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In the result, the order passed by the assessing officer and Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeals) and the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal insofar as it deprives the assessee of the benefit of exemption under Section 54(1) of the Act are hereby quashed and the assessee is held entitled to benefit of exemption under Section 54(1) of the Act.

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Section 54 of Income Tax Act, 1961— Exemption — The word 'a' would normally mean one but in some circumstances it may include within its ambit and scope some plural numbers also,therefore, the contention of the revenue that the assessee is not entitled to benefit of exemption under Section 54(1) as he has purchased more than one house is perverse.

Facts: Whether the order passed by the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal confirming he order passed by the appellate authority and the assessing officer that the appellant is not entitled to exemption under Section 54 as he has purchased more than one house is perverse, arbitrary and contrary to law laid down by the division bench of this court in ITA No.783/2008 dated 27.08.2010?

Held, that the context in which the expression 'a residential house' is used in Section 54 makes it evident that it is not the intention of the legislature to convey the meaning that it refers to a single residential house and it was also held that an asset newly acquired after sale of original asset can also be buildings or lands appurtenant thereto, which also should be residential house, therefore, the letter 'a' in the context it is used should not be construed as meaning singular, but the expression should be read in consonance with other words viz., buildings and lands. The Madras High Court while dealing with Section 54 as it stood prior to amendment by Finance Act No.2/2014 in the case of TILOKCHAND AND SONS took the view and held that the word 'a' would normally mean one but in some circumstances it may include within its ambit and scope some plural numbers also. Therefore, the contention of the revenue that the assessee is not entitled to benefit of exemption under Section 54(1) in the facts of the case does not deserve acceptance. - ARUN K THIAGARAJAN V/s CIT - [2020] 26 ITCD Online 074 (KARN)