MANAGER VALIA AMMA THAMPURAN KOVILAKAM ESTATE Vs. AGRICULTURAL INCOME TAX OFFICER
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
MANAGER, VALIA AMMA THAMPURAN KOVILAKAM ESTATE
AGRICULTURAL INCOME-TAX OFFICER, TRICHUR,
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(1.) This writ petition raises the question of assessability to Agricultural Income Tax under the Agricultural Income Tax Act 1950 of the properties of the Valiamma Thampuran Kovilakam Estate, known compendiously as the V. T. K. Estate. It is agreed that the properties of the V. T. K. Estate comprise the ancestral properties of the Cochin Royal Family as well as the amounts donated from time to time by the Maharaja of Cochin for the maintenance of the members. The petitioner is the Manager of the V. T. K. Estate. The management of the Estate is governed by the provisions of the Cochin Proclamation 9 of 1124. The writ petition seeks a declaration that the V. T. K. Estate is not assessable to agricultural income tax and a writ of certiorari to quash Ext. P-2 notice, and P-4 order, of the 1st respondent, calling upon the petitioner to submit a return of the total agricultural income of the Estate for the year 1962-63, and holding after objection that the Estate was assessable.
(2.) I may notice only to reject the preliminary objection raised by the counsel appearing for the respondents that the petitioner has no locus standi to maintain this writ petition. The Cochin Proclamation 9 of 1124 vested the management of the V. T. K. Estate, and the Palace Fund in the Palace Administration Board. Ext. P-2 notice was issued by the 1st respondent to the petitioner as the Manager of the Estate. He replied thereto by Ext. P-3 objection. The same was overruled by Ext. P4 communication addressed to the petitioner and a return of income was insisted upon. The provisions of the Proclamation 9 of 1124, no less than the conduct of the 1st respondent in dealing with the petitioner as a representative of the Estate are sufficient to clothe the petitioner with locus standi to maintain this writ petition. (Vide Gudde Venkataswara Rao v. Govt. of A. P. ( AIR 1966 SC 828 ).
(3.) The V. T. K. Estate has now been partitioned under the provisions of the Valiamma Thampuran Kovilakam Estate, and the Palace Fund (Partition) Act 1961 and a document of partition has been executed on 24 6 1963. The period to which Ext. P.2 notice and Ext. P.4 order relate is the assessment year 1962-63. The petitioner's counsel filed an additional affidavit and prayed to receive the same by an unnumbered C. M. P. filed on 9 1 1967. In the said additional affidavit, the petitioner has stated that division of status in respect of the V. T. K. Estate took place in 1961, and that the assessment of the owners, if at all, to Agricultural Income Tax can only be as tenants-in-common under S.3 (5) of the Agricultural Income tax Act of 1950. This is a matter to be taken into account by the assessing authority, if and when it proposes to assess the Estate.;
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