Madras H.C : This is rather a curious case where the Tribunal has upheld the claim by a practising chartered accountant with substantial income, that he is entitled to the benefit of s. 80U of the IT Act on the ground that he suffered from “hypertension” for ten years.

High Court Of Madras

CIT vs. E.V. Subramanian

Section 80U

Asst. Year 1981-82, 1982-83

R. Jayasimha Babu & Mrs. A. Subbulakshmy, JJ.

Tax Case Nos. 809 & 810 of 1988

17th June, 1999

Counsel Appeared

Mrs. Chitra Venkataraman, for the Applicant : Mrs. Pushya Sitraraman, for the Respondent

ORDER

R. JAYASIMHA BABU, J. :

This is rather a curious case where the Tribunal has upheld the claim by a practising chartered accountant with substantial income, that he is entitled to the benefit of s. 80U of the IT Act on the ground that he suffered from “hypertension” for ten years. Strangely enough even though the doctor, whose certificate produced by the assessee, did not state that such hypertension was a disability, the Tribunal has treated “hypertension” as amounting to permanent physical disability. The Tribunal has also taken the view that despite the increase in the income of the assessee year after year, the assessee was nevertheless to be regarded as suffering from a permanent physical disability which had the effect of reducing substantially his income-earning capacity.

The assessment years are 1981-82 and 1982-83. We are informed by counsel at the Bar, that at that time, the assessee was aged about 55 years and was a partner in more than one firm, and was deriving income from each of these firms. Sec. 80U of the IT Act deals with cases of resident disabled persons. That section reads as under: “80U. Deduction in the case of totally blind or physically handicapped resident persons.—In computing the total income of an individual, being a resident, who, as at the end of the previous year; (i) is totally blind, or (ii) is subject to or suffers from a permanent physical disability (other than blindness) which has the effect of reducing substantially his capacity to engage in a gainful employment or occupation, there shall be allowed a deduction of a sum of five thousand rupees: Provided that such individual produces before the ITO, in respect of the first assessment year for which deduction is claimed under this section, (a) in a case referred to in cl. (i) a certificate as to his total blindness from a registered medical practitioner being an oculist; and (b) in a case referred to in cl. (ii) a certificate as to the permanent physical disability referred to in the said clause from a registered medical practitioner.”

4. As to what constitutes permanent physical disability had not been elaborated upon either in the Act or in the Rules framed thereunder during the relevant assessment year. Rule 11D of the IT Rules which deals with permanent physical disabilities for the purpose of deduction under s. 80U came to be introduced in the Rules only w.e.f. 1st April, 1985.

The doctor who certified the illness of the assessee, had not certified that the assessee was suffering from any permanent physical disability. All that is set out in the certificate is that the assessee is suffering from essential hypertension for the past ten years, that the disease is only controllable, and not completely curable, and that this disease substantially reduces his active working capacity. This certificate does not satisfy the requirement of s.

80U.

Reference to physical disability in that section is to such disabilities as blindness, loss of hearing, sensation, or movement. Stress and strain is inevitable when one works under pressure, as almost everyone does in the present day circumstances. Hypertension is not an uncommon ailment as a result of such stress. While it may reduce the capacity of the person to withstand stress, it cannot be regarded as a permanent physical disability.

The question referred to us as to whether the Tribunal was right in holding that the assessee is entitled to the relief under s. 80U of the Act, is answered against the assessee and in favour of the Revenue.

[Citation : 243 ITR 281]

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