Decided on January 13,1984



P.K.Banerjee, C.J. - (1.)THIS rule is directed against an order passed by the Commissioner, Wealth-tax, under Section 18(2A) before amendment of the Wealth-tax Act and after amendment, under Section 18B, whereby the petitioner was asked to pay penalty for failure, without reasonable cause, to furnish the return of net wealth under Section 14 (1) of the Wealth -tax Act.
(2.)THE facts leading to the proceeding is that the petitioner filed a return under Section 14 for the period 1964-65 to 1967-68 on July 24, 1970, showing the estimated wealth at Rs. 1,80,250 for the assessment year 1964-65, Rs. 2,08,135 for the assessment year 1965-66, Rs. 2,15,197 for the assessment year 1966-67 and Rs. 2,40,560 for the assessment year 1967-68. THE Wealth-tax Officer assessed the tax for the assessment year 1964-65 at Rs. nil, Rs. 84 for the assessment year 1965-66, Rs. 168 for the assessment year 1966-67 and Rs. 268 for the assessment year 1987-68, totalling for all the three years at Rs. 520. THEreafter, a proceeding was drawn up against the petitioner and notice was issued for penalty on account of late filing of the return. THE petitioner filed a written reply on December 13, 1972, but the respondent-Wealth -tax Officer, Jhalawar, rejected the said application and imposed a penalty for the year 1965-66 at Rs. 1,300, for the assessment year 1966-67 at Rs. 2,610 and for the year 1967-68 Rs. 4,120, totalling to Rs. 8,030 under Section 18(1)(a) of the Wealth-tax Act before amendment for the delay in filing the return by his order dated March 2/6, 1974. It appears, in making the assessment, the penalty was fixed as if there was delay in filing the return on the date when the order was passed or on the date when the return was filed. This is patently wrong (sic). THE penalty, if any, could be fixed for the period of assessment year as may be fixed under the Wealth-tax Act or the Finance Act, as the case may be (sic). Be that as it may, the order itself is not a speaking order. From that order, it is very difficult to consider what led the Wealth-tax Officer to pass the relevant order. As this is a quasi-judicial proceeding, the authority concerned must pass a speaking order. Not having passed a speaking order, the order cannot be sustained and must be set aside which I hereby do. THE matter is remitted to the competent authority for rehearing and decision in accordance with law. I have not decided the merits of the case at all. THEre will be no order as to costs.

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