M/S. Rajputana Textiles (Agencies)
Ltd. Vs. The Commissioner of Income-Tax, Bombay City  INSC 150 (12 April
AIYYAR, T.L. VENKATARAMA DAS, S.K.
CITATION: 1962 AIR 1267 1962 SCR (1) 917
CITATOR INFO :
RF 1963 SC 835 (12)
Income Tax--Business transaction--Whether
adventure in the nature of trade--Intention of the assessee--Profits--Whether
revenue or capital receipt--Advisory jurisdiction--Points--not taken before
High-Court--Whether could be raised before the Supreme Court--Taxation on
Income (Investigation Commission) Act, 1947 (30 of 1947), s. 8(5).
The assessee company was promoted with the
idea of obtaining the Managing Agency of the Appollo Mills from M/s. Sassoon
total of 25 lakhs shares of RS. 2 each.
According to the agreement the assessee company bad to take the whole of the
block of shares belonging to the Sassoons and pay at Rs. 4-4-0 per share Rs.
12-1/2 lakhs for the managing agency.
As the assessee company had only RS. 20 lakhs
as its paid up capital, it was necessary to sell 13 lakhs odd shares in order
to pay off the Sassons both for the Managing Agency and the shares. Therefore
during the course of negotiations the promoters of the assessee company entered
into an agreement with some brokers for the sale of Rs. 19,76,000 shares. As a
result of the sale of shares the assessee company received a sum of Rs.
16,52.600 as excess over the purchase price which amount on taxation was held
by the Income-tax Officer not to be profits and therefore not taxable. The case
of the assessee company was referred to the Investigation Commission. The
Commission found that it was not the intention of the assessee company to
retain the whole block of shares and that the sale of 13 lakhs odd shares was
an adventure in the nature of trade, and directed that appropriate assessment
be made, under the Indian Income-tax Act and Excess Profits Tax Act. At the
instance of the assessee company the question was referred to the High Court
under S. 8(5) of the Taxation on Income (Investigation Commission) Act, 1947,
which held that there were materials to justify the finding of the Commission
that the purchase and sale of about 13 lakhs odd shares was an adventure in the
nature of trade. An appeal was taken to the Supreme Court against this order.
Held, that in considering the question
whether the transaction was or was not an adventure in the nature of trade, the
court had to take into consideration the intention of the assessee 918 keeping
in view the "legal requirements which are associated with the concept of
trade or business" In the present case, the transaction that consisted of
buying the managing agency of the Mill Company and the block of shares held by Seasons
was inescapably one of a commercial nature and had all the attributes of an
adventure in the nature If of trade.
Held, further, that the jurisdiction which
this Court would exercise in appeal was of the same character that a High Court
would exercise. Thus the question under Art. 14 of the Constitution could not
be raised in these proceedings because this Court like the High Court was
exercising its advisory jurisdiction and its power was confined to the question
which arose before the High Court.
M/s. Ramnarain Sons (Pr.) Ltd. v.
Commissioner of Income tax, Bombay,  2 S.C.R. 904, Tata Hydro-Electric
Agencies, Bombay v. The Commissioner of Income-tax, Bombay Presidency &
Aden, (1037) L.R. 64 I.A. 215, Commissioner of, Income-tax, Central and United
Provinces, Lucknow v. M/s.
Motiram Nandram, (1939) L.R. 67 I.A. 71,
Jones v. Leeming, [1930) A.C. 415, Commissioner of Inland Revenue v. Reinhold,
(1953) 34 T.C. 389 and Saroj Kumar Mazumdar v. Commissioner of Income-tax, West
Bengal, Calcutta,  SUPP. 2 S.C.R.
Kishan Prasad & Co. v. Commissioner of
Income-tax, Punjab,  27 I.T.R. 49, Edwards v. Bairstow,  A.C. 14
and G. Venkataswami Naidu & Co. v. The Commissioner of Incometax, 
SUPP. 1 S.C.R. 646, discussed.
& CIVIL APPELLATE, JURISDICTION: Civil
Appeal No. 282 of 1955.
Appeal by special leave from the judgment and
order dated March 20, 1953, of the Bombay High Court in Income-tax Reference
No. 31 of 1951.
