Mahesh Bhupathi, best known for his winning ways on court, has claimed that he had reimbursed his tennis-trainer father C G Krishna Bhupathi the Rs 28.5 lakh he spent on him for the period 1989-90 and 1993-94—four years in total. The tennis ace has claimed tax exemption on this `transaction’, citing a 1994 agreement with his father.
The I-T contended that the `agreement’ between the Bhupathis should be rejected, as it was entered into only to avoid tax, and was contrary to the very foundation of Hindu law—under which it is the pious duty of the father to educate his progeny. It is also contrary to the provisions of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act and the first principle of Hindu law.
Bhupathi’s counsel argued that as his father was a renowned tennis player who was running a coaching centre in Oman, he was entitled to claim his fees and it could not be said that the agreement was a strange one, entered into mainly to avoid tax liability. It was claimed that Bhupathi’s father was entitled to claim the amount spent by him on training students.
Justices K L Manjunath and B V Nagarathna said that this was the first time they had come across such an agreement between a father and his son. “It is the pious and moral obligation of the father to maintain the son during his minority or till he independently starts earning. If really there was an agreement between the father and son, such agreement would have come into existence before training the son by the father. In this case, the agreement has been entered into after the assessee (Bhupathi) started getting remuneration from the tennis association, which only shows that the agreement has come into existence only to defeat the tax liability,” the court said.
Denouncing the contract, the court added that as per Hindu law, the purpose of a Hindu getting married is to propagate his lineage, and it is his moral obligation and duty to maintain his offspring as it was believed that a man cannot attain moksha (salvation) unless his son offers pind—lights his funeral pyre—after his demise.