Decided on November 14,1972

SMT. R. D. CHAND. Appellant


GOPAL RAO EKBOTE,.J. - (1.) THIS is an application filed under Art. 226 of the Constitution for the issue of a writ of certiorari to quash the order dt. 15th Jan., 1971, and to direct the 1st respondent, the Central Government, to dispose of the petition filed by the petitioner on 16th Jan., 1970, in accordance with law. What happened in the case was that one Prof. Kishenchand died on 13th Jan., 1961. The petitioner is his widow. She is also the administration of his property. The Asstt. CED by his order dt. 30th Dec., 1968, assessed the estate duty leviable at Rs.
(2.) ,64,726.91. The assessment order was served upon the petitioner in January, 1969. The petitioner thereafter applied under S. 52 of the ED Act, 1953, to the Central Government on 15th Feb., 1969, requesting the Government to take over the property of the equal value in order to discharge the estate duty payable by her. Since no reply was received she filed another application on 16th Jan., 1970. 2. By the impugned order the CBDT, New Delhi, informed the petitioner that the Board after reconsidering her request regret their inability to accept the property offered by her against the arrears of estate duty demand. Two contentions were raised before us. It was, firstly, contended that according to S. 52 of the ED Act, it is the Central Government which ought to consider and dispose of the application and not the CBDT.
(3.) IT is true that under S. 52 it is the Central Government which is empowered by the legislature to dispose of the application filed in that behalf. But from the counter it appears that it is the Central Government which considered the applications and disposed them of. Paragraph 4 of the counter says : "It is submitted that S. 52 of the ED Act vests discretion in the Central Government to accept a property or not. The letter dt. 15th Jan., 1971, intimating non -acceptance of the offer of the petitioner was signed by the Under Secretary, CBDT, who is also ex -officio Under Secretary to the Government of India. The discretion in this case was actually exercised and the decision rejecting the offer was taken by the Central Government. The communication of this decision by the concerned Under Secretary was, therefore, duly authorised." Even in paragraph 5 of the counter it is reiterated : "In view of these and other relevant factors a decision was taken by the Central Government not to accept the offer and the accountable person was duly informed of the same." In view of this categorical statement made by the Central Government in the counter that it is the Central Government which took the decision although it is the CBDT through which the said decision was communicated and though that letter does not make any reference to that, we have no reason to disbelieve what is stated in the counter. The communication may be unhappily worded and does not make any reference to the authority which actually took the decision. In the counter, however, it is made very clear. Since the applications were considered and rejected by the Central Government we do not think any case arises for quashing the order merely because it is defective in form. Even if that order is quashed and the Central Government is now asked to consider and dispose of the application, in view of the counter no other result than what is stated there is likely to be produced. Neither writ of certiorari, therefore, is possible, nor any mandamus is going to be useful in the circumstances of the case. Even otherwise, as stated above, as we are satisfied that it is the Central Government which took the decision, the writ petition loses all its force.;

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