was obviously right; for the object was
not to ascertain the profit made in any particular country but the profit made
by the company on all its transactions all over the world ". In fact no
account was forthcoming to show that the sum had ever been treated as remitted
to the United Kingdom so as to justify the inference that in any commercial
sense the same had been received in the United Kingdom as distinguished from
other countries. It is thus clear that the decision turned upon the special
features of accounting which is usually adopted in preparing and presenting
balance sheets of companies and it shows that an entry in a balance-sheet is
not receipt of money at the place where the balance-sheet is prepared. In our
opinion, there is no analogy between the balance-sheet of a (1) (1902) A. C.
52 company and the accounts 'kept by the
appellant in respect of her individual business activities. The principle laid
down by the House of Lords in the case of Gresham Life Assurance Society Ltd.
(1), appears to have been substantially reproduced in explanation (1) to s.
4(1). The argument that the principle thus statutorily recognized in respect of
balance-sheets should be extended to private books of account kept according to
mercantile system cannot, in our opinion, be accepted.
Mr. Sastri has also invited our attention to
the decision of Keshav Mills Ltd. v. Commissioner Income-tax, Bombay (2).
In this case a non-resident company
manufactured textile goods in Petlad outside British India and sold the goods
exmills. The firm of R. & Co., guaranteed the sale price of goods sold ex-mills
by the assessee company to purchasers at Ahmedabad within British India. The
assessee maintained its accounts according to the mercantile system and so
debited R. & Co. with the price of goods sold and credited the sales
account of the bills. R. & Co. collected the amounts of the bills from the
purchasers on behalf of the assessee and credited the sums realised in the
assessee's account with banks at Ahmedabad and also disbursed them to creditors
of the assessee in British India. During the relevant accounting year, the
assessee thus received Rs. 12,68,418/-.
The asses. see also received Rs. 4,40,878/from
sales to purchasers in British India. The question which arose for decision was
whether these two sums were sale proceeds of goods sold by the assessee to
merchants in British India and whether they were received in British India and
could be included in the assessable income of the assessee in British India. It
was held by this Court that the said amounts were not received by the assessee
nor could be deemed to have been received by it when the entries were made in
the books of account at Petlad but that they had merely accrued or arisen to
the assessee there; that they were first received by R. & Co. and by the
banks through whom the railway receipts were negotiated on behalf (1) (1902) A.
(2)  S.C.R. 950.
53 of the company in British India and as
such were liable to tax under s. 4(1)(a) of the Act as having been received in
British India on its behalf. We do not see how this decision can assist the
appellant's case before us. We are dealing with the appellant who is a resident
in British India and the argument that the credit entries made in his books of
account should not be treated as income received or treated by her as, received
cannot be supported by the decision in Keshav Mills Ltd. (1) or even by any of
the observations made by Bhagwati J. who delivered the majority judgment.
Reliance was also placed by Mr. Sastri on the
decision of the Full Bench of the Punjab High Court in Sunder Das v. The
Collector of Gujrat (2). This case merely decided that, where the assessee had
earned and received income in British Baluchistan (which Province was exempt
from the operation of the Act except as to salaries) and had subsequently
brought it into Punjab, it was not liable to income-tax for the reason that the
said income had not been received in the Punjab within the meaning of s. 3,
sub-s. (1) of the Incometax Act. In other words, this decision shows that the
assessee cannot receive the same income twice in two different places but this
principle has no application to the present case.
The decision of the Full Bench of the Madras
']High Court in Commissioner of Income-tax, Madras v. A. T. K.P.L.S.P.
Subramaniam Chettiyar (3), on the other hand,
supports the contention of the department. In this case the Madras High Court
has held that credit entries made on account of interest due by debtor in
foreign places to the assessee must be treated as payments though that interest
was not actually paid %in British India. The assessee had a business of his own
in Rangoon carried on by an agent and lie was also interested with another or
others in a moneylending business in Penang in which he was a chief partner.
