Decided on July 31,1963



Chandra Reddy, C.J. - (1.) The two questions of law that are referred to this Court under section 64 (1) of the Estate Duty Act by the Central Board of Revenue are : (1) Whether on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, there was evidence to justify the addition of Rs. 10,000 as the value of jewellery in the estate of the deceased ? and (2) Whether on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, there was evidence to justify the inclusion of the garden at Tooli Chowki in the estate of the deceased ? The facts giving rise to this reference are these. One Shankar Rao Jadhav, who was a Civil Surgeon under the Government of Hyderabad, died on 9th October, 1956, survived by his widow Shantabai, the applicant in the present reference, and eight children and considerable property. The widow and some of her children, who were accountable persons within the terms of sub-section (1) of section 53 of the Act, filed an account of the estate before the Assistant Controller of Estate Duty, Hyderabad, declaring the principal value thereon at Rs. 88 115 The Asssitant Controller, however, determined the principal value of the estate at Rs. 2,10,002.
(2.) In arriving at the principal value of the estate, he included the following two items of assets : (i) Rs. 10,000 as the value of the jewellery in the possession of the deceased at the time of Ms death ; and (ii) Rs 35 000 as the value of the garden at Tooli Chowki belonging to the deceased, but standing in the name of the wife, Smt. Shantabai. As regards the first item, the applicant had not disclosed any amount towards the value of jewellery left by the deceased in the account of the estate filed by her. The Assistant Controller thought that the first item should be added to the estate of the deceased as it was liable to estate duty in view of the fact that the deceased had admitted possession of jewellery of the value of Rs 10 000 in the statements of wealth as on 1st April, 1954 and 31st March, 1955, filed by him before the Income-tax Officer in connection with his income-tax assessments. Regarding this item, the widow stated that there was very little jewellery and that too belonged to the ladies in the family. The Assistant Controller refused to accept the statement, and added a sum of Rs. 10,000 as the value of the jewellery.
(3.) As regards the second item, indisputably the sale deed stands in the name of Shantabai The finding of the authorities concerned in this behalf was that the consideration was furnished by Shankar Rao, and he also treated it as his own in the statement of wealth by including it in his assets. The case of the widow Shantabai is that she purchased the property with money belonging to her, and that, at anv rate if for any reason it was found that she had no stridhana property which could be utilised for the acquisition of the property in dispute, the husband should be deemed to have made a gift of it to her. This claim was rejected by the Assistant Controller, as the case of gift was quite contrary to the purchase of the property, and that there was absolutely nothing to show that the deceased intended either the purchase money or the property itself as a gift to the applicant.;

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