Nature of appeal u/s 27-A of Wealth Tax Act
Section 27-A of the Act, which provides a remedy of appeal to the High Court against the order of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, is modeled on existing Section 100 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (hereinafter referred to as “the Code”). Indeed, as would be clear, the language of Section 27-A of the Act and Section 100 of the Code is identical. Both the Sections are, therefore, in pari materia. It is a case where Section 100 of the Code is bodily lifted from the Code and incorporated in Section 27-A of the Act with minor additions and alterations.
The High Court cannot proceed to hear a second appeal without formulating the substantial question of law involved in the appeal and if it does so it acts illegally and in abnegation or abdication of the duty case on Court. The existence of substantial question of law is the sine qua non for the exercise of the jurisdiction under the amended Section 100 of the Code.
(See Kshitish Chandra Purkait v. Santosh Kumar Purkait,(1997) 5 SCC 438 Panchugopal Barua v. Umesh Chandra Goswami, (1997) 4 SCC 413 and Kondiba Dagadu Kadam v. Savitribai Sopan Gujar, (1999) 3 SCC 722.)
An obligation is cast on the appellant to precisely state in the memorandum of appeal the substantial question of law involved in the appeal and which the appellant proposes to urge before the High Court. The High Court must be satisfied that a substantial question of law is involved in the case and such question has then to be formulated by the High Court. Such questions or question may be the one proposed by the appellant or may be any other question which though not proposed by the appellant yet in the opinion of the High Court arises as involved in the case and is substantial in nature. At the hearing of the appeal, the scope of hearing is circumscribed by the question so formulated by the High Court. The respondent is at liberty to show that the question formulated by the High Court was not involved in the case. In spite of a substantial question of law determining the scope of hearing of second appeal having been formulated by the High Court, its power to hear the appeal on any other substantial question of law, not earlier formulated by it, is not taken away subject to the twin conditions being satisfied:
(i) the High Court feels satisfied that the case involves such question, and
(ii) the High Court records reasons for its such satisfaction.
[Source: Santosh Hazari vs. Purushottam Tiwari, (2001) 3 SCC 179]
The interpretation made by this Court of Section 100 in Santosh Hazari’s Case (supra), would equally apply to Section 27-A of the Act because firstly, both Sections provide a remedy of appeal to the High Court; Secondly, both Sections are identically worded and in pari materia; Thirdly, Section 27-A is enacted by following the principle of “legislation by incorporation”; fourthly, Section 100 is bodily lifted from the Code and incorporated as Section 27-A in the Act; and lastly, since both Sections are akin to each other in all respects, the appeal filed under Section 27-A of the Act has to be decided like a second appeal under Section 100 of the Code.