A. V. Viswanatha Sastri and I. N. Shroff, for
K. N. Rajagopal Sastri and D. Gupta, for the
1961. April 12. The Judgment of the Court was
delivered by KAPUR, J.-This is an appeal against the judgment and order of the
High Court of Bombay in a reference under s. 8(5) of the Taxation on Income
(Investigation Commission) Act, 1947 (Act XXX of 1947), hereinafter termed the
'Act'. The assessee company was the applicant before the High Court and is the
appellant 919 before us and the Commissioner of Income-tax, Bombay City, was
the respondent in the High Court and is the respondent here also. Being a
reference under s. 8(5) of the Act, it was heard and decided by three judges of
the High Court.
The assessee company is a private limited
company which was incorporated on May 6, 1943, with a paid up capital of Rs.
20 lacs. It was promoted by two groups of
persons who for the sake of convenience may be called the 'Morarka Group' and
the 'Bubna Group'. The Apollo Mills Co., Ltd. of Bombay with a capital of Rs.
50 lacs divided into 25 lacs shares of Rs. 2 each, had as its Managing Agents
M/s. E. D. Sassoon & Co. Ltd., who for the sake of brevity, will be
referred to in this judgment as the Sassoons'. They held 19,76,000 shares out
of the 25 lacs. The promoters of the assessee company entered into an agreement
with the Sassoons on April 27, 1943, by which the Sassoons agreed to transfer
their Managing Agency in the Mill Co. for Rs. 12-1/2 lacs to the promoters of
the assessee company and the whole of their holding of 19,76,000 shares at Rs.
4-4-0 per share, i.e., for Rs. 83,98,000. These shares were to be transferred
to the promoters or to the company which they were proposing to float. By
clause (3) of this agreement the sale of the Managing Agency and the transfer
of the shares was to be simultaneously completed and neither party could
require the completion of the one without the other. On November 1, 1943, a
tripartite agreement was entered into between the Sassoons as Assignors, the
promoters of the company as Confirming Parties and the assessee company as
By that agreement the Managing Agency rights
were for-.ally transferred to the assessee company so also the Share
Certificates for the whole of holding of the Sassoons in the Mill Co. and the
necessary blank transfer deeds went) Before the agreement of April 27, 1943,
and during the course of negotiations with the Sassoons the promoters of the
assessee company entered into an arrangement with some share brokers for the
sale of a large portion of the total holding of 19,76,000 shares 920 of the
Mill Co. The price of these shares varied from Rs. 58-0 to Rs. 5-13-0. In all
10,00,000 shares out of the total holding of the Mill Co. were sold to these
brokers and: they in turn sold these block of shares in smaller lots to a
number of purchasers. Some shares were sold later; 1,20,000 shares were
transferred to 13 nominees of the Morarka Group at cost price. As a result of
sale of all these 13,74,000 shares the assessee company received a sum of Rs.
16,52,600 as excess over the purchase price. The remaining shares the assessee
company retained. The assessee company submitted that the profits of the entire
holding of the shares had not been worked out and had therefore not been
transferred to the profit and loss account.
The assessee company was taxed by the
Income-tax Officer but the sum of Rs. 16,52,600 which was the excess of the
sale price over the purchase price of 13,74,000 shares was held not to be
profit and therefore not taxable. When the Act came into force the case of the
assessee company was referred to the Investigation Commission by the Central
Government and the Investigation Commission made its report on November 9,
1949, in Case No. 406A. By this report the Commission directed that appropriate
assessment be made under the Indian Income tax Act for the assessment year
1945-46 and the Excess Profits Tax Act for the corresponding chargeable
At the instance of the assessee company the
Commissioner of Income-tax, Bombay City, by his order dated May 1, 1951, referred
the following question to the High Court:
"Whether on the facts found by the
Commission the sum of Rs. 16,52,600 being the excess price realised by the sale
of 13,74,000 shares of the Mill Company, was 'profit' and as such taxable or
whether it was either of the nature of a capital appreciation or a casual and
nonrecurring receipt and as such exempt from taxation under Section 4(3)(vii)
of the Income-tax Act." The High Court reformulated the question as
follows:921 "Whether there were materials to justify the finding of the
Tribunal that the transaction of purchase and sale of 13,74,000 shares was an
adventure in the nature of trade?" and answered the question so formulated
in the affirmative and therefore against the assessee company. In its application
for reference under s. 8(5) of the Act the assessee company wanted some other
questions also to be referred but the Investigation Commission only referred
the question which has been set out above. The assessee company therefore took
out a Notice of Motion on November 8, 1952, which was dismissed by the High
Court on the ground that either the questions which were sought to be raised
did not arise out of the finding of the Commission or they were included in the
question which had been referred and answered by the High Court. Although the
High Court did not so hold, the Notice of Motion was barred by time, being
filed after more than six months allowed under s. 66(2) of the Indian
Income-tax Act. Against this judgment and order of the High Court the assessee
company has come in appeal to this Court by special leave.
