New Delhi: In a jolt to Shanti Bhushan,
former Union Minister and member of Lokpal Bill drafting
committee, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday dismissed his plea
seeking waiver in the levy of income tax on expenses incurred
for his heart surgery at Houston in the USA.
"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
"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