High Court Of Karnataka
Smt. Gangamma & Anr. vs. Agricultural Income Tax Officer
S.R. Rajashekara Murthy, J.
Writ Petitions Nos. 1571 and 1572 of 1981
11th October, 1990
S.R.RAJASHEKARA MURTHY, J.:
The Karta of the HUF, one B. G. Gurappa, consisting of himself and his wife, died on May 12, 1980. There was a partition in the family between the father, Gurappa, and his son on April 25, 1973. Subsequent to the said partition, the late Gurappa and his wife, Smt. Gangamma, constituted a smaller HUF and this HUF was assessed from the year 1974-75 onwards.
After the death of B. G. Gurappa on May 12, 1980, the respondent issued notices to Smt. Gangamma, the widow of B. G. Gurappa, and B. G. Gurudev, the son of the late Gurappa, treating them as legal heirs of the deceased.
The two notices issued are produced as annexures A and B and the respondent proposed to make an assessment on the agricultural income for the year 197980 in their hands. These two notices are challenged by the petitioners, Smt. Gangamma and Gurudev, in these writ petitions.
It is the contention of the petitioners that, after the death of B. G. Gurappa, there was no “family” and the income for the year 1979-80 cannot be brought to tax either in the hands of his widow or in the hands of his divided son. The argument is that there is no provision in the Agrl IT Act to assess a sole surviving member of the family treating him/her as a family. The petitioner has relied upon the decision of the Madras High Court in the case of Seethammal vs. CIT (1981) 130 ITR 597.
In the said case, the Madras High Court has held that the assessment proceedings taken against the widow of the Karta who was the sole surviving member of the family was not possible under the IT Act. The facts in the present case are similar to those in Seethammal’s case (supra). The Madras High Court followed the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of C. Krishna Prasad vs. CIT 1975 CTR (SC) 7 : (1974) 97 ITR 493. It was observed by the Supreme Court that a single person, male or female, cannot constitute a family and that the plurality of persons is an essential attribute of a family. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal filed by the assessee- appellant and upheld the order of the Karnataka High Court in C. Krishna Prasad’s case (1970) 75 ITR 526 (Mys). Same is the view taken by a Division Bench of this Court in G. E. Thippaiah vs. Agrl. ITO (1991) 187 ITR 668 (Kar) (W. P. No. 22493 of 1981 disposed of on June 22, 1988). The Division Bench quashed the notice issued under the Agrl. IT Act on the son of the deceased Karta who was the sole surviving member of the family. The Division Bench referred to Seethammal’s case (supra) , in turn, applied the ratio of the decision in C. Krishna Prasad’s case (1974) 97 ITR 493 (SC) for quashing the notice.
For the same reasons, the above notices issued in the present case also have to be quashed. It is ordered accordingly.
The writ petitions are, accordingly, allowed.
[Citation : 188 ITR 133]