From the Rangoon business a sum of Rs.
78,768/and odd was transferred in cash to the Penang business (1)  S.C.R.
950. (2) (1922) I.L.R. 3 Lah. 349.
(3) (1927) I.L.R. 50 Mad. 765.
54 under the orders of the assessee. In the
books of the Rangoon business a sum of Rs. 12,174/. was entered as interest on
that money from Penang and the assessee had been assessed in respect of this
interest under s. 4, sub-s. (1) of the Act as income accruing, arising or
received in British India. It was admitted that the assessee kept his books
according to the mercantile method of book-keeping.
What the assessee sought to do was to treat
the relevant entries of interest on cash basis though he adopted the mercantile
basis in regard to other entries in the interest account. This attempt did not
succeed because the High Court held that the assessee's own accounts were
" dead against his contention " and they precluded him from arguing
that the interest in question is income arising outside British India and not
received in British India because in law the transfer called in the assessee's
books an advance to the Penang firm cannot be a loan. The court came to the
conclusion that once the assessee had adopted the mercantile basis of
accountancy it was upon that basis and that basis alone that lie had to be
assessed. Thus this decision would show that the effect of making a credit
entry in the interest account would be to treat that amount as income or
profits received by the assessee or treated by him as received for the purposes
of the tax provided the assessee keeps the accounts according to the mercantile
method of book keeping. We are, therefore, not prepared to accept Mr. Sastri's
argument that, despite the concessions made by his client before the tribunal,
it would still be open to her to contend that the relevant entries in her books
of account did not justify the inference that the appellant has received the
amounts in question by way of interest during the relevant period.
Realising the infirmity in his argument on
this point, Mr. Sastri contended that the main objection which he wanted to
urge before us against the validity of the conclusion reached by the income-tax
authorities was fundamental and it went to the root of the matter. Indeed, it
was this aspect of the matter which Mr. Sastri seriously sought to press before
us. He contends 55 that the view taken by the Madras High Court in the case of
Subramaniam Chettiyar (1), like the conclusion of the income-tax authorities
against the appellant in the present case, is based on the erroneous assumption
that a person can trade with himself. He urges that it is a rule of universal
application that no person can trade with himself and make profit out of
dealings with himself; and so his case is that, whatever may be the effect of
the other entries made in the appellant's books in the interest account, the
relevant entries in respect of the interest alleged to have been received from
the appellant's own shop at Chistian in law cannot mean the receipt of any
income by the appellant.
How can the appellant be tier own creditor
and how can she receive interest in respect of the advance made by her to her
own shop at Chistian, asks Mr. Sastri. He concedes that this point bad not been
raised by the appellant at any stage in the proceedings so far but, according
to him, it is a Pure question of law and he should be allowed to argue it
It was as early as 1887 that Palles C. B.
observed in Dublin Corporation v. M'Adam (Surveyor of Taxes) (2) that " no
man, in my opinion, make, in what is its true sense or meaning, taxable profit
by dealing with himself ". In this case, a city corporation had been
empowered by its Water works Act to supply waters beyond the city boundaries.
Any income thus arising had to be put into a consolidated account of the corporation
for all the purposes of the Act. It was held that the excess of receipts over
expenditure in respect of the extra municipal supply constitutes profits
chargeable to income-tax. Distinction was made between the extra municipal
supply of water and supply within the limits of the municipality; and it was
held that it was only the excess of receipts over expenditure in respect of the
former that constitutes profits chargeable to income-tax. The argument that the
income received from the rate-payers residing within the limits of Dublin
Municipality should be taken into account was repelled on the ground that (1)
(1927) I.L.R. 50 Mad. 765.
(2) (1887) 2 T.C. 387.
56 the corporation cannot be treated as in
any sense a body distinct from the inhabitants of Dublin. It was also observed
that what was intended to be raised from the citizens was what is enough to pay
for the expenses of the water supply and no more and that there was no
intention that the corporation should in any sense make a profit from those rate-payers.
