COMMISSIONER OF WEALTH TAX Vs. EXECUTORS TO THE ESTATE OF SIR E C BENTHAL
HIGH COURT OF CALCUTTA
COMMISSIONER OF WEALTH-TAX
EXECUTORS TO THE ESTATE OF SIR E.C. BENTHAL
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Deb, J. -
(1.)This is a reference under Section 27(1) of the Wealth-tax Act, 1957, concerning the estate left by late Sir Edward C. Benthal. The assessment years are 1961-62 to 1963-64. The relevant valuation date is the 31st March, each year.
(2.)Sir Edward died on March 5, 1961, leaving a will and several codicils, M/s. Dalhousie Holdings Ltd. are the representatives in India of the executors to the estate left by him. They were assessed to wealth-tax, but the Appellate Tribunal has set aside the assessment by holding that they were not assessable under the Act in view of the death of Sir Edward before the valuation date. Thereafter, the Tribunal referred the following question to this court at the instance of the Commissioner :
"Whether, on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, wealth-tax assessments upon the executors to the estate of Sir E. C. Benthal (deceased) for the assessment years 1961-62, 1962-63 and 1963-64 were legally made ?"
(3.)Mr. B. L. Pal, the learned counsel for the revenue, has confined his submissions solely to the assessment year 1961-62 by conceding that the executors cannot be assessed to wealth-tax in the assessment years 1962-63 and 1963-64, in view of the decision of the Bombay High Court in the case of Jamnadas v. Commissioner of Wealth-lax  56 ITR 648 (Bom), He, however, placed reliance on the said decision in support of his contention that the assets left by Sir Edward in the year of his death was taxable in the hands of the executors. His further submission is that though no return was filed by Sir Edward prior to his death, his executors are liable to be taxed under Section 19(2) of the Act. His final submission is that Section 19A of the Act is retrospective in its operation and, therefore, the net wealth of the deceased is liable to be taxed in the hands of the executors under this section.
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