K.P. Harihara Kumar vs Union Of India (Uoi) And Anr. on 18 May, 2004

Kerala High Court
K.P. Harihara Kumar vs Union Of India (Uoi) And Anr. on 18 May, 2004
Equivalent citations: (2004) 190 CTR Ker 606, 2004 270 ITR 194 Ker
Author: G Sivarajan
Bench: G Sivarajan


JUDGMENT

G. Sivarajan, J.

1. The petitioner at the time of filing the writ petition was an officer of the State Bank of India. As per service conditions of the officers of the bank they are entitled to LTC facilities including travel by air. The petitioner has filed this writ petition challenging the provisions of Rule 2B(a) of the IT Rules making the difference between the air travel charges and the railway first class AC charges exigible to tax under the IT Act, 1961 (for short ‘the Act’). According to the petitioner, this rule is ultra vires the provisions of Section 10(5) of the Act.

2. I have heard Sri K. Shrihari Rao, learned counsel for the petitioner, and Sri George K. George, learned standing counsel, Government of India (Taxes), appearing for the respondents. The petitioner being an officer of the State Bank of India is entitled to the expenses for air travel by availing the leave travel facility without any limitation. The grievance of the petitioner, as already noted, is that the difference between the air travel fare and the first class AC fare by rail is being assessed to income-tax. The question regarding exemption is a matter which is covered by the provisions of the IT Act. Unless there is an exemption in respect of the amount received from the bank for the leave travel facility availed, the petitioner cannot claim any exemption from tax in respect of the amount received. Sub-section (5) of Section 10 of the Act provides that in computing the total income of a previous year in the case of an individual the value of any travel concession or assistance received by or due to him (a) from his employer for himself, his spouse and children, in connection with his proceeding on leave to his home-district in India, and (b) from his employer or former employer for himself, his spouse and children, in connection with his proceeding to his home-district in India after retirement from service or after the termination of his service subject to such conditions as may be prescribed including the number of journeys and the amount which shall be exempted per head having regard to the travel concession or assistance granted to the employees of the Central Government shall not be included. By virtue of the provisions of Section 10(5) of the Act, Rule. 2B of the IT Rules is issued prescribing the conditions for the purpose of Section 10(5). Section 10(5) which is referred to above clearly provides for prescribing the conditions regarding the amount which shall be exempt from tax having regard to the travel concession or assistance granted to the employees of the Central Government. It is by virtue of this provision Rule 2B has been issued. The petitioner is not able to point out any illegality in regard to the condition imposed in Rule. 2B(a) as it stood prior to 1st Oct., 1997.

In these circumstances, I do not find any merit in this writ petition. It is accordingly dismissed.

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