ARVIND N MAFATLAL Vs. UNION OF INDIA
LAWS(BOM)-1972-6-8
HIGH COURT OF BOMBAY
Decided on June 23,1972

ARVIND N.MAFATLAL Appellant
VERSUS
UNION OF INDIA Respondents

JUDGEMENT

K.K.Desai, J. - (1.) One Navinchandra Mafatlal died at Bombay on August 31, 1955, prior thereto making and publishing his last will and testament, whereof the petitioners are the executors. In connection with the wealth-tax liability, for the assessment year 1961-62, of the estate of Navinchandra Mafatlal, the petitioners, as executors, were assessed under the assessment order dated January 16, 1962, and a claim for wealth-tax of Rs. 1,43,683.88 was made against the petitioners by a notice of demand dated February 15, 1962. The petitioners paid that amount on March 27, 1962, though on certain points the petitioners filed an appeal, which was dismissed by the Appellate Assistant Commissioner by his order dated June 2, 1962. The Income-tax Appellate Tribunal, in further appeal, by its appellate order dated January 20, 1964, reduced the liability, from the above sum to Rs. 1,30,485.40.
(2.) In the case of Jamnadas v. Commissioner of Wealth-tax, the executors of the estate of one Sodradevi N. Daga contended before a Division Bench of this court that there was no provision in the Wealth-tax Act, 1957, entitling the revenue to charge wealth-tax in respect of the wealth of a deceased person from after the financial year next to the financial year in which such person dies. The relevant provisions are in section 19 of the Act. After considering section 19 along with the definitions contained in the Act and sections 4 and 5, the Division Bench held that there was no provision in the Wealth-tax Act in respect of assessing wealth-tax on the estate left by a deceased individual except to the extent as provided in section 19. It was observed that under section 19 : ". . . it is clear that in respect of the financial year in which a person dies, liability is created against executors . . . to pay wealth-tax as assessed in respect of the wealth of the deceased person . . . . The provisions in sub-section (2) when read with sub-section (1) clearly indicate that the provisions in this section were to enable the revenue to recover wealth-tax in respect of the net wealth of the deceased person for the financial year in which the person died. . . . by legal fiction the tax was intended to be levied on the footing that he continued to town the estate left by him during the complete duration of the relevant financial year."
(3.) The court came to the conclusion that there was no provision in the Wealth-tax Act for charging and assessing wealth-tax in respect of the net wealth of a deceased individual beyond the financial year in which such person dies and that there was no further liability attached to the estate left by a deceased individual and continuing in the hands of the executors, administrators or other legal representatives. Apparently, Navinchandra Mafatlal, having died on August 31, 1955, the petitioners, as executors of the estate, left by Navinchandra, were not liable to pay any wealth-tax for the assessment year 1961-62. Having regard to the law pronounced in the case of Jamnadas v. Commissioner of Wealth-tax there was no provision in the Wealth-tax Act to initiate any proceedings to assess wealth-tax in respect of the estate left by Navinchandra and remaining in possession of the executors of his will during the assessment year 1961-62.;


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