In order to attract the provisions of Section 41(1) of the Act, it is necessary that there should have been a cessation or remission of liability. As held by the Bombay High Court, in the case of J. K. Chemicals Ltd. (supra), cessation of liability may occur__ either by thereason of the liability becoming unenforceable in law by the creditor coupled with debtor declaring his intention not to honour his liability, or by a contract between parties or by discharge of the debt. In the present case, the assessee is acknowledging the debt payable to M/s Elephanta Oil & Vanaspati Ltd. and there is no material to indicate that the parties have contracted to extinguish the liability. Thus, in our view it cannot be concluded that the debt owed by the assessee to M/s Elephanta Oils & Vanaspati Ltd. stood extinguished.
Although, enforcement of a debt being barred by limitation does not ipso facto lead to the conclusion that there is cessation or remission of liability, in the facts of the present case, it is also not possible to conclude that the debt has become unenforceable. It is well settled that reflecting an amount as outstanding in the balance sheet by a company amounts to the company acknowledging the debt for the purposes of Section 18 of the Limitation Act, 1963 and, thus, the claim by M/s Elephanta Oil & Vanaspati Ltd. can also not be considered as time barred as the period of limitation would stand extended. Even, otherwise, it cannot be stated that M/s Elephanta Oil & Vanaspati Ltd. would be unable to claim a set-off on account of the amount reflected as payable to it by the assessee. Admittedly, winding up proceedings against M/s Elephanta Oil & Vanaspati Ltd. are pending and there is no certainty that any claim that may be made by the assessee with regard to the amounts receivable from M/s Elephanta Oil & Vanaspati Ltd. would be paid without the liquidator claiming the credit for the amounts receivable from the assessee company. It is well settled that in order to attract the provisions of Section 4 1(1) of the Act, there should have been an irrevocable cession of liability without any possibility of the same being revived. The assessee company having acknowledged its liability successively over the years would not be in a position to defend any claim that may be made on behalf of the liquidator for credit of the said amount reflected by the assessee as payable to M/s Elephanta Oil & Vanaspati Ltd.
We may also add that, admittedly, no credit entry has been made in the books of the assessee in the previous year relevant to the assessment year 2008- 2009. The outstanding balances reflected as payable to M/s Elephanta Oil & Vanaspati Ltd. are the opening balances which are being carried forward for several years. The issue as to the genuineness of a credit entry, thus does not arise in the current year and this issue could only be examined in the year when the liability was recorded as having arisen, that is, in the year 1984-1985. The department having accepted the balances outstanding over several years, it was not open for the CIT (Appeals) to confirm the addition of the amount of ` 1,53,48,850/- on the ground that the assessee could not produce sufficient evidence to prove the genuineness of the transactions which were undertaken in the year 1984-85.