Ravi Agrawal Vs. Union of India

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Ravi Agrawal Vs. Union of India

2019 SCC OnLine SC 5

Writ Petition (Civil) No. 1107 of 2017 decided on 03.01.2019

Bench Dr. AK Sikri, Ashok Bhushan and SA Nazeer, JJ
This writ petition is filed by the petitioner, Ravi Agrawal, under Article 32 of the Constitution of India as a Public Interest Litigation. Section 80DD of the Income Tax Act, 1961 provides for payment of annuity of lump sum amount for the benefit of a dependant, being a person with disability, in the event of the death of the individual or the member of the Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) in whose name subscription to the scheme stipulated in the said provision has been made. In order to give effect to the aforesaid special provision meant for the benefit of persons with disability, LIC has floated insurance policy named ‘Jeevan Aadhar’ for the benefit of the handicapped dependants. Accordingly, those assessees who get the Jeevan Aadhar policy for the benefit of handicapped dependants and pay or deposit the amount under the said policy. The amount deposited under the policy is payable to the dependant only on the demise of the proposer/life assured. The petition is with the prayer to make necessary changes in Section 80DD of the Income Tax Act, 1961 so that the dependant can get benefit of policy during the lifetime of proposer/life assured.
The Court said that it is for the Legislature to take care of these aspects and to provide suitable provision by making necessary amendments in Section 80DD of the Act. Hence, it urged the Centre to have a relook into this provision by taking into consideration all the aspect.


Question of law Whether the benefit of Jeevan Aadhar policy can be deferred till the death of the assessee/life assured and it should be allowed to be utilised for the benefit of the disabled person even during the lifetime of the proposer/life assured?


Argument Advance

Petitioner Respondent
The argument of the petitioner is based on Article 14 of the Constitution of India, it is argued that the deduction under Section 80DD of the Act has been specifically provided for persons with disability. This is a valid classification for providing specific regime for this class of persons. The stated objective of the scheme was to assure the parents/guardian of a dependant with disability of regular payment of amount for the care of such dependant after the death of the parent/guardian.  the parent or the guardian would always feel the need to provide for the future maintenance of the disabled dependant. The existing provisions do not take such situations into account. In order to allow a choice to the parent or the guardian to spend either on the medical treatment of or for the future need of the handicapped dependant, as the case may be, the Bill seeks to provide a new section 80DD. The provision was specifically provided for in the Act keeping in view the fact that the guardians of children with disability are always faced with the grim reality about the need for maintenance of the disabled after the death of the primary care giver, i.e. the parent or the guardian. Many of them would like to deposit some amount during their lifetime in some special instrument which would ensure payment of a reasonable sum regularly to the disabled on their death.

Thus, a separate deduction from Gross Total Income of a specified amount deposited in a year in any scheme of LIC or any other insurer specifically framed for providing recurring or lump sum payment for the maintenance and upkeep of a handicapped dependant after the death of the assessee and approved by the CBDT in this behalf was incorporated in the statute. As the scheme was designed to, to a great extent, to assuage the anxiety in the minds of parents/guardians of handicapped dependants about the destiny of their wards on their death and, therefore, to allow for annuity payments to the handicapped dependant under Jeevan Aadhar policy to commence after a certain age of the subscriber is not possible


Regarding purpose of Section 80DD of the Income Tax Act, 1961  Section 80DD is a provision made by the Parliament under the Act in order to give incentive to the persons whose dependants are persons with disability. Incentive is to give such persons concessions in income tax by allowing deductions of the amount specified in Section 80DD of the Act in case such parents/guardians of dependants with disability take insurance policies of the nature specified in this provision. Purpose is to encourage these parents/guardians to make regular payments for the benefit of dependants with disability. In that sense, the Legislature, in its wisdom thought it appropriate to allow deductions in respect of such contribution made by the parent/guardian in the form of premium paid in respect of such insurance policies. This deduction is admissible only when conditions stipulated therein are satisfied.


Regarding purpose of Insurance Policy Insofar as insurance policy is concerned, it incorporates a condition to the effect that the amount shall not be given to he handicapped persons during the lifetime of the parent/guardian/life assured. This is in conformity with Section 80DD(2)(b) of the Act.


Relief given by Court It was urged by the Court that UOI should have a relook into this provision by taking into consideration all the aspects, including those highlighted by the Court in this judgment, and explore the possibility of making suitable amendments.

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