prpri Distance Certificate issued by Tahsildar cannot be rejected on Bus Route Distance basis without examining Tahsildar Distance Certificate issued by Tahsildar cannot be rejected on Bus Route Distance basis without examining Tahsildar

Case Law Details

Case Name : B. Kannabiran Vs ACIT (ITAT Chennai)
Appeal Number : ITA No. 2630/Chny/2018
Date of Judgement/Order : 07/06/2019
Related Assessment Year : 2013-14

B. Kannabiran Vs ACIT (ITAT Chennai)

Tahsildar, being the head of the revenue unit of the Taluk, issued certificate saying that the land in question is beyond 9 KMs radius from Tambaram municipality. This certificate issued by the Tahsildar was rejected by the CIT(Appeals) on the basis of bus route. The details with regard to distance between Tambaram to Vengaivasal Primary Health Centre, said to be obtained from the internet was not put to the assessee. Therefore, the assessee had no occasion to explain the distance between the subject land and Tambaram municipality.

The CIT(Appeals) has also not called for any explanation from the Tahsildar on what basis he issued certificate saying that the distance was beyond 9 KMs radius. If the bus route is within 7 KMs radius, then naturally the certificate issued by the Tahsildar is wrong. Therefore, before rejecting the certificate issued by the Tahsildar, who happen to be the executive magistrate of that area, has to be given opportunity and report shall be called for after intimating the bus route distance. Moreover, if necessary, the Assessing Officer has to examine the Tahsildar in person after issuing summon under Section 131 of the Income-tax Act, 1961 (in short ‘the Act’) in order to bring on record the real distance between the subject land and Tambaram municipality.

In view of the above facts, this Tribunal is of the considered opinion that the matter needs to be re-examined by the Assessing Officer. Accordingly, both the orders of the lower authorities are set aside and the entire issue, including the reinvestment of sale proceeds, is remitted back to the file of the Assessing Officer.

FULL TEXT OF THE ITAT JUDGEMENT

This appeal of the assessee is directed against the order of the Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeals) -10, Chennai, dated 17.07.2018 and pertains to assessment year 2013-14.

2. Shri R.S. Balaji, the Ld.counsel for the assessee, submitted that the assessee disposed of an agricultural land, which is beyond 8 KMs radius from Tambaram municipal limit. In support of his contention, the assessee has filed a letter issued by the Tahsildar, copy of which is available at page 5 of the paper-book. According to the Ld. counsel, the Tahsildar in categorical terms stated that the subject land was situated beyond 9 KMs radius from Tambaram municipality. This certificate was, according to the Ld. counsel, rejected by the CIT(Appeals) without any basis. On a query from the Bench whether the certificate issued by the Tahsildar was produced before the Assessing Officer? The Ld.counsel  very fairly submitted that it was produced only before the CIT(Appeals). Without any basis, according to the Ld. counsel, the CIT(Appeals) confirmed the addition made by the Assessing Officer.

3. Referring to the paper-book, more particularly page 1, which is a copy of patta, Shri R.S. Balaji, the Ld.counsel for the assessee, submitted that the land is classified as “wet land” in the revenue records and the assessee, in fact, was cultivating paddy. This is evident from the adangal extract issued by the Village Administrative Officer. Therefore, according to the Ld. counsel, the CIT(Appeals) is not justified in disallowing the claim of the assessee. The Ld.counsel further submitted that the assessee has also invested the sale proceeds of the agricultural land in acquiring another property which also needs to be examined.

4. On the contrary, Shri R. Clement Ramesh Kumar, the Ld. Departmental Representative, submitted that the CIT(Appeals) after referring to various inputs obtained from internet found that the subject land was situated within 8 KMs radius from the municipality limit. The public transport system, namely, Route No.M51G plying from Vengaivasal Primary Health Centre to Tambaram, mentions that the distance is only 7 KMs. Therefore, according to the Ld. D.R., it is obvious that the land is situated within 8 KMs of Tambaram municipality. Hence, according to the Ld. D.R., the CIT(Appeals) has rightly rejected the certificate issued by the Tahsiladar. On a query from the Bench, other than the internet inputs obtained by the CIT(Appeals), whether any other documentary evidence is available? The Ld. D.R. submitted that other than the internet inputs, no other material is available on record.

5. Having heard the Ld.counsel for the assessee and the Ld. D.R., this Tribunal is of the considered opinion that the Tahsildar, being the head of the revenue unit of the Taluk, issued certificate saying that the land in question is beyond 9 KMs radius from Tambaram municipality. This certificate issued by the Tahsildar was rejected by the CIT(Appeals) on the basis of bus route. The details with regard to distance between Tambaram to Vengaivasal Primary Health Centre, said to be obtained from the internet was not put to the assessee. Therefore, the assessee had no occasion to explain the distance between the subject land and Tambaram municipality.

6. The CIT(Appeals) has also not called for any explanation from the Tahsildar on what basis he issued certificate saying that the distance was beyond 9 KMs radius. If the bus route is within 7 KMs radius, then naturally the certificate issued by the Tahsildar is wrong. Therefore, before rejecting the certificate issued by the Tahsildar, who happen to be the executive magistrate of that area, has to be given opportunity and report shall be called for after intimating the bus route distance. Moreover, if necessary, the Assessing Officer has to examine the Tahsildar in person after issuing summon under Section 131 of the Income-tax Act, 1961 (in short ‘the Act’) in order to bring on record the real distance between the subject land and Tambaram municipality.

7. In view of the above facts, this Tribunal is of the considered opinion that the matter needs to be re-examined by the Assessing Officer. Accordingly, both the orders of the lower authorities are set aside and the entire issue, including the reinvestment of sale proceeds, is remitted back to the file of the Assessing Officer. The Assessing Officer shall re-examine the matter and examine the basis on which the Tahsildar issued the certificate claiming that the subject land is beyond 9 KMs radius from the municipal limit. If necessary, it is open to the Assessing Officer to examine the Tahsildar by issuing summon under Section 131 of the Act. The Assessing Officer shall bring on record the entire material facts including the report, statement if any, obtained from the Tahsildar and thereafter decide the issue afresh in accordance with law, after giving a reasonable opportunity to the assessee.

8. In the result, the appeal filed by the assessee is allowed for statistical purposes.

Order pronounced on 7th June, 2019 at Chennai.

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