The said principle has been enunciated very succinctly by Viscount Simon in
Ostime (H. M. Inspector of Taxes) v. Pontypridd and Rhondda Joint Water Board
(1) when he said that "if the undertaker is a rating authority and the
subsidy is the proceeds of rates imposed by it or comes from a fund belonging
to the authority, the identity of the source with the recipient prevents any
question of profits arising ". In The Carlisle and Silloth Golf Club v.
Smith (Surveyor of Taxes) (2), Buckley L. J.
has adverted to the same rule and has
observed that a man cannot make profits or loss out of himself and that was the
ground of the decision in New York Life Insurance Company v.
Styles (Surveyor of Taxes) (3).
In support of the same proposition Mr. Sastri
has also relied upon the decision of this Court in Sir Kikabhai Premchand V.
Commissioner of Income-tax (Central), Bombay (4). In this case, the assessee
carried on business in bullion and shares and kept his accounts in the
mercantile system; the method adopted by him for ascertaining his profit,,; was
to value stock at the beginning and close of each year at cost price. In the
accounting year he withdrew some silver bars and shares from the business and
settled them in trusts, and in the accounts of the business he valued them at
the close of the year at cost price.
According to the majority decision, the
assessee was entitled to value the silver bars and shares in question at cost
price and he was not bound to credit the business with the market price at the
close of the year for ascertaining his assessable profits for the year.
Bhagwati J., however, dissented from this view and held that the assessee's
business was entitled to be credited (1) (1944) 28 T. C. 261, 278. (3) (1889)
14 App. Cas. 384.
(2) (1913) 6 T.C. 198. (4)  S.C.R. 219.
57 with the market value of the assets
withdrawn as on the date it was withdrawn whatever be the method employed by
the assessee for the valuation of the stock in trade on hand at the close of
the year. Mr. Sastri placed reliance on the observations made by Bose J., who
delivered the judgment for the majority view that " disregarding
technicalities it is impossible to get away from the fact that the business was
owned and run by the assessee himself. In such circumstances it would be unreal
and artificial to separate the business from its owner and -treat them as if
they were separate entities trading with each other and then by means of a
fictional sale introduce a fictional profit which in truth and in fact is non-existent
". Mr. Sastri also contended that the decision of the Allahabad High Court
in Ram Lal Bechairam v. Commissioner of Income-tax (1) supported the same view.
On the other hand, the Solicitor-General
contends that the principle on which Mr. sastri relies can no longer be
regarded as inflexible and universal; and according to him, permissible
invasion of this principle has been recently recognized by the House of Lords
in Sharkey (Inspector of Taxes) v. Wernher (2). In this case Lady Zia carried on
a stud farm, an activity which was admittedly husbandry and taxable under
Schedule ' D '; she also carried on a separate activity, racing stables, which
gave rise to no liability to tax being a " recreational " enterprise.
Horses were bred at the stud farm for the racing stables. On the transfer of
five horses in the relevant year of assessment from the stud to the stables it
was held by the House of Lords (Lord Oaksey dissenting) that " where a
person carrying on a trade disposes of part of his stock in trade not by way of
sale in the course of trade but for his own use, enjoyment, or recreation, he
must bring into his trading account for income-tax purposes the market value of
that stock in trade at the time of such disposition, and that, accordingly, the
amount to be credited to the stud farm accounts on the transfer of the horses
was their market value and not the (1) A.I.R. 1946 All. 8. (2) (1956) A.C. 58.
