et tax centre
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Partition of property
* A very important point has been decided by the apex court recently in the case of ``CIT vs Venugopal Swami-239 ITR 514 (SC)’’ in respect of property belonging to the Hindu undivided family. The court opined that mere severance of status of the family may tantamount to partition under the Hindu law of joint family. But requirement of Income Tax Act is different in this regard.
According to section 171 of the Income Tax Act, for a partition to be recognised under the Income Tax Act, it must lead to a physical division of the joint properties. By citing several decided cases of the Supreme Court, the court held that in order to claim partition in respect of any property, division of the property is a prerequisite. Whatever may be the position under Hindu law, section 171 is quite clear in this regard. Mere severance of status shall not be deemed to be a partition.
The assessees should be careful to see that unless an order under section 171 is passed by the assessing officer, their status of Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) under Income Tax Act cannot be regarded as partitioned although they might have received a decree of partition from the court. The court’s declaration of partition would act as a piece of evidence only before the assessing officer.
Bareilly, October 6
Dismantling of dams
* Would any one believe that the US has began dismantling the 7.2 metre high, 85 metre wide Edwards Dam on Maine’s Kennebec River in the first week of July 1999? The dismantling was done in a move to restore the nation’s rivers to good health and is expected to inspire the removal of other dams, whose environment costs outweigh their benefits.
The removal will not only open the river for recreation but more importantly, nine species of Atlantic fish will have access to their traditional spawning grounds. Outside pressure and independent scientific studies by non-governmental organisations like the American Rivers and Trout Unlimited helped in forcing the decision.
The US administration is favourably disposed to dam removal, but its biggest test lies ahead. Many fish biologists say that the salmon will never recover unless congress agrees to dismantle four large dams on the river.
This instance, would give a fillip to NGOs, who have been working against construction of dams, as they not only endanger marine life but engulf large tracts of forests, with severe consequences, including great problem of resettlement of displaced people. Nation Building Forum urges the government to have an unbiased study by independent persons by associating NGOs to work out socio-economic benefits and then take rational decision.
LAXMI NARAIN MODI
New Delhi, August 23
* I fully endorse the suggestion of Mr Subhash Lakhotia (ET, August 30) that the demat and depository concept should remain optional. Thousands of small investors especially from the rural areas are struck with good shares as these cannot be sold in the market.
SHRI KRISHAN YADAV
Rewari, September 16