CIT vs. Lokmat Newspapers (Bombay High Court)

DATE: (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: March 5, 2010 (Date of publication)

Click here to download the judgement (lokmat_speculation_delivery_explanation_s_73.pdf)

Speculation loss can be set off against delivery based profits

The assessee earned a profit on sale of shares held as stock-in-trade. This profit was offered as profit from a ‘speculation business’ and was set off against a ‘speculation loss’ brought forward from an earlier assessment year. The AO took the view that the profit from sale of shares was not from a ‘speculation business’ on the ground that the assessee had settled its transaction of sale and purchase of shares through physical delivery. Consequently, the claim for set off against the speculation loss was denied. This was confirmed by the CIT (A) though reversed by the Tribunal on the ground that the profit earned from sale of shares fell within the purview of the Explanation to s. 73 and could be set off against speculation losses. On appeal by the Revenue, HELD affirming the Tribunal’s order:

(i) The Explanation to s. 73 creates a deeming fiction that where the assessee is a company and any part of its business consists of the purchase and sale of shares of other companies, the assessee is deemed to be carrying on a speculation business, to the extent to which the business consists of the purchase and sale of shares. A business postulates a systematic course of activity or dealing. Unless the business of a Company consists of the sale and purchase of shares, the deeming fiction would not apply. However, once the requirements of the Explanation are satisfied the assessee is deemed to be carrying on a “speculation business”;

(ii) The argument of the Revenue that the term “speculative transaction” in s. 43(5) must be read into the provisions of s. 73 and that a business which involves actual delivery of shares would not constitute a speculation business cannot be accepted having regard to the deeming fiction created by the Explanation to s. 73. There is no justification to exclude a business involving actual delivery of shares. Once an assessee is deemed to be carrying on a speculation business for the purpose of s. 73, any loss computed in respect of that speculation business, can be set off only against the profits and gains of another speculation business.

See Also: Prasad Agents (Bom HC) and Shree Capital Services 124 TTJ 740 (Kol) (SB)