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DATE: September 21, 2015 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: September 28, 2015 (Date of publication)
AY: 1977-78 to 1986-87
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CITATION:
Important principles relating to valuation of property subject to the Land Ceiling Act explained in the context of the Wealth-tax Act

One has to assume that the property in question is saleable in the open market and estimate the price which the assumed willing purchaser would pay for such a property. When the asset is under the clutches of the Ceiling Act and in respect of the said asset/vacant land, the Competent Authority under the Ceiling Act had already determined the maximum compensation of Rs.2 lakhs, how much price such a property would fetch if sold in the open market? We have to keep in mind what a reasonably assumed buyer would pay for such a property if he were to buy the same. Such a property which is going to be taken over by the Government and is awaiting notification under Section 10 of the Act for this purpose, would not fetch more than Rs.2 lakhs as the assumed buyer knows that the moment this property is taken over by the Government, he will receive the compensation of Rs.2 lakhs only. We are not oblivious of those categories of buyers who may buy “disputed properties” by taking risks with the hope that legal proceedings may ultimately be decided in favour of the assessee and in such a eventuality they are going to get much higher value. However, as stated above, hypothetical presumptions of such sales are to be discarded as we have to keep in mind the conduct of a reasonable person and “ordinary way” of the presumptuous sale. When such a presumed buyer is not going to offer more than Rs.2 lakhs, obvious answer is that the estimated price which such asset would fetch if sold in the open market on the valuation date(s) would not be more than Rs.2 lakhs

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DATE: April 29, 2015 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: September 4, 2015 (Date of publication)
AY: -
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The client is not bound by a statement or admission which he or his lawyer was not authorised to make. The Lawyer generally has no implied or apparent authority to make an admission or statement which would directly surrender or conclude the substantial legal rights of the client unless such an admission or statement is clearly a proper step in accomplishing the purpose for which the lawyer was employed

Generally, admissions of fact made by a counsel is binding upon their principals as long as they are unequivocal; where, however, doubt exists as to a purported admission, the Court should be wary to accept such admissions until and unless the counsel or the advocate is authorised by his principal to make such admissions. Furthermore, a client is not bound by a statement or admission which he or his lawyer was not authorised to make. Lawyer generally has no implied or apparent authority to make an admission or statement which would directly surrender or conclude the substantial legal rights of the client unless such an admission or statement is clearly a proper step in accomplishing the purpose for which the lawyer was employed. We hasten to add neither the client nor the Court is bound by the lawyer’s statements or admissions as to matters of law or legal conclusions. Thus, according to generally accepted notions of professional responsibility, lawyers should follow the client’s instructions rather than substitute their judgment for that of the client.

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DATE: August 4, 2015 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: August 6, 2015 (Date of publication)
AY: -
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CITATION:
S. 194-I: In deciding whether a payment is for "use of land", the substance of the transaction has to be seen. If the payment is for a variety of services and the use of land is minor, the payment cannot be treated as "rent"

When the airlines pay for these charges, treating such charges as charges for ‘use of land’ would be adopting a totally naïve and simplistic approach which is far away from the reality. We have to keep in mind the substance behind such charges. When matter is looked into from this angle, keeping in view the full and larger picture in mind, it becomes very clear that the charges are not for use of land per se and, therefore, it cannot be treated as ‘rent’ within the meaning of Section 194-I of the Act

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DATE: May 15, 2015 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: May 19, 2015 (Date of publication)
AY: 1991-92
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S. 32: The assessee has the right to disclaim depreciation in its entirety. However, it cannot claim depreciation for the current year and disclaim unabsorbed depreciation

Once the unabsorbed carried forward depreciation has become a part of the depreciation of the current year, it is not open to the assessee to bifurcate the two again and exercising its choice to claim the depreciation of the current year under Section 32(1) of the Act and take a position that since unabsorbed depreciation of the previous years is not claimed, it cannot be thrusted upon the assessee. The position would have been different if the assessee had not claimed any depreciation at all. However, once the depreciation is claimed and while giving deductions the depreciation is to be set off against the profits of the current year prior to the unabsorbed carried forward investment allowance, it is the entire depreciation, namely, the depreciation of the current year as well as the unabsorbed carried forward depreciation, which is to be taken into account as by virtue of the fiction created under Section 32(2) of the Act

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DATE: April 9, 2015 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: May 6, 2015 (Date of publication)
AY: -
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S.22/28: Law on whether income from letting of properties is assessable as "business profits" or as "Income from house property" explained

Where there is a letting out of premises and collection of rents the assessment on property basis may be correct but not so, where the letting or sub-letting is part of a trading operation. The diving line is difficult to find; but in the case of a company with its professed objects and the manner of its activities and the nature of its dealings with its property, it is possible to say on which side the operations fall and to what head the income is to be assigned

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DATE: March 17, 2015 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: March 26, 2015 (Date of publication)
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While an amendment to overrule a judgement is not valid, it is permissible to retrospectively alter the character of the levy so as to save it from illegality

In exercising legislative power, the legislature by mere declaration, without anything more, cannot directly overrule, revise or override a judicial decision. It can render judicial decision ineffective by enacting valid law on the topic within its legislative field fundamentally altering or changing its character retrospectively

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DATE: March 16, 2015 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: March 18, 2015 (Date of publication)
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S. 10(23C)(v) & (vi): Mere surplus does not mean institution is existing for making profit. The predominant object test must be applied. The AO must verify the activities of the institution from year to year

The 13th proviso to Section 10(23C) is of great importance in that assessing authorities must continuously monitor from assessment year to assessment year whether such institutions continue to apply their income and invest or deposit their funds in accordance with the law laid down. Further, it is of great importance that the activities of such institutions be looked at carefully. If they are not genuine, or are not being carried out in accordance with all or any of the conditions subject to which approval has been given, such approval and exemption must forthwith be withdrawn. All these cases are disposed of making it clear that revenue is at liberty to pass fresh orders if such necessity is felt after taking into consideration the various provisions of law contained in Section 10(23C) read with Section 11 of the Income Tax Act

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DATE: March 10, 2015 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: March 12, 2015 (Date of publication)
AY: -
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CITATION:
S. 37(1): principles for deduction of business expenditure reiterated

The question that was posed by the High Court was whether acceptance of the agreements, affidavits and proof of payment would debar the assessing authority to go into the question whether the expenses claimed would still be allowable under Section 37 of the Act. This is a question which the High Court held was required to be answered in the facts of each case in the light of the decision of this Court in Swadeshi Cotton Mills Co. Ltd. Vs. Commissioner of Income Tax 1967 (63) ITR 57 and Lachminarayan Madan Lal vs. Commissioner of Income Tax West Bengal 1972 (86) ITR 439