I have also thought of the limit like you when the amendment came.
I am agreeing that there is a drafting error in the act,
But if the words were
"the investment in the specified asset by an assessee shall not exceed Rs.50 lacs"
THEN IT WOULD BE AN ABSOLUTE LIMIT on investment in the bonds, a once-in-a-lifetime limit, which would be good to not many assessees. That is why the words in a financial year have been used.
Your contention that
Moreover the words used in the proviso are "in any financial year" and not "for any A.Y."
Assessment year is defined in section 2(9) as follows
“assessment year” means the period of twelve months commencing on the 1st day of April every year
Previous year means, as per section 3.
For the purposes of this Act, “previous year” means the financial year immediately preceding the assessment year
From the above, the AY and FY are different, in the sense, former follows the latter.
But precisely because of that, the word financial year is used in section 54EC. If the words were assessment year, then it would mean the benefit could be claimed in two different years.
Speech of a Minister
Except for the limited purpose of ascertaining the mischief which the Act seeks to remedy, THE SPEECH OF THE MINISTER SHOULD NOT BE LOOKED INTO.
(1991) 190 ITR 418 ( Cal ) Soorajmal Nagarmal vs. CIT
(1991) 190 ITR 361 (Gauhati) Assam Frontier vs. UOI
(1991) 189 ITR 81 ( Delhi ) Escorts Ltd. vs. UOI
(1988) 173 ITR 433 (Bom) B.R. Sound N Music vs. Bhardwaj (O.P.)
“It is true that the speeches made by the Members of the Legislature on the floor of the House when a bill for enacting a statutory provision is being debated are inadmissible for the purpose of interpreting the statutory provision but the speech made by the mover of the bill explaining the reasons for the introduction of the bill can certainly be referred to for the purpose of ascertaining the mischief sought to be remedied by the legislation and the object and the purpose for which the legislation is enacted. This is in accord with the recent trend in juristic thought not only in western countries but also in India that interpretation of a statute being an exercise in the ascertainment of intention of the Legislature, everything which is logically relevant should be admissible.” [K.P. Varghese vs. ITO (1981) 131 ITR 597 (SC)]
“The Lok Sabha Debates and the Rajya Sabha Debates are reported in the journals of the two Houses of Parliament which are printed and published by them. The Court has to take judicial notice of the proceedings of both the Houses of Parliament and is expected to treat the proceedings of the two Houses of Parliament as proved on the production of the copies of the journals or the reports containing proceedings of the two Houses of Parliament which are published by them.” [Baburao alias P.S. Samant vs. Union of India and Others (1988) AIR 440 (SC)]
If there is no ambiguity in the language of a particular provision, notes on clauses and memorandum explaining the provision cannot be referred to as aid in interpretation. [CIT vs. Central Bank of India Ltd. (1990) 185 ITR 6 (Bom) (FB)]