Madhya Pradesh H.C : the wealth of late Shri Anandrao Puar is not assessable in the hands of the assessee even though the assessee was the sole legal heir of the deceased who died intestate

High Court Of Madhya Pradesh : Indore Bench

Assistant Commissioner Of Wealth Tax vs. Smt. Mrinalini Devi Puar

Sections WT 24(5), WT 27A

A.M. Sapre & Ashok Kumar Tiwari, JJ.

WT Appeal Nos. 5 to 8 of 1999

5th January, 2006

Counsel Appeared

R.L. Jain with Ku. V. Mandlik, for the Appellant : G.M. Chafekar with D.S. Kale, for the Respondent


A.M. Sapre, J. :

The decision rendered in this appeal shall also govern disposal of other connected appeals being WTA Nos. 5, 6 and 7 of 1999, as all these appeals arise out of the common order passed by the Tribunal and secondly, they are between the same parties i.e., in relation to one assessee except the difference being that the appeals arise out of different assessment years and lastly, common question of law is involved in all these appeals.

2. This is an appeal filed by Revenue i.e., CWT under s. 27A of the WT Act against an order dt. 27th Oct., 1998, passed by Tribunal in WTA No. 42/Ind/1994. By impugned appellate order, the Tribunal was pleased to dispose of other connected appeals arising out of different assessment years relating to same assessee (respondent herein) because in all appeals, common question of law based on same fact was involved. This appeal was admitted for final hearing on following substantial question of law : “Whether, on the facts and in the circumstances of the case and in law the Tribunal was justified in holding that the wealth of late Shri Anandrao Puar is not assessable in the hands of the assessee even though the assessee was the sole legal heir of the deceased who died intestate ?”

3. Heard Shri R.L. Jain, learned senior counsel with Ku. V. Mandlik, learned counsel for the appellant and Shri G.M. Chafekar, learned senior counsel with Shri D.S. Kale, learned counsel for the respondent.

4. Having heard learned counsel for the parties and having perused records of the case, we are constrained to allow these appeals and while setting aside of the impugned order remand the case to the Tribunal for deciding the appeals afresh for the reasons indicated infra.

5. This is how the Tribunal decided the appeals by making following observations contained in para 5 of the impugned order : “From careful perusal of record we find that the first appellate authority has decided the appeal after relying upon the findings of the Tribunal in the assessee’s case in ITA Nos. 34/Ind/1990 and 93/Ind/1990. The Tribunal has also followed its earlier decision while deciding the appeal of the assessee pertaining to the asst. yrs. 1983-84, 1986-87 and 1987-88 in WTA Nos. 537 to 542/1995. Since the Tribunal has been taking a consistent view after following the orders of the Ahmedabad Bench in the assessee’s case and of this Bench in ITA No. 34/Ind/1990, we do not find a cogent reason to take a different view. We, therefore, decide the issue in favour of the assessee for the reasons discussed in our earlier order passed in WTA Nos. 34/Ind/1990 and 93/Ind/1990.”

6. Mere perusal of aforequoted para which resulted in dismissal of appeals filed by the Revenue would indicate that the Tribunal seems to have relied on some earlier decision rendered by Tribunal in the case of this very assessee in ITA No. 34/Ind/1990 and 93/Ind/1990 rendered by Ahmedabad Bench of Tribunal in ITA No. 34/Ind/1990 referred supra. No one has filed copy of these orders for perusal of this Court which was made basis for disposal of the appeals with a view to find out and then examine the so-called reasoning contained in those orders which led to dismissal of appeals filed by the Revenue. Secondly, the Tribunal too did not even quote the reasoning from those orders in the impugned order either in verbatim or their substance so as to at least let this Court know its worth. In these circumstances, this Court is left with no option except to observe that the impugned orders rendered by the Tribunal do not even contain any reasoning nor contain any finding of fact necessary for its examination by the higher appellate Court. It is, therefore, a case of an order having no reasons. This Court cannot countenance such type of approach and the manner of disposal of appeals by the Tribunal which is the last Court of appeal so far as facts are concerned.

7. In our considered opinion, it is obligatory on the part of the Tribunal to deal with the facts involved in the case, then deal with the submissions urged, then record its finding with reasons duly supported with recent judicial verdicts of the Supreme Court and/or High Court on the issue involved and then reach to its conclusion one way or the other. In case, if the Tribunal wish to rely upon its earlier decision which is undoubtedly one of the relevant facts then brief facts and reasoning contained in relation to that decision should be mentioned in the order so that it becomes a part of their order. It must then be also mentioned as to whether the said order has become final or is sub judice in reference proceedings or appeal at the instance of aggrieved party and if so what is its status. A further effort must be made by mentioning in the order as to whether view so taken therein by the Tribunal is upheld or not by Supreme Court or High Court in some cases decided subsequent to the decision or whether it is sub judice in any higher Court. Mere reference of any order without anything more indicates casual approach in the disposal of cases.

8. This Court as an appellate Court cannot record its own finding on facts. This Court has to examine the finding recorded by the Tribunal keeping in view the parameters specified in s. 27A ibid, or s. 260A of IT Act as the case may be. But when there is no finding apparently visible in the impugned appellate order much less its reasoning, then such an order cannot be upheld. This Court is really concerned with the reasoning that led the Tribunal to decide the issue in a particular manner. It is the reasoning or we may call “judicial reasoning” that matters for upholding or for setting aside by the appellate Court in hierarchy of jurisdiction. Once a particular point is decided in relation to one assessee by giving reasons then there is no need to decide the same issue again and again but at the same time, it must at least be made part of the impugned order. If Tribunal committed an error in not mentioning the reasoning in the impugned order, the Department committed further mistake in not filing the copies of those orders along with the appeal so as to make those orders part of the appellate record.

9. This Court in its appellate powers can frame additional substantial question of law at the time of hearing of the appeal. Similarly this Court also possesses powers to remand the case to Tribunal in case, if we come to a conclusion that appeal cannot be decided on merits unless a finding is recorded on facts by the Tribunal. In order to do complete justice between the parties and with a view to enable this Court to remand the case to Tribunal, we consider it proper to frame following additional substantial question of law which does arise out of the case : “In the absence of any finding and/or reasoning recorded in the impugned order, whether Tribunal was justified in dismissing the appeal by mere reference to one earlier decision of Tribunal ?”

10. We are of the opinion that aforesaid substantial question of law which does arise out of the impugned order deserves to be answered in affirmative (sic) and in favour of appellant. As a consequence, the matter has got to be remanded to Tribunal for fresh hearing of the appeals on merits after affording an opportunity of hearing to the parties. Since the matter is being remanded to the Tribunal, the parties are at liberty to bring to the notice of the Tribunal any relevant facts which came into existence pending these appeals and which have any bearing over the issues involved. Needless to observe, the Tribunal shall decide the appeals strictly in accordance with law keeping in view the aforementioned observations. Let the appeals be decided within 6 months as an outer limit. Parties to appear before the Tribunal on 6th Feb., 2006. In view of the nature of order, which we have passed, remanding the appeal for hearing, we do not wish to answer the original question framed.

[Citation : 286 ITR 607]

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