Presumably, the case of the assessee was that price offered by the buyer was the highest prevailing price in the market. If this is his case then it is difficult to accept the proposition that the assessee had accepted that the price fixed by the District Sub Registrar was the fair market value of the property. No such inference can be made as against the assessee because he had nothing to do in the matter. Stamp duty was payable by the purchaser. It was for the purchaser to either accept it or dispute it. The assessee could not, on the basis of the price fixed by the Sub-Registrar, have claimed anything more than the agreed consideration of a sum of Rs.10 lakhs which, according to the assessee, was the highest prevailing market price. It would follow automatically that his case was that the fair market value of the property could not be Rs.35 lakhs as assessed by the District Sub Registrar. In a case of this nature the assessing officer should, in fairness, have given an option to the assessee to have the valuation made by the departmental valuation officer contemplated under Section 50C. As a matter of course, in all such cases the assessing officer should give an option to the assessee to have the valuation made by the departmental valuation officer.
For the aforesaid reasons, we are of the opinion that the valuation by the departmental valuation officer, contemplated under Section 50C, is required to avoid miscarriage of justice. The legislature did not intend that the capital gain should be fixed merely on the basis of the valuation to be made by the District Sub Registrar for the purpose of stamp duty. The legislature has taken care to provide adequate machinery to give a fair treatment to the citizen/taxpayer. There is no reason why the machinery provided by the legislature should not be used and the benefit thereof should be refused. Even in a case where no such prayer is made by the learned advocate representing the assessee, who may not have been properly instructed in law, the assessing officer, discharging a quasi judicial function, has the bounden duty to act fairly and to give a fair treatment by giving him an option to follow the course provided by law.