8 58 cost of breeding them ". It would
be noticed that this decision proceeds on the fictional or notional assumption
that the transfer of the five horses from the stud farm of the assessee to her
racing stables was a commercial transaction; and that, according to the
Solicitor-General, is a clear case where an exception is recognized to the
general rule that a person cannot trade with himself. In his speech, Viscount
Simonds observed that " if there are commodities which are the subject of
a man's trade but may also be the subject of his use and enjoyment, I do not
know how his account as a trader can properly be made up so as to ascertain his
annual profits and gains unless his trading account is credited with a receipt
in respect of those goods which he has diverted to his own use and enjoyment
". Then Viscount Simonds referred to the change in law which made the
farmer liable to tax under Scheduled ' instead of under Schedule 'B' and to s.
10 of the Finance Act of 1941 and observed that " these provisions
emphasize the artificial dichotomy which the scheme of income-tax law in many
instances imposes. Lord Radcliffe, dealt with the question at length. He cited
the proposition stated by Palles C. B.
and observed that later decisions have shown
that this simple proposition may cover what are to be -regarded as two separate
questions, whether a man can trade or deal with himself, whether a man can make
taxable profit by so doing.
In his opinion, " it must now be said
that people can carry on trade or business with themselves, as by way of mutual
insurance, but that, if they do, a resulting surplus from the operations is not
a profit from a trade for the purposes of income-tax, or, put another way,
their operations do not for the same purposes constitute a trade from which a
profit can result ". Lord Radcliffe referred to the case of Watson
Brothers v. Hornby (1) which explicitly decided that it must be necessary for a
proper assessment of trade profits under Case I of Schedule d' to treat a man
who supplies himself in his own trade as trading with himself on ordinary
commercial (1) (1942) 168 L.T. 109.
59 terms and stated that the said decision
which was given in 1942 laid down a principle that must continuously affect a
great many taxpayers and it was only in 1955 that it was said that the case was
wrongly decided. The learned law Lord also considered the decision in Back
(Inspector of Taxes) v. Daniels (1) and referred to the observations of Mr.
Justice Rowlatt about the assessees' admission that " in addition to their
liability to income-tax under Schedule ' B ' the assessees may be liable to
income-tax on a sum in the nature of a commission to themselves for selling
their own potatoes, in the same way as they sell other people's potatoes in
London on the market ". The assessees in the case before Rowlatt J. were a
firm of wholesale potato merchants who carried on business in London where they
sold all the potatoes raised by them on land in Fen District.
The effect of the decision was that Schedule
' B' assessment on the profits of occupation prevented any assessment under
Schedule ' D' in respect of the profit the firm made when they sold the
potatoes as wholesale merchants in London.
The assessees admitted their liability, to
pay the tax on the commission in question ; but the admission did not seem, a
strange one to Mr. Justice Rowlatt whose only comment was "but that, on
the whole, is the limit of their liability ".
In regard to this decision, Lord Radcliffe
has remarked that the limit mentioned by Rowlatt J. required the assessees to
include in the receipts of their London business a commission from themselves
which of course they never paid for selling themselves their own potatoes. From
the decisions examined by him, Lord Radcliffe drew the inference that they
afford instances of the disintegration for tax purpose of a profitable business
carried on by a taxpayer in two departments. The respondent's argument is that
having regard to the decision of the House of Lords in the case of Sharkey v.
Wernher (2) it would be necessary for a larger Bench of this Court to
reconsider the view expressed by the majority decision in the case of
Anglo-French (1) (1924) 2 K.B 432.
(2) (1956) A.C. 58.
60 Textile Co., Ltd. v. Commissioner of
Income-tax, Madras (1).
It is urged that the minority view expressed
by Bhagwati J.
appears to be more consistent with the decision
of the House of Lords.
