Soundarya Vs. Income Tax Officer, Tamil Nadu  INSC 551 (1 April 2008)
P.P. Naolekar & Aftab Alam
O R D E R CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.969 OF 2000 1. The facts of the case, in brief,
are that the appellant is a sister of Kumari R.
Jayaprada. A search under Section 132 of the Income Tax Act, 1961
(hereinafter referred to as "the Act") was made of the premises of
Kumari R. Jayaprada on 17.2.1983. In the course of the search, the statement of
appellant was recorded wherein she stated that the house bearing Door No.20,
First Cross Street, Lake Area, Nungambakkam, Madras was purchased on 22.11.1982
from one Smt. V. Seshamma.
The appellant stated that the said house was purchased for Rs.2,40,000/- by
selling a part of her jewelery and the jewelery of her mother Neelaveni and
grandmother Rajamma. On the same day, i.e., 17.2.1983, the office premises of
the Chartered Accountant of Kumari R. Jayaprada was also searched under Section
132 of the Act and in that search a receipt dated 31.8.1982 signed by Smt. V.
Seshamma, acknowledging the receipt of advance amount towards the sale of the
aforesaid house to the appellant and her mother Smt. P. Neelaveni, for a sale
consideration of Rs.5,70,000/- was seized.
2. The appellant filed an application under Section 230-A(1) of the Act on
12.5.1983 for issuance of a certificate (N.O.C.) to her for settling the
aforesaid property in the name of her minor son, retaining her life interest in
the said property and declaring the sale consideration of the said property at
Rs.2,40,000/-. As the real value of the aforesaid premises is said to have been
paid as Rs.5,70,000/- and the appellant has declared the value of the said
premises as Rs.2,40,000/- and, thus, there would be evasion of income tax on
the balance sale consideration of Rs.3,30,000/-. The Department started
proceedings under Sections 193 IPC read with Section 136 of the Act, Section
420 IPC read with Section 511 IPC and Sections 276-C(1) and 277 of the Act.
3. The trial court convicted the appellant under Section 420 read with
Section 511 IPC, Section 193 IPC read with Section 136 of the Act and under
Section 276-C(1) of the Act and under Section 277 of the Act (2 counts) and
sentenced her to suffer 3 months R.I. and to pay a fine of Rs.300/- for offence
under Section 420 read with Section 511 IPC and to suffer 3 months R.I. and to
pay a fine of Rs.300/- for offence under Section 193 IPC read with Section 136
of the Act and to suffer 6 months R.I.
and to pay a fine of Rs.500/- for offence under Section 276-C(1) of the Act
and to suffer 6 months R.I. and to pay a fine of Rs.500/- in each count for
offences under Section 277 of the Act with default clause. We are informed that
the appellant has remained in jail for seven days. An appeal was filed before
the Session Court and the Sessions Judge dismissed the appeal and confirmed the
conviction and sentence imposed on the appellant. Thereafter, the appellant
filed Criminal Revision Petition before the High Court. The High Court from the
Assessment Order dated 24.3.1997 for the Assessment Year 1983-1984 has found
that the price of the aforesaid property was assessed at Rs.6,75,000/- a sum of
Rs.1,56,000/- was paid by the appellant while the balance amount of
Rs.5,19,000/- was paid by Kumari Jayaprada and, therefore, no offence was made
out under Sections 276-C(1) and 277 (two counts) of the Act against the
appellant. However, the High Court has confirmed the conviction and sentence
imposed on the appellant under Sections 420 read with Section 511 IPC and
Section 193 IPC read with Section 136 of the Act and sentenced her to undergo
three months R.I. and to pay a fine of Rs.300/- for the offences under Section
420 IPC read with Section 511 IPC. The appellant was further directed to suffer
three months R.I.
and to pay a fine of Rs.300/- for the offences under Section 193 IPC read
with Section 136 of the Act. The High Court set aside the conviction and
acquitted the appellant for the offences under Section 276-C(1) and Section 277
(2 counts) of the Act.
4. It has been contended by learned senior counsel for the appellant that
the proceedings were taken up against the appellant for filing an application
under Section 230-A(1) of the Act (since deleted) to obtain a certificate (NOC)
wherein the wrong valuation of the property was shown as Rs.2,40,000/-. He has
further submitted that the appellant has been acquitted for the offences
committed under the Act but has been convicted for the offences which are not
related to the Act. Learned counsel has further contended that since the matter
pertains to the Assessment Year 1983-1984, and almost 25 years have elapsed
from the date of submission of the application for grant of certificate and at
the relevant time she was aged about 25 years and now she is aged about 52
years and has children, a lenient view may be taken in the matter.
5. We have heard the submissions of the learned senior counsel for the
appellant. Having regard to the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case that the
appellant has been acquitted under Sections 276-C(1) and 277 of the Act and
that the matter relates to the Assessment Year 1983-1984, in our view, the ends
of justice will be sub- served if the appellant's sentence is reduced to the
period already undergone by her.
We order accordingly. However, the appellant shall pay a fine of Rs.5,000/-
each on both counts. We, however, make it clear that this order will not be
treated as a precedent.
6. The appeal stands disposed of accordingly.