CIT vs. Techno Shares & Stocks (Bombay High Court)

DATE: (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: September 11, 2009 (Date of publication)

Click here to download the judgement (techno_shares_bse_card_depreciation.pdf)

Stock Exchange card is NOT an intangible asset eligible for depreciation

S. 32 (1), as amended w.e.f. 1.4.1998 allows depreciation on “intangible assets” being, inter alia, “licenses … or any other business or commercial rights of similar nature”. The Tribunal took the view that a BSE card was an “intangible asset” eligible for depreciation. On appeal by the Revenue, HELD, reversing the Tribunal:

(1) Though the term ‘licences’ is a very wide term and includes permission to carry on any trade, business, profession, etc, it is used in s. 32(1)(ii) in a restricted sense. S. 32 restricts depreciation to a class of tangible & intangible assets specifically enumerated therein. All intangible assets enumerated in s. 32(1)(ii) (except the term ‘licences’) belong to the class of intellectual properties. As the expression ‘licences’ in s. 32(1)(ii) is preceded by the expressions know-how, patents, copyrights, trade marks and succeeded by the expression ‘franchises’ which are all relatable to intellectual property rights, the term ‘licences’ in s. 32(1)(ii) is, applying the principle of Noscitur a sociis, intended to be used restrictively and as applying only to licences relating to acquisition / user of intellectual property rights;

(2) A BSE card is also not a “business or commercial right” because what s. 32(1)(ii) contemplates is “business or commercial rights” relating to intellectual properties and not all categories of business or commercial rights. Since a BSE card is not a business or commercial right relating to intellectual property rights depreciation cannot be allowed on it;

(3) The fact that a BSE card is a capital asset and liable for capital gains tax is irrelevant because s. 32 does not allow depreciation on all capital assets but only on capital assets which fall in the enumerated categories.

The copy of the judgement now (12th Sept @ 1300 hrs) available is a better copy. Please re-download if you downloaded earlier. For a round – up of the law see Depreciation Dreams Dashed.