Besides, the Solicitor-General has argued
that though he is prepared to meet on the merits the new point raised by Mr. Sastri
for the first time in appeal before us, he would be entitled to contend that,
having regard to the special circumstances of this case, Mr. Sastri should not
be permitted to raise the said point. We are inclined to accept this contention
raised by the Solicitor-General and so we do not propose to decide the
interesting point raised by Mr. Sastri. We have already indicated that the
appellant's contention throughout has been that the relevant entries do not
justify the inference that the amounts in question have been received by her
during the years in question as income or profit; and this contention naturally
raised the short and simple question as to the effect of the said entries made
in the books of account which are admittedly kept on the mercantile basis of
bookkeeping. It is true that the confusion introduced by the appellant's
contention was shared b y the income-tax authorities and it persisted
throughout the present proceedings until they reached this Court. That is why
even the material question framed by the tribunal and answered by the High
Court does not properly disclose the real controversy between the parties. The
reference to the deeming provisions of the Act which is presumably implied in
the question as framed by the tribunal and answered by the High Court is
clearly out of place; but the fact still remains that the appellant never
raised the contention that the two entries in the interest.
account cannot in law show profits received
by her because the appellant could not trade with herself. If the appellant
wanted to rely upon this principle the point should have been urged at the
earlier stage of the proceedings.
Besides, there are some other factors which
would introduce complications in case the point raised by Mr. Sastri were to be
upheld. The business con(1)  S.C.R. 523, 61 ducted by the appellant in
the shop at Chistian attracted the provisions of s. 14(2)(c) of the Act which
was then in force; and so no tax was payable by the appellant in respect of the
income, profits or gains accruing or arising to her from the said shop unless
such income, profits or gains were received or deemed to be received in or
brought into British India in the previous year by or on behalf of the
In other words, though the appellant is a
resident in the taxable territories and her income wherever received would be
normally taxable, she would be entitled to the benefit of the exception
prescribed by the pro-visions of s. 14 (2)(c).
Nevertheless the appellant's profits from her
shop at Chistian would be relevant for the purpose of determining the rates at
which income-tax was payable by the appellant.
They would also be relevant in deciding which
part of the profits were received or could be deemed to be received within the
meaning of s. 14(2)(c). If it is held that the entries in respect of the two
items of interest in question do not represent in law any profits received by
the appellant, then appropriate changes would have to be made in the
appellant's account books kept at Khurja as well as at Chistian. The appellant
has been keeping accounts on the mercantile basis for all the years; and it is
very unlikely that the two entries before us are the only ones which may be
affected if it is held that the appellant could not have traded with herself.
It is clear that the profits made by the appellant in her shop at Chistian have
been determined all these years on the basis of credit and debit entries by the
appellant according to the mercantile system; and so the question as to the
amounts remitted by the appellant from Chistian to herself at Khurja would be
affected by making necessary adjustments of all relevant entries, and that
would mean reopening the whole enquiry into the appellant's liability to pay
In this connection we may refer to the fact
that for the assessment year 1943-44 the Income Tax Officer had determined the
assessee's income at Chistian at Rs. 74,982.
He had also held that out of the said profits
the appellant had remitted Rs. 51,879 to 62 British India; and so, in the
assessment, he added this amount as income in British India on remittance basis
and, after giving the statutory allowance of Rs. 4,500, took the balance of Rs.
18,603 as income on accrual basis to be considered for rate purposes only. On
this question the ultimate decision was that no amount could be taxed on
remittance basis. In the supplementary assessment proceedings the appellant
proved that a sum of Rs. 7,19,660 was sent to Chistian shop and Rs. 4,17,636
was received from the Chistian shop. That is why, in the result, the entire
income in Bahawalpur State was taken on an accrual basis for income-tax. Having
regard to the method adopted by the appellant in keeping her books of account,
it seems clear that, if the appellant's present contention is accepted, the
decision as to remittances from Chistian to Khurja as well as the decision as
to the rates at which the tax were to be levied on the appellant may have to be
reopened. That is why we think, in the special circumstances of this case, we
should not, allow Mr. Sastri to raise the point that the appellant cannot trade
with herself and so the relevant entries cannot justify the inference that the
appellant has received income even though the entries are made in the accounts
kept on mercantile basis.
In the result the appeals fail and must be
dismissed with costs.