CA Sandeep Kanoi
It is an undisputed fact that as on date, there was no developmental activity on the land which is subject matter of development agreement. The process of construction has not been even initiated and no approval for the construction of the building is obtained. Thus, the sale consideration in the form of developed area has not been received. Mere receipt of refundable deposit cannot be termed as receipt of consideration. Further, as submitted , the Assessing Officer calculated the capital gain on the entire land, even though the assessee has retained 38% share to itself. The valuation was also disputed. There is, therefore, no accrual of income in favour of the assessee as per S.48 of the Act. Due to lapse on the part of the transferee, the construction has not taken place in the year under consideration, and it has not commenced even now. In the facts and circumstances of the present case, wherein while the assessee has fulfilled its part of the obligation under the development agreement, the developer has not done anything to discharge the obligations cast on it under the develop agreement, the capital gains cannot be brought to tax in the year under appeal, merely on the basis of signing of the development agreement during this year. We are supported in this behalf by the decision of the Tribunal dated 3rd January, 2014 in the case of Fibars Infra tech Pvt. Ltd. (supra), wherein it was held as follows-
On these facts, it is not possible to hold that the transferee was willing to perform its obligations in the financial year in which the capital gains are sought to be taxed by the Revenue. We hold that this condition laid down under Section 53A of the Transfer of Property Act was not satisfied in this assessment year. Once we come to the conclusion that the transferee’s ‘willing to perform’ the contract is ascertainable in the assessment year, as stipulated by and within the meanings assigned to this expression under Section 53A of the Transfer of Property Act, its contractual obligations in this previous year relevant to the present assessment year, it is only a corollary to this finding that the Development Agreement dt. 15.12.2006, based on which the impugned taxability of capital gain is imposed by the AO and upheld by the CIT(A), cannot be said to be a “contract of the nature referred to in Section 53A of the Transfer of Property Act” and, accordingly, provisions of Section 2(47)(v) cannot be invoked on the facts of this case. The judgement in the case of Chaturbhuj Dwarkadas Kapadia v. CIT (supra) undoubtedly lays down a proposition which, more often that not, favors the Revenue, but, on the facts of this case, the said judgment supports the case of the assessee inasmuch as ‘willingness to perform’ has been specifically recognized as one of the essential ingredients to cover a transaction by the scope of Section 53A of the Transfer of Property Act. The Revenue does not get any assistance from this judicial precedent. The very foundation of Revenue’s case is thus devoid of legally sustainable basis.
That is clearly an erroneous assumption, as the provisions of deemed transfer under Section 2(47)(v) could not have been invoked on the facts of the present case and for the assessment year in dispute before us. In the present case, the situation is that the assessee has not received any consideration, and there is no evidence brought on record by the Revenue authorities to show that there was actual construction taken place at the impugned property in the previous year relevant to the assessment year under consideration and also there is no evidence to show that the right to receive the sale consideration was actually accrued to the assessee. Without accrual of the consideration to the assessee, the assessee is not expected to pay capital gains on the entire agreed sales consideration. When time is essence of the contract, and the time schedule is 30 months to complete construction with additional grace period of 6 months, it cannot be said that such a contract confers any rights on the vendor/landlord to seek redressal under Section 53A of the Transfer of Property Act. This agreement cannot, therefore, be said to be in the nature of a contract referred to in Section 53A of the Transfer of Property Act. It cannot, therefore, be said that the provisions of Section 2(47)(v) will apply in the situation before us. Considering the facts and circumstances of the present case as discussed above, we are of the considered view that the assessee deserves to succeed on the reason that the capital gains could not have been taxed in the in this assessment year in appeal before us.”
In the light of the foregoing discussion, we set aside the impugned orders of the Revenue authorities and hold that the capital gains on the property in question cannot be brought to tax in the year under appeal, and consequently delete the addition made by the Assessing Officer and sustained by the CIT(A).