This appeal is brought against the judgment
of the High Court answering the question referred and therefore in its advisory
jurisdiction. The jurisdiction which this Court exercises in appeal is of the
same character and therefore any question which was not referred to the High
Court cannot be allowed to be raised at this stage. Consequently the
constitutional question in regard to discrimination under Art. 14 of the
Constitution which is now sought to be raised cannot be raised. The main
question which would then survive for decision is the nature of transaction
relating to the sale of 13 lacs odd shares and whether or not the sale was an
adventure in the nature of trade and therefore the amount of Rs. 16,52,600 the
excess of sale price over the purchase price of the share is a Revenue Receipt
and therefore taxable profits or is it a Capital Receipt and therefore not
liable to tax. The Investigation Commission by their order dated May 1, 1949,
found:922 (1) that a distinction should be made between the 6 lacs shares which
the assessee company intended to and did retain and the 13 lacs odd shares
which it intended to and did sell; the former was kept in order to enable the
assessee company to make their Managing Agency rights effective.
(2) During the negotiations between the
Sassoons and the promoters of the. assessee company, the promoters of the
assessee company had started negotiations with certain brokers for the transfer
of 13 lacs odd shares soon after the arrangement between the Sassoons and the
assessee company was completed.
(3) From the very beginning the intention of
the promoters of the assessee company was to sell all the 13 lacs odd shares
and in pursuance thereof they were sold.
(4) The paid up capital of the assessee
company was Rs. 20 lacs only and according to the agreement they had to take
the whole block of shares belonging to the Sassoons and pay for the shares as
well as for the Managing Agency both of which were separately valued in the
agreement. It was therefore necessary and it was intended to sell the 13 lacs
odd shares in order to pay off the Sassoons both for the Managing Agency and
the shares. The inference drawn from this by the Commission was that a distinction
had to be drawn between the 6 lacs shares which the assessee company intended
to retain and did in fact retain and the 13 lacs odd shares which they intended
to sell and did sell.
(5) that the intention to sell which the
assessee company entertained from the very outset was a complete answer to the
argument that the acquisition was in the nature of an investment. In giving its
finding the Commission said:"Aggregating the 121 lakhs paid for the Managing
Agency right and the full price of 6 lakhs and odd shares at Rs. 4-4-0 per
share, the capital investment must amount to 121 lakhs and 251 lakhs, i.e., 38
lacs and odd. By deducting therefrom the profits of Rs.
16,52,600, the Company showed a capital
investment of Rs. 21,54,200 and with the addition 923 of a few sundry items, it
was brought up to Rs. 22,06,408 (see para 7 supra)." From this finding the
inference drawn by the Commission was that the sale of 13 lacs odd shares was
an adventure in the nature of trade.
The High Court reformulated the question
which has already been quoted and it was contended that the High Court was in
error in narrowing down the scope of the question referred by the Commission.
It is not necessary to adjudicate upon this argument because in our opinion
taking the question as referred to be a proper question arising out of the
report of the Investigation Commission the answer to the first part thereof would,
still be in the affirmative. In considering the question whether the
transaction is or is not an adventure in the nature of trade we have to take
into consideration the intention of the assessee keeping in view the
"legal requirements which are associated with the concept of trade or
business". The inference from the facts found by the Investigation
Commission, i.e., whether the assessee company's transaction in purchasing and
selling 13 lacs odd shares is or is not an adventure in the nature of trade is
a mixed question of law and fact and the legal effect of the facts found by the
Investigation Tribunal is a question of law. See M/s. Ramnarain Sons (Pr.) Ltd.
v. Commissioner of Income-tax, Bombay (1).
It was argued on behalf of the assessee
(1) that the dominant idea with which the
whole transaction was entered into was to obtain the Managing Agency of the Apollo
(2) that the assessee company was forced to
buy the whole block of shares, i.e., 19,76,000 shares by the Sassoons because
they were not prepared to part with the Managing Agency without the whole of
their stock in the mill company;
(3) that as the assessee company did not have
sufficient amount of money, their capital being only Rs. 20 lacs, it was to
implement the tripartite agreement dated November 1, 1943, that the sale was
made; and (1) (1961] 2 S.C.R. 904, 908.
924 (4) that the Memorandum of Association of
the assessee company showed that it was a holding company and dealing in shares
was not one of its objects.
