Madras H.C : Whether, on the facts and in the circumstances and having regard to the interpretation of the lease deed the Tribunal was justified in confirming the valuation made by the Department insofar as it relates to the inclusion of reversionary value of the superstructure ?

High Court Of Madras

H. Md. Zaid (Minor) vs. Commissioner Of Wealth Tax

Section 7

Asst. Year 1983-84, 1984-85, 1985-86

R. Jayasimha Babu & K. Raviraja Pandian, JJ.

T.C. Nos. 1004 to 1006 of 1990

26th August, 2002

Counsel appeared :

P.P.S. Janardhanaraja, for the Applicant : T.C.A. Ramanujam, for the Respondent

ORDER

R. JAYASIMHA BABU, J. :

The question referred to us at the instance of the assessee is : “Whether, on the facts and in the circumstances and having regard to the interpretation of the lease deed the Tribunal was justified in confirming the valuation made by the Department insofar as it relates to the inclusion of reversionary value of the superstructure ?” The assessment years are 1983-84 to 1985-86. The assessee, along with others is a joint lessee of a valuable piece of land at Nos. 190 to 192, Mount Road, Madras. The terms of the lease are set out in lease deed dt. 16th Nov., 1978. Clause 3 of the document empowers the joint lessees to put up a building at their cost and in accordance with the sanctioned plan. Clause 5 recognises the joint lessees to be the owners of the superstructure and of the fixtures and fittings therein during the currency of the lease and further requires the joint lessees to pay wealth-tax for the superstructure. While valuing the building, the AO, relying on the valuation report given in respect of the interests of one of the lessors in the land has, while computing the value of the superstructure, added certain sums as reversionary value of the superstructure. That order of the AO has been upheld in appeal and thereafter affirmed by the Tribunal. The relevant clauses in the lease deed make it abundantly clear that the ownership of the building which has been put up at the cost of the joint lessees is with the joint lessees. They are the owners of the building and they are to pay wealth-tax. Their interest in the building as such owners has to be ascertained by adopting a suitable method of valuation. The method chosen by the valuer is rental capitalisation method. The values relevant for that method are the rentals received by the assessee and the period for which the capitalisation is to be done.

The question of adding any reversionary interest does not arise. The assessee here, in fact had no reversionary interest in the land or the building as, the assessee, along with the joint lessees, was merely a joint lessee of the land for a certain term and the ownership of the building erected thereon at the cost of the joint lessees remains with them for the term of the lease. The value of the super-structure was not dependent upon the term of the lease. The value of the asset for the purpose of the wealth-tax is the value, as on the last date of the financial year. Whether the right of the owner of the building to retain ownership of the building is of limited or longer duration depending upon the period for which the land on which the building has been erected, has been taken on lease, will not materially affect this valuation.

5. It is apparent that the confusion that has crept in the orders of the AO, is on account of the reliance placed on the valuation report which concerned the value of the interest of the lessor of the land, who would, at the end of the term of the lease, become entitled to ownership of the superstructure. That approach to valuation was wholly irrelevant so far as the joint lessees of the land who had put up the superstructure and who were required to pay wealth-tax on that superstructure was concerned. The question referred to us is, therefore, answered in favour of the assessee and against the Revenue.

[Citation : 258 ITR 560]

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