P.B.Mukharji, Actg. C.J. -
(1.) In the statement of the case the three following questions are set out at the instance of the Commissioner of". Income-tax for answer by this court:
"(1) Whether, on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal was right in holding that the order of the Commissioner of Income-tax under Section 33B was vitiated as it was passed on an erroneous finding that the Income-tax Officer had no jurisdiction over the assessee ?
(2) Whether, on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal was justified in setting aside the order of the Commissioner of Income-tax under Section 33B on the ground that the Commissioner had used materials against the assessee without giving the assessee an opportunity to rebut the same ? If the answer to either of the above questions is in the negative, then,
(3) Whether, on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, the Tribunal was right in setting aside the order of the Commissioner under Section 33B?"
(2.) These questions arise out of nine applications under Section 66(1) of the Income-tax Act, 1922, of the Commissioner of Income-tax requiring the Tribunal to refer as many as nine common questions of law said to arise on the Tribunal's consolidated order in I.T.A. Nos. 11728 to 11736 of 1962-63 dated the 22nd December, 1965.
(3.) The facts are briefly as follows: The assessee is Smt. Panna Devi Saraogi, wife of Shri Narsingdas Saraogi, an employee of M/s. Thakurdas, Suerka Iron Foundry Ltd. The assessee filed voluntary returns of income all dated 14th December, 1960, for the assessment years 1953-54 to 1960-61 before the Income-tax Officer, D-Ward, Howrah, giving her address as 37, Bazalpara Lane, Salkia, Howrah. The Income-tax Officer took cognizance of the returns on the 19th December,1960, when he purported to serve notices under Section 23(2) of the Income-tax Act, 1922; in respect of these years on the assessee's authorised representative, Shri D. R. Saboo, who was present before him. The Income-tax Officer made the assessments for these years on the 29th December, I960. The return for the assessement year 1961-62 was dated the 9th August,1961, and was filed before the Income-tax Officer on the 28th August, 1961. The assesement for that year was made on that very day. In the returns filed the assessee showed income from business in speculation and income from interest. In the assessment year 1953-54, the assessee had introduced an initial capital of Rs. 14,500 for the purpose of her business. At the time of the assessment a declaration was filed by the assessee before the Income-tax Officer in which it was explained that the assessee belonged to a well-to-do family and she had received dowries and gifts at the time of her marriage amounting to Rs. 15,000. With this amount she started money-lending business and later on speculation business. It is found as a fact that no proper books of account were kept. It was further declared that the assessee had purchased shares worth Rs. 5,000 of M/s. Thakurdas Sureka Iron Foundry Ltd., in 1957-58, and that the assessee never maintained any banking account and also did not keep proper books of account except a home chest account; The declaration has been fully quoted in the order of the Commissioner under Section 33B. The Income-tax Officer accepted Rs. 9,500 as income from undisclosed sources for assessment year 1953-54. For the assessment years 1954-55 to 1960-61 the Income-tax Officer accepted the returned income after making small additions thereto. The assessee's investment of Rs. 5,000 in the shares of Thakurdas Sureka Iron Foundry Ltd., in which her husband was employed, in the assessment year 1958-59 and her further investment, viz., a deposit of Rs. 35,000 with M/s. Geokay Transport Corporation in Which her husband was directly interested, and a further sum of Rs. 15,000 invested in the firm of M/s United Syndicate in which also her husband was a partner in the assessment year 1960-61 were accepted by the Income-tax Officer in the respective assessment orders. A further deposit of R. 10,000 with M/s. Thakurdas Sureka Iron Foundry Ltd., in the assessment year 1961-62, appears to have been accepted by the Income- tax Officer. The total incomes assessed for these nine years were respectively Rs. 6,290, Rs. 4,195, Rs. 4,477, Rs. 4,600, Rs. 5,145, Rs. 5,455, Rs. 6,343, Rs. 6,720 and Rs. 7,777.;