HC rejects Shanti Bhushan's plea seeking IT waiver for surgery

HC rejects Shanti Bhushan's plea seeking IT waiver for surgery

"We are of the opinion that concerning judgements and orders of the authorities below ought not to be disturbed. It is ordered accordingly. The question of law is thus answered in the negative and against the assessee (Bhushan)," a bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Rajiv Shakdher said.

The court upheld the order, delivered on May 19, 1994, by the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) rejecting the plea of the noted lawyer that the expenses incurred on his heart bypass surgery be allowed as "allowable deduction" under the provisions of the sections 31 and 31 of the IT Act.

Section 31 of the Act provides for grant of deduction in the levy of income tax if the expenses incurred are on "repairs and insurance of machinery, plant and furniture."

The senior advocate, in his petition, claimed the cost on his surgery, which was conducted after he suffered a heart attack in December 1978, be treated as cost incurred in repairing a plant as "the repair of his vital organ was directly related to his professional competence."

"If the heart of a human being, as in the case of assessee, were to be considered as a plant, it would mean that it is an asset which should have found a mention in the assessee's balance sheet of the previous year...," the court said.

"In our view, before the expenses on repair of plant are admitted as a deduction, the plant would necessarily have to be reflected as an asset in the books of accounts," it said.