MAN SINGH Vs. WEALTH TAX OFFICER
INCOME TAX APPELLATE TRIBUNAL
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P.L. Kanojia, Accountant Member -
(1.) THESE three appeals have been filed by the assessee against the common order of the AAC objecting to the inclusion of the value of a house situated at Jhinjhana Road, Shamli, standing in the name of his wife Smt. Lahar Kaur, towards the net wealth of the assessee for the assessment years 1970-71 to 1972-73.
(2.) During the wealth-tax assessment proceedings for the assessment year 1970-71, the WTO came to know through the Survey Report of his Inspector that the assessee constructed a house at Jhinjhana Road, Shamli, in the name of his wife, Smt. Lahar Kaur, and that the said house was let out to NCC at a monthly rent of Rs. 500. The WTO recorded the statement of the assessee on this point on 30-1-1976. In his statement, the assessee stated that his wile purchased a plot of land for Rs. 5,000 in the year 1963 and constructed a house on the said plot during the years 1963 to 1965 and spent a sum of Rs. 20,000. It was stated that the above investment of Rs. 20,000 was made up partly out of the savings of his wife and partly out of an advance of Rs. 10,000 as loan to his wife. The WTO observed that there was no evidence to show that the investment in the said house was made by the wife. The assessee further submitted before the WTO that the lady made a declaration on 25-6-1968 whereby the said house was thrown in the common hotch-potch of a HUF, consisting of the assessee, his wife and a daughter. The WTO did not give any credence to this statement for the reason that the said declaration was filed by the assessee only on 30-1-1976. On the basis of the above facts, the WTO concluded that it was the assessee who was the real owner of the house and that his wife, Smt. Lahar Kaur, was simply a name-lender, Accordingly, the value of the house, which was estimated at Rs. 1 lakh for each of the years under dispute, was included towards the net wealth of the assessee.
The assessee went in appeal for all the three years and before the AAC, it was submitted that the house in question belonged to his wife, Smt. Lahar Kaur, who made the necessary investment in the purchase of the plot and construction of the house. It was also submitted that subsequently the assessee's wife declared the house as belonging to a HUF on 25-6-1961. It was also pleaded that the WTO was not justified in taking the value of the said house at Rs. 1 lakh which is highly excessive and arbitrary without any basis. The AAC rejected the assessee's contention with regard to the ownership of the house. He upheld the findings of the WTO that the investment in the year were made by the assessee who was the real owner and that his wife was simply a name-lender. However, on the question of valuation, he reduced the value of the house to Rs. 81,000 for each year as against Rs. 1 lakh estimated by the WTO. Aggrieved by the findings of the AAC, the assessee has come up in these appeals.
(3.) BEFORE us, the learned counsel of the assessee reiterated the contentions which were made before the authorities below. It was pleaded that there was no evidence or material with the department to come to the conclusion that the lady was benamidar of her husband and that the real owner of the house was the assessee and not his wife, Smt. Lahar Kaur, in whose name the property stood. In this connection, the learned counsel placed reliance on the decision of the Allahabad High Court in the case of Prakash Narain v. CIT/CWT  6 Taxman 159. The learned representative of the department on the other hand placed reliance on the findings of the authorities below.;
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