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Report No. 52

Estate Duty on Property Acquired After Death

1. Introductory.-

This Report deals with a question which has been raised with reference to the valuation of property for the purposes of the Estate Duty Act, 1953. The question appeared important enough to require urgent consideration, and has therefore, been taken by the Law Commission suo motu. The point was raised in a letter received from a Member of the Bar,1 and a study of the law on the subject disclosed that the present statutory provision could cause serious hardship in certain situations, to be discussed in detail later. Hence this Report.

Before arriving at our final conclusion, we had put our tentative proposals in the form of a draft report, a copy of which had been circulated to the Ministry concerned.2 The Ministry broadly agreed with our proposal, but remarked that it was not aware of any enactment providing for acquisition without compensation.

We may, with reference to the above comment, point out that it is not inconceivable that an enactment providing for acquisition of property without compensation may be passed. In fact, we gather that in Kerala, an Act providing for the acquisition of forest lands without compensation was recently passed. It is understood that the Act was declared to be void by the High Court; but it is also understood that an appeal against the judgment of the High Court is pending before the Supreme Court.

1. File No. F 5(2)/72-LC, Serial No. 1.

2. Ministry of Finance, Department of Revenue & Insurance.

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