This is a petition for the issue of a writ of prohibition or other appropriate writ or direction prohibiting the Income-tax Officer from taking any action in the collection of arrears of tax. The petitioner is a vendor of sweets and miscellaneous articles on the railway platform of Tenali. He fell into arrears of income-tax in regard to the years 1951-52, 1952-53 and 1953-54 to the tune of Rs. 3,524-13-0. Time was given to him from time to time for payment of arrears both by the Income-tax Officer and the Income-tax Commissioner and the Commissioner permitted him to pay the tax in six monthly installments, the first one payable on 30th October, 1954. Without paying any of the installments, he applied to the commissioner for further extension of time to pay the tax and when this was rejected he applied to the Central Board of Revenue for extension of time but the latter declined to interfere in the matter. On 7th January, 1955, the Income-tax Officer addressed a letter to the petitioner calling upon him to pay the tam immediately and also threatening that if he failed to pay the tax in time he would be constrained to write to the railway authorities to withdraw forthwith the government patronage extended to him. It was also pointed our to him that the railway contracts given under the category of patronage would be extended only to those who were not in arrears of tax. It is this letter that has occasioned the present writ petition.
It is urged by Mr. Sankara Rao appearing for the petitioner that the only mode of recovery of arrears of tax by Income-tax authorities is that provided under section 46 of the Indian Income-tax Act, namely, the Income-tax Officer forwarding to the Collector a certificate under signature specifying the amount of arrears and the Collector could recover from the assessee the amount specified therein as if it were arrears of land revenue. No other remedy is available to the Income-tax authorities and as such it was not open to the Income-tax Officer to try to realise the arrears by threatening to have his licence canceled. As substantiating this argument, reliance is placed by Mr. Sankara Rao on a judgment of the Madras High Court in Aruna Devi Jajodia v. Collector of Madras. This decision does not touch the question that falls to be decided in this case. There, the learned Judge had only to consider when proceedings for the recovery of any sum payable under the Act would be commenced. He had not to consider nor had he purported to decide whether the only mode of recovery of income-tax is that contemplated in section 46 of the Act.
The judgment of Das Gupta, J., in Elbridge Waston v. R. K. Das relied on by Mr. Sankara Rao is also irrelevant and all that was decided there was that when once the Collector acting under section 46 (2) allows the assessee to pay in certain instalments the Income-tax authorities would be under an obligation to take so long as the order stands only such instalments and that they could not direct the assessee under section 45 (5A) to pay anything more than that. On the other hand there is a judgment of a Full Bench of the Madras High Court in Manickam Chettiar v. Income-tax Officer, Madras which has laid down inter alia that section 46 was not exhaustive and could not take away without express words to that effect the right of enforcing payment by any other methods open to the Crown. The present case comes within the purview of that case. I express my respectful; accord with the principle enunciated therein. Merely because a right has been given to the Income-tax authorities to approach the Collector for collection to tax they will not be deprived of other rights or remedies open to them to collect the tax.
That apart, I am unable to see how a threat or a warning contained in the letter in question written by the Income-tax Officer, that he would bring it to the notice of the railway authorities that he was a defaulter, would enable him to invoke the jurisdiction of this Court under article 226 of the constitution. The Income-tax Officer has not right to cancel the licence already given to the petitioner nor is he the person or the authority who will be consulted in regard to the issue of licence. He only threatened to bring it to the notice of the railway department that he was in arrears of tax. In other words, the Income-tax Officer warned the petitioner that he would write to the railway authorities about his default. This in my opinion does not afford him a right to approach this Court to issue any writ or direction. I am unable to see how the officer concerned can be prevented from writing to any authorities that the petitioner has been in arrears of tax. The authorities concerned May not take into consideration the information furnished by the Income-tax Officer. It therefore follows that there is no ground for the exercise of the jurisdiction conferred on this Court by article 226 of the Constitution. It has also to be observed that what the petitioner seeks is not any direction to the Income-tax Officer not to convey any information to the railway authorities or not to give effect to the threat but to have the collection of arrears or tax in any shape stayed. Surely the threat of the Income-tax Officer to write to the railway licensing authority could not be a ground for staying the collection of arrears of all altogether. Even otherwise this is not a fit case in which the discretionary jurisdiction of this Court under article 226 could be exercised. This Court has been invested with the extraordinary powers for the purpose of rendering substantial justice and is not meant to be exercised in cases of this type. The petition is therefore dismissed with costs which I fix at Rs. 100.