The agreement shows that the Sassoons had
separately evaluated the Managing Agency and the shares held in the Apollo
Mills Co. As the Investigation Commission has found, it was never the intention
of the assessee company to retain the whole block of shares. Before the
agreement was entered into they had made arrangement for the sale of the bulk
of shares which were to be transferred by the Sassoons and therefore division
of the shares into two sets was made by the promoters of the assessee company
and the assessee company themselves and was not the result of anything done by
the Investigation Commission.
In; support of his contention that the amount
of Rs. 16,52,600 was in the nature of Capital Receipt, reliance was placed on
the judgment of this Court in M/s. Ramnarain's case (1) but there are certain
features and details which distinguish that case from the present case. It was
held in that case that the question had to be decided in the light of the
intention of the assessee and the assessee in that case bad purchased the
shares of the Dawn Mills not as a business transaction. That was clear from the
fact that the assessee bad purchased the shares at Rs. 2,321-8-0 per share and
the market price was only Rs. 1,610, and the purpose of acquisition of such a
large block of shares at a price exceeding the market price by a million rupees
was the acquisition of the Managing Agency, which yielded the inference that
the intention of purchasing the shares in that case was not to acquire them as
a part of the trade of the assessee in shares but for obtaining the Managing
Agency of the Mills. There was no separate price paid for the Managing Agency
and the shares purchased and the Managing Agency acquired were both assets of a
capital nature and the shares did not constitute stock-in-trade of a trading
venture. In the present case the facts as shown were entirely different.
(1)  2 S.C.R 904, 908.
925 Counsel for the assessee company also
relied on Kishan Prasad & Co. Ltd. v. Commissioner of Income-tax, Punjab
In that case the Managing Director of the
company which was formed for the purpose of carrying on general business and
trade of commercial undertaking and dealing in bills, hundis and other
securities, entered into an agreement with a sugar syndicate by which the
company was to be given the Managing Agency of a Mill of the sugar syndicate
when such mill was erected in lieu of the company subscribing shares worth 3
lacs, and undertaking to sell shares worth 2 lacs. It was further provided that
if the mill was not erected the assessee company was to be paid a commission on
the amount invested by them. The Managing Director died and the assessee
company sold the shares and thus received Rs. 2 lacs more than they had
expended. The question was whether Rs. 2 lacs were receipts from business and
not a mere appreciation in capital. It was held that that amount was not a
result of an adventure in the nature of trade but was merely the result of an
investment. It was found as a fact that the object of the company was merely to
obtain the Managing Agency of the mill which would have been an asset of an
enduring nature bringing profits but there was from the very inception no
intention on the part of the company to resell the shares either at profit or
otherwise. It appears that it was not contested that the conclusion to be drawn
from those facts was that the investment in the purchase of shares in the
circumstances of the case of a capital nature, and profits arising there from
were an accretion to the capital. In that ease the court was trying to find out
the intention of the assessee (the company) and taking all the circumstances
into consideration it, came to the conclusion that it was a case not of profits
arising out of an adventure in the nature of trade but the, intention of the
assessee company was to invest its monies and therefore the excess arising out
of sale of the shares was an accretion to the capital. That case must be taken
to have been decided on its facts as (1)  27 I.T.R. 49.
926 indeed was the decision in M/s. Ramnarain
Son's case (1).
Counsel for the assessee company referred to
Tata Hydro-Electric Agencies, Bombay v. The
Commissioner of Income-tax, Bombay Presidency & Aden (2); Commissioner of
Income-tax, Central and United Provinces, Lucknow v. Messrs.
Motiram Nandram (3), Jones v. Leeming (4) and
Commissioner of Inland Revenue v. Reinhold (5). It is unnecessary to review
these cases in any detail because they are clearly distinguishable in material
respects and were decided on their own special facts. In Tata Hydro-Electric
Agencies' case (2) the question for decision was whether 25% of the commission
earned which was paid to the two financiers was expenditure deductible under s.
10(2)(ix) and it was held that it was not because the obligation to make the
payment was in consideration of acquiring the Managing Agency and the right to
conduct business and not for the purpose of producing profits in the conduct of
business. Similarly in Commissioner of Income-tax v. Messrs. Motiram Nandram
(3) the expenditure was for securing the agency which was to carry on business.
Sir George Rankin said at p. 81:
"The question in such a case a,% the
present must be "what is the object of the expenditure?" and it must
be answered from the standpoint of the assessees at the time they made it-that
is, when they were embarking upon the business of organizing agents for the
company." Jones v. Leeming (4) was a case of an isolated transaction.
