Kunwar Trivikram Narain Singh Vs.
State of Uttar Pradesh & Ors  INSC 203 (25 September 1964)
25/09/1964 SUBBARAO, K.
CITATION: 1965 AIR 1267 1965 SCR (1) 336
Agricultural Income-tax-Assessment made by Assistant
Collector quashed for want of jurisdiction-Retrospective amendment of law
conferring jurisdiction on Assistant Collectors-Fresh assessment whether barred
by limitationU.P. Agricultural Income-tax Act, 1948, (U.P. Act 3 of 1949), as
amended by U.P. Act 14 of 1956.
The appellant was assessed to agricultural
income-tax by the Assistant Collector, Banaras, U.P. Act 3 of 1949, under which
assessment was made, mentioned only the 'Collector' a.,, competent to make
assessment. The assessment made by the Assistant Collector was therefore set
aside by the Collector. Subsequently the law was amended by U.P. Act 14 of 1956
to provide that the word 'Collector' would include 'Assistant Collector' and
that the Collector could review his earlier orders quashing assessments on the
ground of want of jurisdiction, if application for review were made to him by
any of the parties within 90 days of the coming into force of the amendment.
Such application having been filed in the appellant's case, the Collector set
aside his earlier orders quashing the assessment, and the Assistant Collector
made a fresh assessment. The fresh assessment was challenged by the appellant
by writ petition in the High Court and having failed there, The appellant came
to the Supreme Court by special leave.
It was contended on behalf of the appellant
that the assessment made by virtue of the provisions of the amending Act was
barred by limitation because the retrospective operation of the provisions
relating to jurisdiction would not extend the time for making the assessment.
HELD : The Collector's order on the review
application had the effect of restoring the earlier proceedings. No question of
limitation could possibly arise, for those proceedings were initiated in time
and must be deemed to have been pending throughout, and the fresh assessment
was made in those very proceedings. [339 A-B].
S. C. Prashar v. Vasantsen, A.I.R. 1963 S. C.
1356 and Commissioner of Income-tax, Bihar v. Lakhmir Singh, A.I.R.
1963 S. C. 1394, held inapplicable.
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeal
No. 799 of 1963.
Appeal by special leave from the judgment and
decree dated March 1, 1961 of the Allahabad High Court in Special Appeal No.
205 of 1958.
S. P. Varmaa for the appellant.
C. B. Agarwala, O. P. Rana and Atiqur Rehman,
for the respondents.
337 The Judgment of the Court was delivered
by Subba Rao J. This appeal by special leave raises the question of the scope
of the retrospective operation of the U.P.
Agricultural Income-tax (Amendment) Act, 1956
(U.P. Act No. 14 of 1956).
The facts are simple and they are as follows:
On January 10, 1953, for the assessment year 1952-53, the Additional Collector,
Banaras, assessed the appellant to agricultural income-tax under the U.P.
Agricultural Income-tax Act, 1948 (U.P. Act 3 of 1949). On February 9, 1956,
Agricultural Income-tax (Amendment)
Ordinance, 1956 (2 of 1956) was passed enacting that the word
"Collector" shall always be deemed to include Additional Collector.
That Ordinance was later replaced by the U.P. Agricultural Income-tax
(Amendment) Act 14 of 1956. On an application filed by the appellant, the
Collector by his order dated May 9, 1956, revoked his earlier order and
directed the Additional Collector to proceed to assess the appellant in
accordance with law. Thereupon, the Additional Collector resumed proceedings
and on June 7, 1956, passed a fresh assessment order imposing a tax of Rs.
42,761 on the appellant, and on July 4, 1956, he issued a notice to the
appellant for payment of the tax. On August 7, 1956, the appellant filed a
petition under Art. 226 of the Constitution in the High Court of Judicature at
Allahabad for quashing the order of assessment and the notice issued pursuant
thereto. The petition was heard, in the first instance, by Tandon J., who
dismissed the same with costs.
The appeal preferred by the appellant against
that order to a Division Bench was also dismissed. Hence the present appeal.
Mr. S. P. Varma, learned counsel for the
appellant contended that (i) the respondent's right to assess the appellant to
tax was barred by limitation and, therefore, the Act could not have the effect
of reviving the said right; and (ii) the amount of malikhana could not be in
law the subject-matter of assessment.
The second point was not raised in the High
Court. We did not permit the learned counsel to raise the point for the first
time before us.
The first point turns upon the relevant
provisions of Act 3 of 1.949 and Act 14 of 1956. Under Act 3 of 1949 the definition
of "Collector" did not include "Additional Collector". Act
14 of 1956 received the assent of the Governor on April 17, 1956, and was
published in the U.P.
Gazette (Extraordinary) 338 dated May 19,
1956. Section 2 of Act 14 of 1956 reads:
"In section 2 of the U.P. Agricultural
Income Tax Act, 1948 (hereinafter called the Principal Act), for clause (4),
the following shall be and be deemed always to have been substituted"(4-a)
'Collector' shall have the meaning as in the U.P. Land Revenue Act, 1901, and
will include an Additional Collector appointed under the said Act."
Section 11 of the Act reads "Where before the commencement of this Act any
Court or authority has, in any proceedings under the Principal Act, set aside
any assessment made by an Additional Collector or Additional Assistant
Collector in-charge of a sub-division merely on the ground that the assessing
authority had no jurisdiction to make the assessment, any party to the
proceedings may, at any time within ninety days from the date of commencement of
this Act apply to the Court or authority for a review of the proceedings in the
light of the provisions of this Act, and the Court or authority to which the
application is made shall review the proceedings accordingly and make such
order, if any, varying or revising the order previously made, as may be
necessary to give effect to the provisions of the Principal Act as amended by
sections 2 and 8 of this Act." A combined reading of the said provisions
establishes that if an application for review was filed within the time
prescribed, the previous proceedings would be restored and the parties would be
relegated to the position which they had occupied before the proceedings were
quashed on the ground of want of jurisdiction.
In this case proceedings were initiated by
the Additional Collector on January 10, 1953, for the purpose of assessing the
appellant for the assessment year 1952-53. There was no flaw in the said
proceedings except that the Additional Collector was not authorized by Act 3 of
1949, as it then stood, to make the said assessment. The, Collector quashed
those proceedings by his order dated November 26, 1955.
After the amending Act was passed, within 90
days there from the appropriate income-tax authority had filed an application
before the Collector to review his order. The Collector reviewed the order and
339 set aside the same. The result was that the proceedings before the
Additional Collector were restored. As by the amendment the Additional
Collector must be deemed to have been the Collector from the inception of the
Principal Act itself, the said proceedings must be deemed to have been
initiated before the proper authority -under the Principal Act. In this view no
question of limitation could possibly arise, for the proceedings were initiated
in time and must be deemed to have been pending throughout and the fresh
assessment was made in the said proceedings.
The decisions cited by the learned counsel
are really beside the mark. He relied upon the judgments of this Court in S. C.
Prashar v. Vasantsen(1), and Commissioner of Income-tax Bihar v. Lakhmir
Singh(2). One of the questions raised in those cases was whether an amending
Act revived a remedy which had become barred before the amendment was
That aspect of the question has no relevance
to the present enquiry. Here we are dealing with an Act whose constitutionality
is not questioned. It has expressly conferred power on the appropriate
authority to review its previous order if an application was filed within the
time prescribed. When once that power of review was exercised, the proceedings
were reopened. In this view, no question of the application of an amending Act
to a barred claim would arise.
In the result we hold that the order of the
High Court is correct and dismiss the appeal with costs.
(1)  1 S.C.R. 29.
(2)  1 S.C.R. 148.