Friday, April 6, 2012

S. 54F does not require construction to be complete within specified period

The assessee sold shares for Rs. 4.18 crores and, within 12 months, invested Rs. 2.16 crores thereof to construct a house property and claimed exemption u/s 54F. However, as even after the expiry of 3 years of the date of transfer, the construction of the house was not complete and sale deed not executed, the AO & CIT (A) denied relief u/s 54F though the Tribunal granted it. On appeal by the department to the High Court, HELD dismissing the appeal:

S. 54F is a beneficial provision for promoting the construction of residential house & requires to beconstrued liberally for achieving that purpose. The intention of the Legislature was to encourage investments in the acquisition of a residential house and completion of construction or occupation is not the requirement of law. The words used in the section are ‘purchased’ or ‘constructed’. The condition precedent for claiming benefit u/s 54F is that the capital gain should be parted by the assessee and invested either in purchasing a residential house or in constructing a residential house. Merely because the sale deed had not been executed or that construction is not complete and it is not in a fit condition to be occupied does not disentitle the assessee to claim s. 54F relief (Sardarmal Kothari 302 ITR 286 (Mad) followed)