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Mahaveer Kumar Jain vs. CIT (Supreme Court)

COURT:
CORAM: ,
SECTION(S):
GENRE:
CATCH WORDS: ,
COUNSEL:
DATE: April 19, 2018 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: April 23, 2018 (Date of publication)
AY: -
FILE: Click here to download the file in pdf format
CITATION:
It is a fundamental rule of law of taxation that, unless otherwise expressly provided, income cannot be taxed twice. A taxing Statute should not be interpreted in such a manner that its effect will be to cast a burden twice over for the payment of tax on the taxpayer unless the language of the Statute is so compelling that the court has no alternative than to accept it. In a case of reasonable doubt, the construction most beneficial to the taxpayer is to be adopted

(i) While Section 5 of the IT Act would not be applicable, the existing Sikkim State Income Tax Rules, 1948 would be applicable. Thus, on the income, it would appear that Income-tax would be payable, under Sikkim State Income Tax Rules, 1948 and not under the IT Act. Since Sikkim is a part of India for the accounting year, there would appear to be, on the same income, two types of income taxes cannot be applied.

(ii) In the above backdrop, it would be appropriate to refer the decision of this Court in the case of Laxmipat Singhania vs. Commissioner of Income Tax, U.P. (1969) 72 ITR 291 at 294 wherein this Court has observed that “It is a fundamental rule of law of taxation that, unless otherwise expressly provided, income cannot be taxed twice”.

(iii) Further, in a decision of this Court in Jain Brothers and Others vs. Union of India and Others (1970) 77 ITR 107 (SC), it has been held as under:-

“6 It is not disputed that there can be double taxation if the legislature has distinctly enacted it. It is only when there are general words of taxation and they have to be interpreted, they cannot be so interpreted as to tax the subject twice over to the same tax….. If any double taxation is involved, the Legislature itself has, in express words, sanctioned it. It is not open to any one thereafter to invoke the general principles that the subject cannot be taxed twice over.”

(iv) The above referred cases make it clear that there is no prohibition as such on double taxation provided that the legislature contains a special provision in this regard. Now, the only question remains to be decided is whether in fact there is a specific provision for including the income earned from the Sikkim lottery ticket prior to 01.04.1990 and after 1975, in the income-tax return or not. We have gone through the relevant provisions but there seems to be no such provision in the IT Act wherein a specific provision has been made by the legislature for including such an income by an assessee from lottery ticket.

(v) In the absence of any such provision, the assessee in the present case cannot be subjected to double taxation. Furthermore, a taxing Statute should not be interpreted in such a manner that its effect will be to cast a burden twice over for the payment of tax on the taxpayer unless the language of the Statute is so compelling that the court has no alternative than to accept it. In a case of reasonable doubt, the construction most beneficial to the taxpayer is to be adopted. So, it is clear enough that the income in the present case is taxable only under one law. By virtue of clause (k) to Article 371F of the Constitution which starts with a non-obstante clause, it would be clear that only the Sikkim Regulations on Income-tax would be applicable in the present case. Therefore, the income cannot be brought to tax any further by applying the rates of the IT Act.

(v) In view of the aforementioned discussions, we are of the considered view that once the assessee has paid the income tax at source in the State of Sikkim as per the law applicable at the relevant time in Sikkim, the same income was not taxable under the IT Act, 1961. Having decided so, the other issue whether the income that is to be allowed deduction under section 80 TT of the IT Act is on ‘Net Income’ or ‘Gross Income’, becomes academic.

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