VAZHAKALA ESTATE Vs. STATE OF KERALA
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
STATE OF KERALA
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K.S. Paripoornan, J. -
(1.)THE revision petitioner is an assessee to agricultural income-tax. THE assessee is a registered firm. It owns agricultural properties. It derives considerable income from cardamom. We are concerned with the assessment year 1983-84. THE Agricultural Income-tax Appellate Tribunal, Additional Bench, Kottayam, passed a common order in A. I. T. A. Nos. 76 and 206 of 1988, dated March 15, 1989. THE revisions are against the said common order in A. I. T. A. Nos. 76 and 206 of 1988. One of the appeals was filed by the Revenue and the other by the assessee.
(2.)THE facts of the case are a little complicated. THE firm was granted renewal of registration for the year 1983-84. THE books of account produced in support of the return were found not acceptable. THE Agricultural Income-tax Officer passed an order dated September 17, 1984. He stated a few reasons for the rejection of the returns. Amongst them, the following important aspects were stressed :
(i) THE crop register for cardamom maintained and produced was not written in the ordinary course of harvesting ;
(ii) Though weekly statements of the yield of cardamom along with the statements of expenses were received from the estate by the head office, the weekly statements of yield of cardamom, except for the week ending October 22, 1982, were not produced for verification. THE yield of cardamom accounted for was only 35 per cent. of the actual yield ;
(iii) THE value of 150 kgs. of coffee taken for own use was not accounted ;
(iv) THE yield of pepper accounted for was not based on any proper accounts ; and
(v) THE inspection report of the Agricultural Income-tax Officer, Vythiri, dated April 10, 1978, disclosed planted cardamom and also immature cardamom and coffee area. But no separate records were maintained for the expenses incurred for the upkeep and maintenance of the immature area. Inadmissible expenses were claimed.
A pre-assessment notice was issued. The assessee filed its objections. The Agricultural Income-tax Officer held that the weekly (crop) report for the week from October 18, 1982, to October 22, 1982, happened to be available with the accounts produced for verification and established that the crop register produced had nothing to do with that, as per the weekly statement from the estate to the head office. The particular weekly statement was traced from the books of account produced. It is not known with what intention the details of yield of cardamom were furnished from the estate to the head office in the scrap of paper. The weekly report detected at the time of verification of the accounts is only the weekly statement obtained from the estate and the same reflects the actual crop position. The yield of cardamom was estimated based on the particular weekly statement found in the books of account produced. A best judgment assessment was made, estimating the total income at Rs. 6,74,839.60. A total tax of Rs. 2,29,486.14 was levied.
The assessee carried the matter in appeal before the Appellate Assistant Commissioner, Kottayam. He modified the order of assessment, by order dated January 24, 1987. We are not concerned with the details of the modification ordered by the first appellate authority. One of the important aspects that was urged and dealt with by the Appellate Assistant Commissioner was that the yield estimated by the officer is highly excessive and arbitrary. The assessee objected to placing reliance on a scrap of paper alleged to have been recovered from one of the accounts produced for verification. The Appellate Assistant Commissioner held that the piece of paper under reference was produced before him for verification. But the paper docs not contain any entry regarding the year anywhere therein. The name of the crop is not mentioned in the slip of paper nor does it find a place in the slip. The Appellate Assistant Commissioner accepted the plea of the assessee that there is nothing in the slip of paper which indicates or from which a reasonable inference could be drawn that it relates to cardamom production for the year 1982. The estimate of yield of cardamom on the basis of the scrap of paper was, therefore, found unsustainable. Even so, the Appellate Assistant Commissioner felt that the yield conceded cannot be accepted. The accounts produced cannot be accepted as correct and complete. In the light of the relevant facts and circumstances, the Appellate Assistant Commissioner found that it will be fair and reasonable to fix the production for the year by adding an equal amount of yield conceded.
(3.)THE Revenue as well as the assessee filed appeals against the order passed by the Appellate Assistant Commissioner in Income-tax Appeal No. 925 of 1984, dated January 24, 1987. In the appeal filed by the Revenue, the main grievance was against the quantum of yield of cardamom refixed by the first appellate authority. THE Appellate Tribunal, for the various reasons stated in its order dated March 15, 1989, held that the estimate of yield of cardamom made by the assessing authority is justified and the direction of the first appellate authority in interfering with the estimate made was uncalled for. THE yield of cardamom originally assessed by the assessing authority was restored. THE appeal filed by the Revenue was allowed. In the appeal filed by the assessee, some modifications were made in respect of the claim regarding the expenses. THE appeal filed by the assessee was allowed in part. THE assessee has come up in revision against that portion of the common order passed by the Agricultural Income-tax Appellate Tribunal whereby the estimate of yield of cardamom originally made by the assessing authority was sustained and the modification effected by the Appellate Assistant Commissioner was set aside. Disallowance relating to car is questioned in the other revision.
We heard counsel for the revision petitioner-assessee, Mr. S.A. Nagendran, as also counsel for the respondent-Revenue, Senior Government Pleader, Mr. V.C James.
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