The finding was that it was not in the nature
Commissioner of Inland Revenue v. Reinhold(5)
was' decided on its own facts. Another case decided by this court upon which
counsel for the appellant relied was Saroj Kumar Mazumdar v. Commissioner of
Income-tax, West Bengal, Calcutta (6) but that case was also decided on its own
facts and it was held that there was no clear evidence in support of (1) 
2.C.R. 004, 908 (3) (1939) L. R. 67 I. A. 71 (5) (1953) 34 T-C. 389.
(2) (1937) L. R. 64 I. A. 215.
(4)  A.C. 415.
(6)  SUPP. 2 S C.R. 846.
927 the inference of the Appellate Tribunal
that the land was purchased with the sole intention of selling it later at a
The English and Scottish cases on which the
appellant relied were considered by the House of Lords in Edwards v. Bairstow
(1).In that case the assessees who were the respondents embarked on a joint
venture to purchase and complete a spinning plant agreeing between themselves
not to hold it but to make a quick resale. With that object in view they
approached and there were diverse negotiations and the whole plant was sold in
about two years' time at a profit of about pound 18,000 and for that purpose
incurred commission for help in effecting sales, for insurance and other
The General Commissioners found that it was
not an adventure in the nature of trade to justify an assessment to incometax
under Case 1 of Schedule D to the Income-tax Act, 1918.
It was held that the facts led inevitably to
the conclusion that the transaction was an adventure in the nature of trade and
that the Commissioner's inference to the contrary should be set aside.
Counsel for the respondent next relied on a
Judgment of this Court in G. Venkataswami Naidu & Co. v. The Commissioner
of Income-tax (2) in which it was held that the presence of all the relevant
factors may help the Court to draw the inference that the transaction is in the
nature of trade but it is not a matter of counting the number of facts and
circumstances for and against. What is important is to consider the distinctive
character and it is the total effect of all the relevant factors that
determines the character of the transaction. All these cases are illustrative.
As was said by Gajendragadkar, J., in the above mentioned case the totality of
circumstances of a case and the pros and cons have to be considered and
inference drawn from those facts whether a particular transaction was in the nature
of trade or was merely an investment and the resulting excess from the
transaction was therefore profit which was taxable or was merely an accretion
to the capital.
In the instant case (1)  A.C. 14.
(2)  SUPP. 1 S.C.R. 646.
928 the pi of its from the transaction that
consisted of buying the Managing Agency of the Mill Company and the block of
shares held by the Sassoons were in our view the profits of an adventure in the
nature of trade. The two groups, Morarka and Bubnas, put Rs. 20 lacs into the
assessee company which was floated for the acquisition of the Managing Agency
and shares of the Mill Company which were beyond the holding capacity of the
assessee company. That company never intended to hold the whole block of
It or its promoters before even entering into
the agreement of purchase and during the course of negotiations for the
purchase had entered into arrangements with different brokers for the sale of
shares or at least of a bulk of those shares which were subsequently sold at a
profit and but for that sale the transact-ion could not have been completed by
the assessee company. The purchase of shares was not with the intention of
holding them, the intention of the assessee was just the contrary and by the
sale at a profit of the shares actually sold the assessee company expected to
and did finance the completion of the transaction and thus was enabled to
secure the Managing Agency and keep 6 lacs shares. This inescapably was a
transaction of a commercial nature. It had all the attributes of an adventure
in the nature of trade. The contention that dealing in buying and selling of
shares was not one of its objects is without substance. The Investigation
Commission found that dealing in shares was within the objects of the assessee
company and this is one circumstance in the totality of the circumstances which
must be considered, though by itself it is not determinative of the question.
All the circumstances lead to the inference which was rightly drawn by the
Investigation Commission and by the High Court. The answer to the first part of
the question referred by the Investigation Commission must therefore be in the
It was contended that the question should not
have been reframed and we have therefore proceeded to answer the question as
framed by the Investigation Commission. In our opinion the question even as
framed must be answered in the affirmative.
929 The Notice of Motion to raise other
questions in the High Court was rightly dismissed. Apart from the fact that the
Notice of Motion was barred by time and there was no application for
condonation of delay, the questions which were sought to be raised were rightly
held either to be covered by the question answered or they did not arise at
all. The constitutional question under Art. 14 of the Constitution cannot be
raised in these proceedings because as we have said above this Court is
exercising its advisory jurisdiction and its power is confined to the questions
which arise in an appeal.
This appeal must therefore be dismissed with